Sailtime: Mike, how long have you and Deana been boaters? when did you first start sailing? Mike: I started boating as a youngster in 1962 in Florida and caught the bug then and never really stopped boating since. Deana and I met in college at FSU in 1974 and have been boating together since. I think our current boat is number 12 since we met… Lots of ski boats, sport fishers. But also a Catalina 25, Morgan Out Island 41 and others! SailTime: Wow! With a background like that what drew you to Sailtime? Mike: We moved from Florida to California in 2000 for business and wanted to get into boating on the Pacific coast but due to uncertainties with job transfers and an unforeseen cancer diagnosis we felt fractional sailing was the best option for us. SailTime was clearly our top choice in fractional sailing options. We knew in our hearts we would eventually buy our own sailboat again when it was clear that I had a good medical prognosis. SailTime: When did you decide you wanted to buy your own boat and sail around the world ? Mike: We decided that if I survived my cancer battle we would sell the house, purchase a sailboat (home) and pursue our forty year old dream of circumnavigating our water planet. In June of this year we felt I was far enough beyond cancer (3.5 years) to pursue our dream. Sailing around the world is a learning experience few people achieve and the exposure (as a guest) to other civilizations and cultures is a refreshing perspective. SailTime: What kind of boat did you buy and why ? Mike: We spent a great deal of time going back and forth about the type of vessel best suited to our plans and ultimately decided on a blue water catamaran. The deciding factors were livability, space and to a certain degree, speed. Deana has a chronic back injury that is often aggravated by the heeling motion of a monohull and we both have always enjoyed the flatter sailing of cats as well as the roomier living space and faster hull speeds. We ultimately chose the Manta 42 because of its reputation as a quality blue water multihull. SailTime: What are some of the places you are really excited about visiting on your own boat around the world? Mike: After we bought the boat we sailed up the East coast in time to see the Annapolis show. Now we are headed back down to Florida. As for our near term plans, we will be provisioning to cruise the Bahamas and Caribbean in December. From the Bahamas we will visit some of the Caribbean islands on our way to the Panama Canal. In 2011 we plan to visit the Sea of Cortez then back to Southern California to visit our children and friends next spring. Then it’s off to Hawaii, Alaska, Northwest Passage, San Juan Islands, Seattle, San Francisco and a return to SoCal. In early 2012 we expect to visit the Galapagos and cross the Pacific to the Marquesas, French Polynesians and on to New Zealand. Sailtime: Is there any way folks can follow your travels? Mike: Currently I am uploading my daily activity to my Facebook page ( /mike.ruel ) and I plan to initiate a blog very soon. There will be a link on the left side of my Facebook page as soon as I have it running. Thanks Mike! We will also post stories from you whenever we get them. Have fair winds and following seas!