Kate at mast  

Katie Thomsen


I've always liked to clean house and get rid of old things. Spring cleaning was never a problem. So when it came time to move from our apartment in Antwerp and make a pile for what was going back to the U. S., what was going onto the boat, and what could go away, it should have been easy. No way. I guess it's because I didn't know what to expect living on a boat.

What clothes would I need? How many towels should I take? What about all the books we had to have? Our full-sized Dutch touring bikes were definitely coming as I was so attached to mine.  Nearly every door I opened caused a dilemma.

I read several books about the cruising lifestyle hoping for some insight. I found I should be able to get by with very little. Much easier said than done! I packed and unpacked over and over again. It was like cutting your hair off in stages to get used to the idea. I just don't know what to expect living on a boat. It will be a whole new thing for me.

Skiing and snowboarding have been a big part of my life for many years. In high school and college I taught skiing in the local mountains. When I met Jim in 1986 I was managing a ski, outdoor and water sports retail store.

He and his partner convinced me to quit that job and work with them as a sales representative so that started a new chapter in my life. I began selling swimwear, apparel, backpacks, windsurfing equipment, and ski hardgoods. What fun! Then came snowboarding. It was the late '80s and here was a new sport that was just becoming popular. I had a great territory and got to ride a lot with accounts and friends so it was the best possible job.

Jim and I moved from Southern California to Mammoth in 1988. Eventually I opened my own business there. It started out small, an extension of our repping office, but it soon grew into a business of its own. The first location was the first in town to offer complete packaging and shipping services along with computer services, fax and copy services. This was in 1991 and most people didn't have personal computers in this small resort town. As time went on we moved to a larger location and offered more sophisticated computer and business services. The retail store sold stationery, gifts, office and art supplies.

In 2000 we moved to Belgium and I sold the business. Another chapter. The last 3 years we lived in Antwerp which I absolutely loved. When Jim decided to retire I wasn't completely thrilled as my life as an ex-pat wife was nearly perfect. I was excited about sailing but it could wait a year or so.

Now that we have moved on board I am happy that Jim quit and that we have all our time together. I'm having a great time learning to sail. Living on board is the way to go. I love being outside so much of the time even though it rains all the time here. Also, it's pretty amazing how little stuff we really need. I brought way too much!

July, 2006




Katie Snowboarding

Hiking the Sherwins out of Mammoth, Crystal Crag in the background


In the lock by our marina in Holland


Read about Jim




Skiing at Mammoth Mountain, California. February 2006

K8 in Mammoth



Bike touring in Belgium