S/V Real Life

06 June 2012
09 May 2012 | Wheaton
09 May 2012 | Fort Lauderdale
08 May 2012 | Wheaton, IL

Shipyard Chronicles

06 June 2012
Since May 30, Real Life has been undergoing a mini makeover getting it ready for our trip beginning in August. Here you see the finished product of our renaming.


09 May 2012 | Wheaton
Hey! It's me, Madeline! I'm part of the Taylor family as well, so I have a role in this vacation process. You see, I'm currently writing my own blog too, so you can follow me at Voyage of Madeline.
I helped pick out Fantasy Island (Now Real Life), just so you know. If we hadn't all loved the boat, then we wouldn't have gotten it! And I loved it! So *BaBoom*! It's ours, just like that! I hope you guys like our blog, and my separate blog as well. I'll be posting!

Catch ya later!

We bought a boat

09 May 2012 | Fort Lauderdale
Over the last weekend in April we all boarded a cramped Spirit flight to Fort Lauderdale where we would close on our new boat, a 1985 '42 Brewer 12.8. Kevin could have gone and handled it, but I thought this was too pivotal a moment not to have everybody together and everybody on the same page as we get ready to go on this first phase of our trip. I'm so glad we did.

Because if we didn't, I wouldn't have met Frank and Joanne.

Frank and Joanne. They were the original and only owners of the boat they fondly called Fantasy Island. Of course, like any child growing up in the '70s, Kevin and I naturally assumed they named it after ABC's cheeky television series "Fantasy Island." Yes, you know the one with Mr. Roarke and Tattoo? We even spent a Saturday night downloading and watching old episodes off the Internet with the kids showing them what it must be all about. Well, Frank and Joanne did not grow up in the '70s and, no, it was not named after the mystical island that made guests' inner dreams come true. Frank and Joanne bought the boat from a boat show and hurriedly needed to name it for insurance purposes. They chose Fantasy Island, named for an island in the UK.
They sailed everywhere on their Fantasy Island for 27 years. They lived the life and loved every minute of it. I know this because Frank was ever so distraught when it came to finally departing with it that weekend.

"Joanne's having a really hard time," he said. "I hope this was not the glue that held the marriage together. Let me know if you change your mind."

His face spoke volumes. Sadness, remorse, fighting to let go. And, yes, I felt wretched watching him and his wife struggle with this because, on the flip side, this was our joyous moment. Right?? All I can say is: Thank you Frank and Joanne. Thank you for the hospitality you obviously were accustomed to cruising on Fantasy Island. And thank you for showing us the snippets of your time cruising and for showing us what this boat is made of.


08 May 2012 | Wheaton, IL
Welcome to our trip. We, Jennifer (first mate), Kevin (captain) and Madeline (12) and Zach (9) invited you along because we wanted to share our adventure with you. When we first announced our trip to family and friends early this spring, the reactions were something like -- deer-in-the-headlight stares, befuddlement, Wow!, stunned-to-tears, flyin' high-five-support, at-a-boys and you-go-girls.

Our reaction to our own decision to take this trip was simply, unequivocably: yes. The thought of not doing it became, speaking for myself, the bigger fear.

Our trip. What exactly is it? On the surface, it is sailing down the east coast of Florida, on to the Florida Keys, the Bahamas and then we'll see. Looking closer, it's a family sabbatical. It's taking hold of the fleeting time Kevin and I have with our children as children. For Kevin, from my perspective, it's also answering the call that has been tapping his shoulder for as long as I have known him--sailing, voyaging. For me, it's also embracing an inner challenge, self-discovery, and coveting time as a couple and a family.

We haven't left yet. But, here is how it is shaping up:

We live in Wheaton, a small town 35 miles west of Chicago. Most of our family lives in the area and our kids attend the local public elementary and middle schools. We plan to begin our trip this August. Meanwhile, we just purchased our sailboat, soon to be named "Real Life," a 1985 42' Brewer 12.8. It is currently in a Fort Lauderdale shipyard getting tweaked for our trip.

There is a lot to do between now and then.
Vessel Name: Real Life
Vessel Make/Model: Brewer 12.8
Hailing Port: Wheaton, IL
Crew: Kevin, Jennifer, Madeline and Zach
About: We are a family crew. Kevin, captain, Jennifer, first mate, and Madeline, 12, and Zach, 9.
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Real Life's Photos -

S/V Real Life

Who: Kevin, Jennifer, Madeline and Zach
Port: Wheaton, IL