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About Us

We are the Arpags, a family of four plus granny, based in Hood River, Oregon. In October, 2015 we put our land-lives on hold and moved aboard our sailboat BATU, a 1977 Valiant 40 cutter. TheVoyagingLife.com website is our way of documenting and sharing our experience as we learn to live in a different way; the voyaging life.

Our goals are to spend time together as a family, to explore the world together and to experience different cultural paradigms than the suburban-American dream. Our plans are loose, and may be prone to change at the drop of a hat, but they include spending a winter in Mexico, exploring the islands of the South Pacific and spending time in New Zealand. Beyond that, only time will tell. We are not rich, but hopefully we are resourceful. What resources we have saved, we’ve put into this experience, hopeful and interested to see what grows from it.


OUR CAST

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Peter – (49, but extremely hip) Both dreamer and pragmatist; the type of guy who combines a philosophy degree with coursework in business law and an honors thesis in engineering. Inspired by art, beauty and creativity. Loves exploring and moving through the outdoors skiing, mountain biking, surfing, swimming, kiteboarding and sailing. Recently left position as Brand Manager in the outdoor industry. Currently works as an independent writer and product developer.

Karen – (46, but looks much younger) Scientist, nurse, care-taker, classic over-achiever, worrier, earnest wife and mom. The brilliant one who doesn’t know it. Karen always assumes it’s her mistake before placing blame. Loves reading, running, skiing, sailing and, perhaps most of all, supporting her family. Recently left her position as a hospice nurse in Hood River. Intends to continue her nursing career in the near future.

Sean – (14) Sweetheart and resident goofball, Sean is a well-spoken, respectful young man with a playful, goofy side. Naturally curious about how-things-work, he eagerly soaks up technical information like a sponge and is a masterful builder and analyst. Loves boats, music, mountain biking, skiing, sailing and building things.

Sarah – (12) Athlete, artist, writer and imaginative storyteller, Sarah has a quirky, creative style that is all her own. Driven with a tenacious attitude, she is a natural competitor and one of the top age group swimmers in the Northwest US. She is sweet and a little fiery, a bit like peppermint. Loves swimming, sailing, skiing,reading, writing, being creative, exploring and anything with lots of color.

Sheri (Grandma) – (49 and holding) Amazing supporter, organizer, caretaker and guru. Holding down the home front in Oregon as the rest of us explore. Combine extreme, un-conditional love with ‘just-a-little-crazy’ and Granny is what you get; a surprising, imaginative, irreverent, loving grandmother with purple hair. Loves her family, dark chocolate, butter, ice cream, spiritual ascendancy and the color purple (not necessarily in that order).

Rio (Pooch) – (6 human years) Rio is a cream-colored golden retriever with a mind of her own. We affectionately refer to her as a very… baaaaad… dog. She is beautiful, soft fur-factory who loves chewing things, stealing socks, digging holes and a “proper” nap on the couch. Passions include exploring, wind in her fur, and anything having to do with boats & water. Because of the unsuitable environment at sea and abroad, Rio has found herself a perfect         foster family who loves her as much as we do and lets her have the occasional visit with Granny, who is traveling more now that we’re away..


OUR VESSEL

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BATU

1977 Valiant 40, Hull #167

Robert Perry-designed cutter-rigged sloop.

Length: 40ft (12m)

Beam (width): 12ft 4in (3.78m)

Displacement (weight): 23,520 (11 Metric Tons)

Engine: Westerbeke 4-108, 40hp diesel

Fuel tankage: 85Gal (322L) *We carry an additional 20 Gal. (75L) of diesel in jerry cans

Water Tankage: 150Gal. (568L)

Battery banks: 12v – 540Ah (house), 90Ah (emergency start)

Self-steering: Hydrovane wind vane, SIMRAD below-deck autopilot.

Electronics: GPS/ Chartplotter, 4Kw HD color radar, AIS.

Communications: Icom M-802 SSB with Pactor P4 Dragon modem, DCS VHF Radio and Delorme InREACH two-way satellite communications device (Iridium network).

Supplemental power: 4 x 100watt Semi-flexible solar panels with 30Amp BlueSky MPPT Charge Controller, Air-X Wind generator, Honda 2000eu gas generator

Bower anchor: Rocna 33kg (73lb)

*Additional details on Valiant 40 specifications can be found online at http://sailboatdata.com/viewrecord.asp?class_id=2351

The relationship between sailor and vessel is complicated. BATU is, at once, our home, a family member, and our benevolent protector. For ages long past sailors have referred to vessels in the feminine, saying “she is a beauty” not “it…”. This gender reference can be surprising to English speakers, but to seaborne sailors who place their lives in her hands, a boat takes on an animate personality. BATU takes good care of us, and in turn, we take good care of her. She is strong and stoic, specifically designed for offshore passages.

Although the living space is a bit snug for a family of four living aboard, we do have a lot of specialized gear including two dinghys, two outboards, two sewing machines, kiteboarding gear for 3 people, a surfboard, homeschooling books and coursework for three grades, two laptops, several iPads and Kindles (I loose count) and a huge pile of tools & spares. In addition, we carry two large anchors at both the bow and stern, 300ft (91m) of chain rode, 750ft (229m) of rope rode and a sea anchor. Combine all of these things, plus long-term provisions, clothing, books and personal gear for four and it’s a cozy fit, but we make it work fairly well.


 

TRACKING OUR PROGRESSIMG_3756


BATU carries several redundant communications. One of these is a Delorme InREACH, which uses the Iridium satellite network to send tracking coordinates and mission-critical SMS and email.

If the embedded map above is not working properly, you can track our progress at:

https://share.delorme.com/svBATU

19 thoughts on “About Us”

  1. Hi Peter –

    Welcome to the water world! I did the Cal to Mexico trip in 2003 on my first boat (42′ Fountain Pajot cat). Cruised the Sea of Cortez for 3 years, then down the mainland coast. Sold that boat in 2008. Bought another big cat (46′ Robertson Caine Leopard – INDIGO) in 2013 and tomorrow we’re on our way to the Carib for the winter (spent last winter in the Bahamas and BVI). In 2017 we’ll head for the South Pacific. Perhaps our paths will cross out on the blue! Eric

    1. Hi Eric!

      Thanks! Yes, I heard a bit about your cat travels, but didn’t know about the new one. Beautiful boat. Spend a couple weeks on a smaller Robertson Caine 42 (I think?) in Puerto Rico & Culebra Stoked to hear that you’re heading West. We’ll keep in touch – you do the same. We’d love to get together!

      Peter

    2. Hi Eric,

      I just saw this comment again and thought I’d check your status. You mentioned plans to be here in the South Pacific this season. I didn’t see Indigo in the PPJ fleet, but thought you might be here anyhow.

      We’re on our way back East at the moment, having arrived in Tahiti from New Zealand 3 weeks ago. We’re in Papeete until tomorrow (15-June) when we plan to depart for Hawaii. Drop us a note if you’re around. Either way, fair winds!

      Peter

    1. Hi Chris,

      Miss you too dawg. Sounds like a PLAN! Hopefully we’ll have our refrigeration issues sorted out soon so we can make that beer a cold one!

      Peter

  2. Merry Christmas , as u explore new horizons, u explore one self. Your journey will be like a storm, good, the bad , and the ugly. But with the brains that you all have, will calm those fears.

    Miss seeing you every summer, but granny misses u more, along with Rio.❤

    It takes great courage to do, what you are doing.

    Be safe, praying for y’all, see u when u get back

    Love always
    Peg⛵

  3. Wishing the Arpag family a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year filled with fun adventures! God bless you throughout your journey! You are in our thoughts and prayers. Enjoy!!
    Cindy and John Doyle

  4. Hi Arpag familia.

    Bienvenidos a Bay of Banderas! We are on month 5 away from Hood River, still stationed in Sayulita. We are so close, let’s connect! We can come get you this weekend. Stephen heads out Monday to take he truck back across the border to renew it’s legal status, so I will be without a rig for 2 weeks, then we head to the states so Parker can renew his Visa (we are flying to see grandparents in FL). So other options are 2nd week in Feb if you are still in he area, or you can take a bus to Sayulita. Let me know.
    Feliz Anos,
    Karen

    1. Hola Karen!

      It was awesome to catch up with you here in La Cruz! Muchas gracias for taking the time to come visit. Next time we’ll have to come to your next of the woods and check out Sayulita!

      Peter, Karen, Sean & Sarah

  5. Hi Peter, Karen, Sean and Sara!

    Dean and I have just caught up to reading your posts!! Fabulous stories (except all the technical stuff with refrigeration and solar which i don’t understand) but it’s exciting all the same. I am impressed with all that you have had to learn. Solar panels on Batu seems perfect! Seems like Sarah had a great birthday and I had to laugh reading that Karen wrapped Sarah’s gifts in her clothes! Brilliant! Was horrified to read about the Rage! A true nightmare. That’s my fear of owning a boat, its like your house burning down and your land disappearing. You will definitely be different people when you come back home, as Sean said in his interview. It’s a whole new set of priorities and knowing what is really important. Waiting for next post! All our love!

    P>S> HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEAN!!!!

  6. Sara, I cant wait till you come back to swimming. I miss you so much. I cant wait to start hanging out with you. Hope you are having fun!!! Text me.

  7. Reading your fascinating blog. Nice writing! It’s like we’re there with you.
    We’ve been talking about what great experiences these are for you guys. There is no teaching this stuff to the kids anywhere else.
    We are thinking of you all, talking about all the amazing adventures you are having and can’t wait to read more.
    Safe travels!
    xoxoxo,
    Arlene and Jim

  8. PT, Karen, kids! Your dot is almost at the big island which means you are too! I can’t help but be happy for you and sad for you at the same time. What grand adventures! What gritty work! You’ve had the experiences of a lifetime and let those of us who’ve been following along experience them vicariously. Always adventure through reading, me, but this one I’ve been glad and at times, yes, a little terrified to know was real. Love you twin and fam. Hugs from afar. ~Sib

    1. Sib!

      Thanks for keeping an eye on us! Yep, it’s strange and thrilling and a bit sad to have returned to the US and to be nearing the end of this voyage. Trying to remember that life is just one big adventure. Big, big hugs krazy kuz! Love,

      PT, K, S & S

  9. You made it! Every morning I ran to my computer to check your progress. SO exciting. You have multiple emails awaiting you once you come up for air!

    Can’t wait to see you in the PNW!

    Susan & Rob
    S/V Athanor

    1. Dear Athanors!

      It made our passage to hear from you along the way – we were worried we’d lost you! Hopefully you received our reply via Sailmail. The weather is getting hi key, so we’re now in Honolulu relaxing and reflecting on what comes next (the passage and AFTER the passage). Looking forward to a good catch up in the PNW!

      The Batu Crew
      PT, K, S & S

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