Hawaii here I come!

For those of you who have been following along, you may have previously read my blog post entitled The double meaning of Aloha. In this blog I talked about the Vic-Maui Yacht Race coming up in July 2018 and how I had planned to race. At that time, we had unexpectedly received the gift of Spindrift from my grandparents and we had to ship her out West, causing some tightening of the financial belt!

Well, I’m happy to say that we have managed to organize ourselves so that I can head to Hawaii! I will not be doing the race this time around, but I’ll be helping to deliver one of the race boats back to Vancouver from Maui – Turnagain, a Beneteau Oceanis 50.


I am so excited to get these miles under my belt and to get back out on the open water. I can’t really begin to put into words what it feels like to sail under the stars surrounded by complete darkness, but it is something special to experience!

Also, Turnagain skipper Travis has been silly enough to let me recruit some friends to join in on the adventure, so Geoff Lugar, Wren McElroy and Joe Gilbert are also signing on! I think we need a team name and mascot…

Keep an eye on my page for updates on how I am getting organized for this trip including workouts, packing tips, foul weather gear and more!


I’m hoping the trip looks something like this (but with women… haha) …

Fair winds,

Captain Penny

Penny Caldwell

My name is Penny and I live in Nelson BC. I was about a year old the first time I went sailing. My mom tucked me under her arm and took me out on our family laser. Apparently I enjoyed myself enough to continue…

Since then I have sailed everything from small optis and lasers, to larger 50′ yachts. My love for sailing comes from my grandfather, Adrian, and he continues to inspire me with his love of all things water. I recently received an Aloha 28 from him and my Grandmother Heather and I am passing along the sailing bug to my husband and children.

I have taught Sail Canada courses through many reputable sailing schools across Canada including: Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, Advantage Boating, Humber College Sailing Centre, Pointe Claire Yacht Club, Royal St Lawrence Yacht Club and Harbour West Sailing Adventures. Their names and locations have changed over the years, but the many contacts and amazing people that I have taught with, and for, have not. They all helped shape who I now am as a sailor and an instructor.

Sailing Qualifications: 

Other Sailing Experience: 

  • Founder: Sail Nelson, in Nelson BC – January 2015
  • Translation English to French: Basic Cruising Standard, Sail Canada – 1997
  • Secretary: Kootenay Lake Sailing Association 2016-2018
  • Vic-Maui International Yacht Race – Turnagain delivery crew 2018

Languages: English, French, Spanish and Russian

The sailing landscape has changed significantly since I started my sailing journey many years ago and I am looking forward to offering courses now in BC and to adding some races to my resume.  Racing is something that I did not do on keelboats — I went straight to cruising and teaching live aboards throughout the Great Lakes, the mighty St. Lawrence River and Georgian Bay. Now that we are located in BC I plan to take advantage of the plentiful sailing on the Pacific Coast.

A Sailor’s Workout

Guest Post by Lydia Di Francesco, Certified Personal Trainer with Fit + Healthy 365

As a sailor you’ve got a lot of pulling, lifting, moving, balancing and so on as you navigate your way around the boat. The tasks to keep the boat moving smoothly on the water require strength and agility.

When Sail Nelson’s owner and head instructor Penny asked me to design a workout specifically for sailors, I said yes right away. We talked about the type of movements sailors do on the boat so I could create a workout that developed the right type of strength for those moves.


Typical Sailing Tasks

Some of the tasks you typically do on a boat include tacking and gybing, hardening and easing the sheets, hoisting or dowsing the sails, and lugging around heavy sail bags, to name a few.

These tasks involve a lot of back strength, core strength, balance, coordination, and lower body strength.

Here’s the workout I designed to fit these movement patterns and strength needs.

The BEST Workout for Sailors

The workout is broken into 2 supersets of 3 exercises each. Complete each superset doing the exercises one after another. Rest of 30-45 seconds then repeat the superset for a total of 3 times. Move on the next superset following the same format.

Equipment: dumbbells, resistance band (such as these ones), or household objects like heavy bags or laundry containers

Superset 1

– lateral squat walk x 10 steps each way

– upright row x 10

– bodyweight shoulder press x 10

Superset 2

– deadlift to clean x 10

– 1 leg standing superman with row x 10 each side

– renegade row (beginner: no weight, intermediate+: dumbbells)

Want more workouts? This workout is a perfect example of the type of workouts that are part of my 15 Minute Workout Club. It’s a group coaching program where you get a monthly workout plan, access to all my 15 minute workout videos, bi-weekly group coaching calls, accountability and support, and a 1:1 consultation call. Enrollment is only open at limited times. Visit www.15minuteworkoutclub.com for all the details.

Have fun with the workout and happy sailing!

Coach Lydia


Lydia Di Francesco helps busy professional women get strong and fit through short, effective workouts so they can keep doing the fun things they love! She is the Founder of Fit + Healthy 365 and Creator of the 15 Minute Workout Club, her signature online fitness program. As a Certified Personal Trainer, Lydia educates clients and the public that healthy living doesn’t need to be complicated. She promotes simple, fun exercise and creating a healthy mindset with a long-term approach to wellness.

Lydia makes regular appearances as a Fitness Expert on CTV Ottawa Morning Live and Rogers Daytime Ottawa. She is also an international best selling author, a Huffington Post Contributor and has been published in the national health and fitness magazine OptiMyz.

Photo Credit: Kootenay Lake Sailing Association


New Year’s Resolutions?

Are you a New Year’s Resolution kind of person?

Well, I am not. I used to make New Year’s resolutions when I was younger, but as I have aged (like a fine wine I like to say!), I have realized that if something is worth doing, I need to get off my boat and do it! If you are someone who can set resolutions and stick to them, my hat is off to you!


I do think a new year, however, is a great time to reflect on what you accomplished the previous year and what goals you want to hit this year. 2017 turned out to be an exciting year for Sail Nelson as we really started to offer more courses in the Kootenays and we started our on-water sailing series. We taught over 100 people to be safer boaters in the Kootenay Region in 2017 and have reached hundreds of people around the world through our website, Facebook, Instagram and our blog. We are quite happy about this considering we are still figuring out what to offer, when and to whom! Clearly we are doing something right…


Sail Nelson has started to find it’s way in the Kootenay culture and has started to understand where we may fit in and how we can contribute to our community. We are working on many exciting community events for 2018 that we are really excited to share – watch Facebook for announcements!

The biggest addition to Sail Nelson in 2017 was our new boat Spindrift. We are so excited to have her out here on Kootenay Lake and we are looking forward to having her explore her new playground – a wee bit different from the salty Saint Lawrence! We are having fun getting to know her ins and outs.


If you make New Year’s resolutions good for you! If you are like me and you sit down and start writing up some goals, achievements or milestones, I hope your planning is going well! For those of you who do neither, enjoy the snow and see you at Whitewater!

Happy New Year from Sail Nelson and we hope 2018 brings great health, family, fun, and epic sailing!

Captain Penny


Feature photo courtesy of http://www.sailaustralia.com.au

20 Great Holiday Gift Ideas for Sailors

Guest blogger Melody provides her top 20 Holiday Gift ideas for sailors!

Knowing the perfect gift to give a sailor or boater can often be difficult for non-boaters. As a full-time cruiser and liveaboard, one of the biggest questions we got around the holidays or birthdays was, “What in the hell do we get you?”

Space on a boat is limited, so everything has to have a purpose, and even better if it has multiple uses!

So after 6 years of living and traveling on our sailboat, here’s a list of gifts for sailors that I think are practical and useful, and sometimes just plain fun. Feel free to share this with friends or family, or even use it to make your own “wish list” for the future.

I’ve used almost everything on this list (and if I haven’t, I’m clear about it). These are things that we’ve had and loved, and felt they were super useful, if not imperative, to have on a boat.

Handheld Depth Sounder

You don’t think you need one of these…until you do. Like the time when we ran aground right in the middle of a channel at mid-tide!

We weren’t sure which side had deeper water, and when another boater came by in a dinghy with his Vexilar hand-held depth sounder and told us where the good depth was, we swore we had to get one.


Dremel Tool Kit

I got my first Dremel as a gift from an old boyfriend. I think my reaction was, “A f%^&#n’ tool??”

At first, I thought he was a terrible gift-giver, then he explained what it could do, and said he thought it would help with my jewelry making. Ok, that’s sweet.

When Chris and I moved onto the boat, we kept mine (which was cordless) and got a corded version for when we needed a little more poop to party with.

I can’t tell you how many times our Dremels came in handy. We used it for everything from cutting stainless bolts to sanding wood in hard-to-get places, to filing the dog’s toenails. I even admit that I’ve used the sandpaper drums to give myself a pedicure! Smooth heels for the win! Seriously a must-have.


Portable USB Charger for Phone or iPad

I love these so much that I have 3 of them!

Seriously, they come in handy on and off a boat.

I can get 2+ full phone charges from a single charge on the charger. Great for when you’re sailing and don’t want to use the boat’s battery to charge your phone.  Use it to charge anything that has a USB charging cord.

You can stick it in your purse or drybag and bring along on shore excursions so you don’t run out of battery when you want to take that perfect photo!

Seriously, get a couple – you won’t regret it.


Online Classes by Udemy

Online classes are my absolute favorite way to learn new skills.

In fact, I’ve taken online classes to learn skills such as blogging, web design, social media marketing, writing, publishing, licensing music, getting publicity, starting an online business, and more!

And now, I use this bundle of skills to help me make money while we travel!

It’s never too soon (or too late) to develop new skills and learn new things. If you’re a sailor and have a dream of being able to work while you travel, online classes are hands down one of the best ways to get started.

And through December 8, 2017, Udemy is offering ALL CLASSES for just $15! Udemy has courses on just about anything you can imagine, so check them out and save up to hundreds of dollars if you enroll this week.


Yeti Mug

My friend Wanda had a Yeti mug and always had ice water inside. For the longest time, I never knew what made it soooo special until the time she had me drop her off at the Tampa airport using her car one hot summer day. She wanted me to drive her car while she was gone (and it was an adorable little sports car – sweet!).

She left her ice water in the console when she got out and the next day, I got in her car and I’ll be damned if the mug didn’t still have ice in it – after almost 24 hours of sitting inside a locked car in South Florida in August.

Boom. I was sold.


Sea to Summit Dry Bag

These come in several sizes. We have two of the 4L sizes (one red, one blue) and I love them so much!

I started carrying one of these instead of a real purse because I never had to worry about dropping it into the water and ruining all the contents inside. It floats, it keeps your phone, money, etc. dry, and comes in several colors.

Each of ours was given to us as a gift and honestly, we’ve probably used these more than just about anything else on the boat. Literally almost every day.

It says it’s not for heavy marine use, and I’ll admit that it’s not a super heavy-duty dry bag. The 4L is simply a small bag that holds and protects all of our essentials when traveling to shore by dinghy.


Deluxe Rigging Knife

This is one of those essential tools that is a must-have on a sailboat.

It has so many practical uses, and it’s one of those tools I like to call “insurance tools.” When shit hits the fan and you need that certain something to quickly cut or unknot, this is the tool you’re going to want to have.


Quick-Dry Microfiber Towels

I’m not gonna lie – these feel super weird when you use them to dry off, because it’s so different than what we’re used to.

But because of the microfiber, they are excellent for drying off yourself, the dog, a big spill, whatever. AND they dry really quickly.

You get used to the texture after a few times, and they’re super soft. Great for any kind of travel.

Be sure to look at the sizes and get a nice large size if you plan on using it for a bath towel.


Lunatec Self-Cleaning Quick-Dry Washcloths

Ok, at first I wasn’t completely sold on these, but I decided to try them anyway because I hate that mildew smell that regular washcloths get, even when you dry them well.

Now, it’s the only washcloth I use.

They come 2 to a package and actually feel really nice on your skin. They have a scrubby loofah-like feel that makes your skin really clean and soft.

I’ve had these for almost 2 years and there is ZERO smell, they dry within minutes, and you never have to wash them – just give them a good rinse in hot water after using and hang them to dry.



Kindle Paperwhite

I could go on and on about how much I love my Kindle.

No, it’s not as fun as turning the pages on an actual book, but on a boat, it’s a must-have if you enjoy reading.

Load it up with hundreds, even thousands of your favorite titles to keep you company while on a passage, or even just to read at the beach.

The Paperwhite version is great because there’s no glare, and no strain on your eyes. Almost (but not quite) like reading the real deal!


SeaView 180 GoPro Compatible Snorkel Mask

What I love about this mask is that you don’t have to hold the damn snorkel in your mouth and it allows you to remain hands-free while using your GoPro when snorkeling.

This full-face mask sits comfortably and gives you a much better view than a regular mask and snorkel. It’s also GoPro compatible which is really nice for those times when you want to capture the underwater magic.

I don’t have one, but they get great reviews. I definitely wish I would have had one when we were snorkeling in Belize!


GoPro Hero 5

Speaking of GoPro… We love our GoPro so much that we have two of them!

If you’re sailing and blogging or vlogging, it’s practically an essential part of your toolkit.

We’ve got amazing footage of dolphin, shark, and even a Goliath grouper that decided to camp out beneath our boat for a couple of days with the help of our GoPro.

Great for snorkeling and sailing footage to show off your amazing lifestyle!


Delorme Garmin InReach SE

As I write this, my husband is messaging me from Roatan, Honduras using our InReach so I can see where he is and know that all is well on the boat he’s helping deliver to Mexico.

The great thing about the InReach is that you can send and receive messages, get weather reports, and send location updates to friends and family who want to follow your sailing track. Not to mention the SOS feature that allows you to call the Coast Guard for help should the worst happen.

We pair ours with our iPad to make messaging easier (so you don’t have to scroll through and select each letter one at a time on the device).

It was a lifesaver in Cuba when we couldn’t get wifi to get weather updates, and offshore since we didn’t have radar. Definitely worth having on a boat.


Tower Inflatable Paddleboard

My absolute favorite boat toy. Not only is it easy to use as a beginner (never once have I fallen off mine), it’s also really well made – much better than I would have expected for an inflatable.

I used to have a blast taking our dog out for a ride (and he loved it, too!) It’s a super fun way to exercise. Here’s a video I posted a while back of me and my dog Jet paddleboarding around on the Chesapeake Bay.

The fact that you can deflate it and roll it up for storage makes it a perfect accessory for a sailboat of any size.


AeroPress Espresso and Coffee Maker

The AeroPress is smaller, more compact, and makes better coffee than a French Press in my humble opinion.

This baby never leaves our side. Seriously – if it were to ever fall overboard, we’d set our “man overboard” alarm and waypoint so we could go back and get it.

It makes a perfect cup of coffee and doesn’t over-extract the bean like a French Press can (the hot water and long duration of contact with a French Press causes a more acidic taste).

It’s the perfect coffee maker for a boat since it uses no power, and you can almost always get hot water somewhere.


Silicone Storage Covers

These silicone storage covers are perfect to have on hand when you need a cover for a random bowl or lose one of your tupperware tops. Which I still can’t figure out how that happens!

Easy to pack and store away, they’re super handy to have in the galley for when you don’t want to waste food.


Turkish Bath and Beach Towels

I love love love our Turkish bath and beach towels!

Not only are they so soft, they are super absorbent, they look pretty, and they have multiple uses. I’ve used mine as a bath towel, a beach towel, a sarong, a blanket, and have clipped them to the bimini to block the sun and provide some shade in the cockpit.

We love the bright colors and quality of the ones shown here.  They’re very plush.


Luci Inflatable Solar Light

If you don’t already own these, they are so handy to have on a boat.

They’re inflatable (so they take up very little room when deflated), solar-powered (so you don’t have to use your battery power to charge them), and they give off the perfect amount of light.

Keep ‘em on hand and hang them in the cockpit, on the shrouds, and even use it as an anchor light in a pinch (although I don’t recommend it for a permanent solution). We love Luci Lights!


Mantus Marine Snap-On Light

There are so many cool things about this light from Mantus.

It’s a great all-around light that has 4 different light settings. On the white light, it has both a dim and bright option. It also has a solid red and an SOS flashing red option for night or emergency use.

It can clip onto a rail or bimini frame, allowing you to move it wherever it best suits your needs. It has a USB charging port, so there are no batteries to replace. You can even charge it with the portable USB charger I mentioned earlier!

Last, but not least, it also acts as a charger for your phone! Yes, it has a port that you can plug your phone into to get a charge. Those ladies and gents at Mantus are crushing it with their innovative marine products.


Sharkbanz Magnetic Shark Repellent Bracelet

I’ll admit that I don’t have one of these, but I saw someone post about it recently in a Facebook group and I was intrigued.

As an avid snorkeler, one thing I was keen on while in Belize was being aware of my surroundings and what to do if I see a shark.

I love sharks, and understand how important they are to the ocean’s ecosystem, but since I’m not experienced in shark behavior, I don’t want to risk being in the water and doing the wrong thing, provoking an attack, or even causing stress to the shark.

I think having something like this would definitely be a safe way to feel more secure, although you should still always be aware of your surroundings any time you’re in the water.




Hey! I’m Melody, and I’m obsessed with helping people learn to make money online, giving them the freedom to live on a boat and travel the world!

See Melody’s site at http://savingtosail.com/