Now Meet Her Crew!

This is us. The crew of La Vie Dansante is just Barbara and me – just the way we like it.

My name is TD. I’d love to tell you there’s a great college football story behind it, but it’s really just my initials. I grew up in North Texas, raised three daughters, enjoyed a long (and, by some accounts, successful) career in the US Navy, then worked for 8 years as a non-profit exec before Barbara and I set sail for a new kind of life.

Barbara is a photographic artist and mother of two from Virginia. Fiercely independent, she built a successful studio in two different states before we set about downsizing and preparing for a life of adventure, rather than a life of comfort.

We met in Northern Virginia while I was a Navy Commander stationed at the Pentagon. We fell in love in a whirlwind courtship, the details of which might just populate a post some time down the road, but our love was tested when the Navy promoted me to Captain and sent me to command a joint air base in my home turf of Fort Worth, Texas. After a brief long-distance relationship, I asked Barbara to marry me. She accepted, and we were wed at the base chapel in November, 2008.

So, here we are! You’re welcome to join us as we figure this whole sailing thing out and voyage aboard La Vie Dansante!

TD & Barbara

Crew Focus: Barbara

Here’s a little special piece on my beautiful wife and sailing partner, Barbara so you can understand why she’s truly amazing in both roles!

Captain Barbara

We each have roles aboard La Vie Dansante. Barbara is our expert on weather, sail trim, provisioning and a host of other tasks. She’s the boat’s Captain when we are anchoring, choosing where we drop the hook and handling the helm while I work the windlass (the spool that moves our anchor chain up and down) forward. She’s great at the helm!

Captain Barbara getting us positioned to drop the anchor!

As our sail trim expert, she’s the one who raises and drops the main and unfurls our Genoa. She also sets our “reefs” – measured amounts of sail taken in when high winds threaten to overload them.

When we’re planning, Barbara’s eye for wind and waves is invaluable! Her analysis of the weather determines our routes and ETAs.

As good as she is with these very fundamental and important boating tasks, her provisioning is perhaps the thing that adds the most to our life at sea. If it were me doing the provisioning, we’d likely have frozen meals and peanut butter sandwiches every day; but the creativity and love that Barbara puts into planning, shopping and preparation produce WORLD CLASS meals. We eat much healthier aboard than we did ashore, with proper portions and better ingredients. She even grows an onboard garden that provides us with fresh herbs, salad greens an tomatoes!

Another aspect of her provisioning that makes life aboard La Vie Dansante so cool is her creativity and improvisation. At times she’s been unsettled with prices or availability of things we’ve needed, so she’s found ways to make stuff from scratch, like:
– bread (OMG, she makes better Bahamian Bread than a Bahamian)
– tortillas (rolled out with a curtain rod when she didn’t have a rolling pin)
– pizza dough
– cinnamon rolls
– potato chips (yep, better than Lay’s)

Oh yeah, she’s a pretty handy deck hand too! She spots obstructions like rocks coral heads to keep us from hitting them on tight transits through skinny water, and she’s even been up the mast to make repairs!

Finally, Barbara maintains the boat’s budget, keeping track of every expenditure as well as a running tally of how we’re doing in categories like boat maintenance, fuel, provisions, communications and entertainment.

All that Barbara does helps make life aboard La Vie Dansante everything we always hoped it would be, and more!