interview: sailing alma – the “challengers” cruising family

In 2015, Angela and Yulian followed their dream to become full-time cruisers and sail the world.

Sailing Alma, that’s Angela and Yulian with their baby girl Aria and Chihuahua Sofia.

In 2015 they bought a rather dated Ericson 41. Built-in 1969 she was more of a “rotten piece of fibreglass with absolutely no glamour or glory” as the guys describe it.

Over a period of 4 years, Yulian and Angela transformed their “Alma” into a functional, seaworthy and extremely beautiful looking sailing boat.

With little to no budget, they did most of the refit work themselves. Which in itself is an amazing achievement.

In 2018, not shy of any challenges and just about to finish up the restoration of Alma, Angela and Yulian stepped right into the next phase of their life. Baby Aria was born and the three of them are now cruising along the US coast.

What's their boat?

Alma is an Ericson 41 build in 1969. A popular Bruce King design that features long ends, a low wetted surface, a short waterline and impressive stability for bluewater sailing.

Length overall is 41’4″ (12.6 m) with a 10’8″ (3.3 m) beam and roughly 8tons displacement. You can find more information on Ericson Yachts in this forum that has a community of more than 5,000 Ericson owners.

What was the most challenging event you experienced as a family while cruising and how did you deal with it?

Well in our case every experience has come with a story so here’s ours.

On our first month cruising Moving up on the east coast of the US we had our first terrifying moment. It was a very beautiful sunny day the wind was about 15 to 18 knots We’re cruising about 6 1/2 Around 10 to 15 miles away from the coast autopilot was on and life was beautiful.

Angela was inside with the baby playing and I was just enjoying how lucky we are to be able to have this lifestyle when all of a sudden “boom” we hit bottom!

We felt like the boat just screeched to a stop.

“How could this have happened so far away from land?” I thought to myself.

Right away a million thoughts come to my head thinking “this is it the boat is going down right away! Plan to keep my family safe!”

I heard my wife Angela yelling from inside the cabin “what was that??? Did we hit something? “

Then the next wave came and we were off to hit again in a couple of seconds I yelled we hit the ground she yelled back “go offshore!!! “I responded “we are offshore” so as soon as the next wave came we turned east as far away from shore possible. We hit about 10 times in total, the rigging was Shaking but we didn’t hear any cracking sound.

The boat was still handling like usual and we were moving fast away from what was supposed to be 24 ft of water.

A couple of seconds after the scary part was almost over, we started to check for any signs of water coming in every through-hull below, and every compartment.

Thankfully there was no water or no seen damage to Alma. We continued offshore until we were able to reach a well-marked inlet. To this day, we are still amazed at how this happened. The lesson we learned is to be prepared for any situation at any time!

What was your most amazing experience as a family so far?

Being able to live this lifestyle gives you the opportunity to live many beautiful experiences. But the best of all is to live with your family.

It doesn’t matter where we are, we always have a great time because we have each other by our side. Seeing our baby girl grow in her first year of life has been the overall best experience.

We both have been able to see her discover new things, reach milestones, and develop her personality. This on its own is priceless.

What do you do when you had an argument on the boat and only have limited private space to reflect?

There is no such thing as personal space on a boat. You are forced to face your conflict sooner than you are on land life because you can not walk away from it.

What do you miss the most from your "old" land-based lifestyle?

Space, washer and dryer, A.C.

All of these things can be solved by getting a bigger boat.

What would you say is the most valuable lesson you have learned as a family while cruising?

Appreciate what you have and the simplicity of it every day of your life.

One thing you can not live without on the boat?

Besides our family,

Angela- our tiny stove to make food

Yulian- our solar array which allows us to have an unlimited amount of power.

If you could travel back in time to the day before you set sail what advice would you give yourself?

Do not rush your adventure, it will happen the way it’s supposed to not the way that you plan it.

If you had superpowers what is the one thing you would change in the world?

The ability to make people happy.

Your top 2-3 tips for wannabe bluewater cruisers?

1. Don’t rush- we learned this the hard way.

Our plan was to go from Florida to Maine, so we spent the first month in a rush, which caused careless mistakes and running many grounds. As soon as we slowed down the pace, everything went more smoothly.

2. Don’t make plans- most of the time they change.

Whenever we made a plan, 95% of the time we had to adjust and change it.

3. Be positive

A positive attitude can go a long way, remember why you chose this lifestyle and be grateful for what you have.

Social Media and other links

You can find Sailing Alma on Instagram and on Youtube.

Best way to contact Angela, Yulian, Aria and Sofia is via IG messenger.