Natalie and Wade are a full-time live aboard couple from Saratoga Springs, Utah. Together, they own a Leopard 48 that they closed in August of 2020 from The Moorings Yacht Brokerage. They finished their last few years of college in Hawaii and after, stayed and worked for a couple years. While still in Hawaii, they met a family who sailed around the world with their teenagers. “We’ve had the dream ever since” says Natalie. “When our kids were old enough, we set sail around the world with them. It’s been an 18-year dream!” Their yacht is called, “Sunday Waffles.” The name comes from their family tradition of having waffles on Sundays, usually inviting family, friends & neighbors over to join them. A couple years ago, they started watching sailing YouTube channels to their Sunday tradition: to learn, get ideas, and keep excited about their dream. Natalie and Wade are on IG and FB: “Sailing Sunday Waffles.”
Here is their story:
Did you like to travel before you decided to sail around the world?
We love to travel and have been to many countries worldwide. We love meeting new people, learning about different cultures, and seeing their beautiful countries.
What’s your favorite part of sailing?
There’s so much to love! We really love the actual sailing part! We’ve loved being together as a family, learning new things: about sailing, ourselves, each other, and we’ve love meeting other people.
Were you experienced sailors prior?
We didn’t have any prior sailing experience. We grew up on motorboats and houseboats so we’re familiar with some aspects of boat life. (Obviously, not the actual sailing part.) We have been on a couple sailboats as passengers, but we did the ASA sailing school down in St Vincent and the Grenadines prior to purchasing our boat.
How long have you lived on your Leopard 48?
We moved aboard in November and have been living on her ever since. (We did come for a couple weeks here and there between Aug and Nov to Florida to get her cleaned, outfitted, and ready for moving aboard.)
What made you decide on a Leopard?
Our son watched a lot of YouTube videos about sailboats. He LOVED the Leopards and was always telling us about their features. We attended the Miami boat show in Feb 2018 and looked at many different makes and models. We narrowed it down to the Leopard 46 & 48 and the Lagoon 450. They fit our price range, size family, and needs. We were fortunate to find our 48, our first choice.
How has maintenance been on your catamaran?
So far, our maintenance has been great. We did A LOT of work before we left and have tried to upkeep little things. So far, we haven’t had major problems (knock on wood). But we understand things happen and boats are a lot of work. We’re always busy doing something: cleaning, projects, fixing, and maintenance.
What’s your favorite part about the Leopard 48?
The space is really great. It’s always concerning if you’re going to feel cramped, but the saloon and back cockpit areas are large and spacious. And there is still the forward cockpit, tramp area, and roof to move about.
How do you access food? Do you catch it fresh daily or stock up?
We stocked up. And I’ve been impressed with how much we’ve been able to store on this boat! We do have a Dometic cooler that we stocked with meat. We were hoping to catch more fish, but hopefully we’ll get the hang of it soon.
Has having a family of 4 made it difficult to live aboard a catamaran?
Family of 4 kids. Plus, us two adults. We are still in the adjustment phase. So, there are some ups and downs. But not due to living on a catamaran. It’s more because of the lifestyle change, missing family and friends, and other conveniences of living on land. I’ve really liked living on our catamaran with our family of six - we have not felt cramped ever or like we are living on top of each other.
What is your favorite place to travel?
We love Costa Rica and Hawaii
How has the pandemic affected your life living on a Leopard?
It was a coincidence for the timing of moving aboard and the pandemic. But living aboard on a catamaran, away from the craziness has been a relief. Our kids are not missing as much as they would have in prior years because so much is canceled. We are isolated and in the most incredible places enjoying the beauty of the earth and building our family relationships. Pretty good place to be during a pandemic!
The only affect so far is the extra hoops we must jump through to enter countries. Eventually, we may even have to skip countries we’ve really wanted to go to because they may not be open. We are keeping our fingers crossed and praying that things will slow down so we can continue to move forward in our dream!
If you could change one thing on your 48, what would it be?
For me - I wish there was a way to have a full-size fridge/freezer. I also wish there were outlets in the aft cockpit. Sometimes we wish there was a fly bridge up top so more of us could fit up higher.
Have you ever thought about upsizing or downsizing your boat?
We’re so new to this that we’re super excited about what we have right now! We plan to sail for two years. After that, our family will change (kids graduating and moving on). Who knows where the future will lead?
Will you consider another Leopard Catamaran in the future?
For sure! We’re still in love with the Leopard 50! Maybe one day we can afford one of those yachts!