The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

Satellite - The Final Chapter

Adam McKenzie & Nancy Shackelford

Maple Leaf 42
January 30th, 2018

Changed days, we are officially land lubbers. Our beloved Satellite is now in the hands of a new owner. Being liveaboards for three and a half years has certainly been a life experience we will never forget.

It has been a mixture of everything: fun; exciting; adrenaline-inducing; stressful; confusing; educational; challenging; passionate; driven; beautiful, and more. There is so much we miss, from the amazing sunrises to start the day at anchor, to walking along the marina or having a drink on the deck discussing our day. We will miss the challenge of project after project; investigating and learning, upgrading and improving, investing and saving for a common goal.

Though we learned new skills from all the trades, my favourites had to be wood and metal work. I feel that building the communication desk and upgrading the V-berth were some of my greatest achievements. I’m not saying either was anywhere near perfect, but in the end, I built things that were tangible, solid, and functional.

Nancy’s favourite trade to learn had to be electrical.  Upgrading the AC and DC electrical systems was one of our winter projects, while we house sat for friends. Nancy spent hours sketching out existing and planned wiring schematics, and this has left a map for the new owners that is easy to understand and continue to improve. One of the most rewarding aspects of that job was knowing that a huge part of the electrical system aboard on the boat was safe and up to grade.

Satellite under way

Some of the most challenging things we faced had to be the huge learning curve of how to sail safely and consider all the factors of wind, tide and current.  We immersed ourselves in dingy lessons; going on friends’ boats; reading; joining the Club; talking to fellow sailors, and taking advantage of the amazing educational opportunities the BCA and BCA Fleet provide. Bit by bit we found out what our boat was capable of, what conditions were best for her size, and what upgrades she needed to make sailing easier.

Our first trip on our own was to Pender Island. What a feeling that was to find our own groove and team process. Halfway through our journey up, we turned off the engine, got the sails up, and heard two killer whales breathing just off our bow; that was something special. We felt victorious pulling into the Poet’s Cove jetty, at least until the lovely man helping us mentioned that perhaps next time, we should drop the main sail before trying to dock. Oops…

After that trip, we had more confidence to go out on our own. We learned more and more with each journey, and celebrated every time we kept ourselves safe and got back to the dock at the end. That dram of Lagavulin 16 Year will never taste as good as it did after all the lines were tied and the decks tidied.

A new, exciting life is ahead of us. We are heading to Colorado! Neither of us has lived near the mountains, and our beloved ocean will be a plane flight away. It will take a bit of adjustment, but we are more than confident we can adapt and soak in as much of the Colorado experience as possible.

I cannot express enough thanks to everyone who has been involved in our amazing life-changing journey being boat people:

  • Thanks to you, all our amazing mentors, who helped us along our path.
  • Thanks to you, all our crew members, who cheered with us when we left dock, and held the fenders when we came back.
  • Thanks to the marine stores who gave us help, advice, and endless bizarre boat parts.
  • Thank you to the Oak Bay Sea Rescue. I learned so much with you, and I met some awesome individuals who not only put up with my cheekiness and hyper attitude, but who gave me my first true feelings for the ways of the sea.
  • Thank you to the entire Bluewater Cruising Association. You have given us so much help and support, it is impossible to list everyone who has been an inspiration. The Fleet group and its hardworking leaders; the members of the Watch, the members of the Club. You are the heart of the sailing community, and we will continue to look to you as we move forward with our sailing dreams.

Thank you to our amazing cat, “KING BOOGIE”, not exactly fearless crew, but always there to give us a smile when we needed it. And thank you to my beautiful wife. Sharing what we had together in this particular chapter of our life has been magical in so many ways. We’ve had so much fun, excitement and laughter. You kept me going when times were hard. Your excitement and bravery to take on new things truly taught me a lot and encouraged me. You are a legend and you are my world!

The dream of Alaska is still there, just delayed. The 42 footer was an amazing liveaboard, but a bit of a beast to maneuver, so we have our sights set on a smaller home next time. We have dreams of a 36 to 38 footer that sails well and is equipped with all the tools to achieve our ultimate goal.

“It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.” “He who lets the sea lull him into a sense of security is in very grave danger.” “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails.” George William Curtis



  1. Chris Stask says:

    All the best you two, hope to see you again on the water.
    Chris and Jacquie
    SV Inceptus

  2. Don Craigmyle says:

    Thank you for all that you have given back to the Association. You are the epitome of courage and dedication, an inspiration to all who strive to achieve their goals. Please stay in touch, you can sail with me anytime!

  3. Kandy and Dennis Hiebert S/V Lemanee says:

    Adam and Nancy. Congratulations on your move. While Satalite is no longer you home, the sea will always be your element. Someday you will own another sailboat and you will fall in love with her too. In the meantime enjoy what Colorado has to offer. Living in the mountains is wonderful.
    We are sitting out w couple of very windy days in La Paz and then we will sail to,the mainland where Lemanee will be put on the hard for hurricane season and we will returned to Canada to top up the boat Kitty.

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