Liz Lacy on Being a Sailor, Mother and Gardener


I don’t remember when Liz let it slip that she spends months on a sailboat. As soon as she did, I wanted to know more. I mean, who does that?!? But alas, we only see each other in yoga and that’s not a good forum for chatting. So I invented this blog thing as an excuse to talk to her outside of class.

How did you come to be a sailor?

There was an older neighbor who inspired our dream of sailing when my husband and I were first married. He was a farmer, but also had a sailboat and a home on St. John in the USVIs. Years later, we were lucky enough to travel to the Caribbean, and came to realize how much more of it we wanted to explore. Having a boat would lend us the opportunity to see the islands the best way possible, via the water. We’d often considered a vacation home but nothing ever seemed right because staying in the same place over and over didn’t appeal to us. Having a boat has allowed us to go to many different places while still giving us the comfort of feeling at home.

What’s a typical day on the boat?

We really enjoy waking up in a new anchorage every day. On a typical day we wake up with the sun, sit out on the deck with a cup of coffee and watch the day come alive. The stirring of the fish, the birds, other boaters, the fisherman and the activities onshore. We take a morning swim, hike onshore while it’s still cool, chart our next destination, pull up the anchor and head out. The wind is usually strongest from 10 until 2 so that’s when we like to sail. If we are in deep water, we’ll throw out a fishing lure. In the evening, hopefully we have been lucky enough to have found a secluded cove or a quiet bay to anchor in or just tie up at a dock in town. We usually make dinner on board, watch the sun go down, play cards, read…photo (2)

What is your favorite duration for a trip and why?

Two to eight weeks. Traveling any where outside the US for less than two weeks just doesn’t make sense when you consider all the logistics. And after eight weeks on a boat, it’s really nice to get back on land and enjoy the amenities of home.

When you’re on the boat, how do you cope with lack of personal space?

Most of the time we are traveling by ourselves. When we have guests on board we feel a lot of responsibility, but we very much enjoy the company. Inviting the right people is key: close family, friends, people who get the ocean. It’s great when everyone feels they have contributed something to the trip (like trimming the sails, cleaning the decks, meal planning and prep, music selection, maybe a fresh catch of fish.) That all creates good harmony amongst the crew. It’s nice when people know how to balance being alone with togetherness. Catamarans are good for that as well. A large salon for entertaining and two hulls separate the sleeping areas so it feels like there are areas to escape to for privacy. Otherwise, if you need some time to yourself, you can always jump in the ocean and go for a snorkel.

What has been the biggest challenge of motherhood?

ModifiedLizKidsI always knew I wanted to have children. I was blessed with two daughters, now 25 and 22 years old. It was honestly such a joy. They were easy kids. Watching them grow was extremely rewarding- hearing their thoughts, sharing their interests, knowing what they think is funny.

Actually, the biggest challenge is now. Both girls have left home and are living and working outside of Southern California and I really miss them. My oldest daughter, Samantha, has been living in Seattle for almost 3 years now. She’s a graphic designer. In her free time, she enjoys designing wine labels as part of her freelance design work. She drew the logo for Solterra Winery here in Leucadia. My youngest, Becky, is now living in Ventura, working as a horticultural trial breeder/grower. She has college experience growing Paul Ecke’s poinsettias and still does some of their trials in her new job in Santa Paula. So both girls are living in their own places right now and loving it.

They certainly didn’t turn out just like me, so sometimes it’s hard to watch them go through life on their own. There are occasions when I find myself holding my breath. But they are getting along just fine.

If your house was burning and you could only save one thing (not counting plants, people or pets), what would you save?

Definitely photographs. Both my dad and my husband’s dad worked for Kodak so we have MILLIONS of photos. (But I should really scan them all, so I could rescue something else if I needed to.)

What are some other hobbies you have?

I was introduced to yoga when I moved to Encinitas from Colorado in 1996. It’s been a part of my life ever since but I do have other hobbies, too. Gardening for one. I learned to love and appreciate growing a vegetable garden back in the ’80’s during the summers when I lived in upstate NY with my mom and dad. There is nothing like home grown tomatoes and sweet corn. Soon after my husband and I were married we moved to Maui and grew organic basil commercially supporting seniors in a local co-op. Today, we try to grow just about everything for our kitchen to complement our love of cooking. And we took up wine making a few years back to IMG_5477round it all out. We grow some grapes in our backyard just for fun, but make our wine from grapes all over California and Baja. I also am crazy about mountain bike riding and stand up paddle boarding. Both go perfectly with sailing. Last year, I had an incredible opportunity to ride in Goreme, Turkey. Unforgettable landscape and history!

How does your life differ from how you envisioned it in your 20s?

You know, I believe things have played out pretty close to what I had imagined. If I envisioned something else today it might be living in a rural setting near the mountains with some land to cultivate and a place to take long walk in the fields. As much as I like Southern California, I crave open spaces. I would have a dog friend in that vision too.

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