To Live on Savings, Love, and Fresh Water

by Mariepier Bastien

It's been 2 years since they set sail, the three of them – Joanie, Hughes, and Vahi, their 40-foot catamaran (@sailing_vahi). For the past 2 years, our TAIGA ambassadors have been wandering somewhere among the French islands. Their mission? To live on savings, love, and fresh water.

We spoke with them on a winter morning as they awaited a weather window to leave the Dominican Republic and head to Puerto Rico.

Summer 2017

She is a nomad at heart, and he is a seasoned sailor. After incessantly looking at photos and videos from their youth, and living only for weekends and vacations, they left everything behind to start anew. They sold the house, cars, and all the clutter that comes with it. With their savings, they renovated a boat to set sail. But not just any boat…

"Why bother with daily life? For 2 weeks of vacation per year?"

Continuing the Final Tradition

Hughes was initiated into sailing early. His parents, brother, and sister set sail when he was young. For 3 years, they lived on the boat. It wasn't a vacation; it was life: routine, school, sharing tasks. At 9 years old, what Hugues didn't yet know was that, 15 years later, he would renovate the boat originally built by his father. For 4 years, he and Joanie built the electrical system, the propulsion, the connection between the two hulls, and the central cabin, no less.

"We had the best example to leave: his parents did it for years with the 3 children. We knew it was possible." - Joanie

If Joanie knew little about sailing before meeting Hugues, her initiation went smoothly. "I've always loved the water, being on the water... everything fit. It's not easy, it challenges you, it's rough, but there's nothing more beautiful than living on savings, love, and fresh water."

In the last 2 years, she learned everything and maneuvers Vahi with confidence, even impressing seasoned sailors. Joanie discovered a new world at sea, where each day brings its share of discoveries.

Life, Simply

Daily life on Vahi has the potential to make us all jealous. Yoga, fishing, cooking, meditation, breath work, diving. Some afternoons, Joanie and Hugues use their hard paddle boards (SUP) to reach an island, climb a tree to find fresh coconuts, and return to the boat to prepare a homemade curry. Other times, they search for waves. Small or big, they always find what they're looking for: with 9 boards on board, not surprising!

A Second Project on the Horizon

Recently, they purchased a second boat. Salty will be their condo in Quebec in the summer, while they escape the hurricane season. It will also be a way to share their passion for sailing with people from home. In collaboration with CIELO, one of our paddle board demo centers in New Brunswick, they will offer sailing and SUP outings and excursions.

Living on savings, love, and fresh water has been the quest of Joanie, Hughes, and their catamaran, Vahi. For 2 years, each choice brings them closer to simplicity and freedom at sea. A story that inspires us to live fully, pack our SUP gear, and set sail this winter.