About Cheryl & René
René was number six of a family of ten children born and raised in Tilburg, the Netherlands where at age 11 he convinced his father to buy a small wooden sailboat.
At age 21 he emigrated to Canada where he met me, Canadian born Cheryl, while we worked at his uncle's seafood restaurant. We married 5 months later, started a business importing and distributing sailboards and sailboard accessories and raised a family of three terrific sons. While the boys were growing up the weekends were filled with skiing, snowboarding and sailing which was supported by the running of a few small businesses and jobs for René as an independent sales representative.
The family's first cruising experience was a two week vacation in the North Channel of Lake Huron on an Edel 665 (less than 22 ft.). The enthusiasm generated by this trip immediately led to the purchase of an Edel 820 (under 28 ft.). It was on this boat in 1993 that the plan to travel extensively by sailboat was hatched and a departure year of 2007 was set. The rest, as they say, is history.
About Gypsy Blues
Before owning Gypsy Blues, we, René and Cheryl owned a Siren 17, an Edel 665, an Edel 820, and a Jeanneau Sun Fizz 40. Having learned a lot about what features we valued in a cruising boat through many years of practical experience, reading several books by and about cruisers, researching various makes and models at boat shows, in magazine reviews, in Practical Sailor's boat bible, by interrogating people who had cruised to the southern latitudes and of course much internet surfing, we took a look at our budget and set our hearts on a Jeanneau Sun Kiss 47.
Why this make and model? Well first off, there's no such thing as a perfect boat partly because everybody looks for something different in a boat for many different reasons. We decided on fiberglass but wanted an older, solidly built boat since our budget didn't support a newer one built to the same standards. The Sun Kiss has a sleek design with a low cabin top, allowing even short people like Cheryl to see over it while in the cockpit and reach the hatches and handrails while below. The interior is plenty spacious, all varnished teak with very good natural light and excellent ventilation. The master cabin has a Queen sized pullman berth with a head and sail locker forward and there are two comfortably sized aft cabins, each with a sink and storage, joined in the centre by a shared head. The main salon is very open feeling with a large table and a centre line bench. The galley is along the starboard side with as much counter space as you could hope for in a boat this size, separate fridge and freezer, double sink and of course a stove/oven. The engine has easy access all around, including from the large opening in the cockpit floor.
The Sun Kiss we chose has a centre board giving us 4'10" draft or 9' or anything in between. She's a cutter rigged sloop which we feel is excellent for long term cruising and allows a spacious, comfortable cockpit and we love the sugar scoop for swimming from, showering, catching fish, doing laundry, sawing things, running our portable generator, storing gasoline and small spare anchors and accessing the dinghy. For us, Gypsy Blues is small enough to single hand yet large enough to accommodate guests and handle most conditions with confidence. In our opinion she looks great and sails wonderfully. She is our home.