Cruising a Seawind 1160 – How we got there!

An interesting story from Eric and Pam Sellix…

Who are we?

We’re too old people from the USA who have become full-time live-a-board cruisers 24/7/365.  We are both in our seventies, having bought our Seawind in 2009 when we were both 65.


How did we get there?

The how we got there is much harder.  When we got married in 1968, Pam had never sailed and I had given up the dinghy racing of a comet class boat I had gotten instead of a car when I graduated from high school.  Actually I didn’t think I would ever be sailing again.  We owned restaurants, careers that can take 20 hours a day, or at least it did for us. Lots of good things can come out of the trade, but at 40 years of age I had a stroke.  I had had two friends who had heart attacks at age 40 and did not pull through so I felt pretty good that I had survived.  Especially as a younger person my recovery was almost complete. After my friends deaths I would say to myself, “If I live to be 40, I’ll make it to one hundred”.

Why is this important to our story?

You’ll see.

Our doctor suggested that I needed to find time away from working 20 hours a day, and in all of her goodness Pam agreed.  But what to do?  What things really interested me? We bought a little 24 ft. river  cruiser that we kept on the docks behind our main restaurant.  Wasn’t that lucky…..being a tributary of the Columbia River in Oregon.  Pam and I would take one or two day trips when we could.  Pam’s first time sailing.  But the little boat heeled a lot, and usually required a few glasses of wine for Pam on all but the most pleasant of weather.  But we were sailing again, or I was, and Pam putting up with me and the boat, and learning.


The funny part of getting there (cruising) is that it just happened over the years.  We were getting near to retirement age and neither of us had any plans of what to do.  Somehow (it’s a mystery of how) we thought of cruising on a sailboat, meeting people and cultures beyond our own.  We sat down one afternoon and created a pro/con list of what we would want on a boat. I’ve lost the list, but it was pretty long in both the pro and con areas.  We will save this for another article.  After several years of looking at boats, mostly cats, we had not found any that met our requirements of the list. Then in the fall of 2008, Seawind put an advertisement in Sail Magazine.  Believe it or not, the picture of the Seawind 1160 in the ad was a turning point.  Even from the picture it was clear that this boat met many of the criteria we wanted.  Kurt Jerman, North American Sales Manager, invited us to the 2009 Boat Show in San Diego, where an 1160 was on display.  After the show we sailed on the boat.  We were hooked.  We looked for several months to find a used Seawind (a story in it’s own right).  We couldn’t find one, but Kurt suggested we might be able to buy a new boat.  She was commissioned in the Columbia River in 2010.  We closed our business in 2012, and have been sailing ever since.  Up and down the West Coast of the Americas, west through the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand and east back to the West Coast of America.  Over 30,000 nautical miles sailed so far to lots of countries and their people. We seem to be in better health now than 10 years ago and still going strong. AFTER ALL, we still have 27 years before I’m 100 years old.

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