Jonalyn's Watercolor Blog

A New Adventure Sailing the World

Nubble Lighthouse Reflections watercolor painting with white lighthouse, blue water reflecting sky.
Nubble Lighthouse Reflections 16 x 20″, original watercolor by Jonalyn Fincher

The last five years, from the Rockies to the Atlantic Ocean, our family has inched closer to the water.

In a few months, we will be living off the coast of South Africa, on our catamaran “Lady Grey”. So many normal things are about to change, but some things will remain the same.

Sailing Dreams

A tiny boat viewed from a mountain top, sailing on a lake
Sailing our Norseboat on Stagecoach Reservoir, near Steamboat Springs, CO

The first time I stepped foot on a sailboat, I was 17. My friend, Nancy, towed me along to enjoy her parent’s sailboat.

Sitting on the deck, I soaked in that sparkling water. How simple, and even humble, to tow a boat from a driveway in La Mirada through Orange County traffic to suddenly be free in these open lanes of water. No sound but the wind and the waves.

Sailboat on a sandy shore with mountains in distance and family gathered around boat.
Beaching our Norseboat on an island at Lake Dillon, Frisco, CO. Our boys, Dale and Lady Victoria play on shore.

Over 10 years later, Dale and I moved to the landlocked world of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Nevertheless, we still searched out a 17’ Norseboat, to sail the rocky mountain lakes. Five years later, we set our sights on a family catamaran for full time cruising.

Along the way, we left our friends in Colorado, our home in White Woods, our Christian non-profit and careers writing and speaking. We will have moved four times since our Colorado years before we fly to South Africa this summer.

We homeschooled our boys for five years in anticipation. We tried van life for five years in preparation. We took classes at home and on the ocean. We moved east towards the ocean. We rented, bought and sold, only to rent again.

Our (Tentative) Plans

Our boat is supposed to splash down in June. Soon after, we will board our customized catamaran “Lady Grey” and then… the world.

You can trace our route (subject to weather) as we plot our tentative plan. We will live in Cape Town, South Africa for several months, learning the systems and practicing coastal cruising. Come October, we will wait for a good weather-window to cross the Atlantic. We will take the Namibia—St. Helena—Brazil route, then up to the Caribbean. Time to put our boys’ new scuba-diving skills to the test.

90% of our time will be spent at anchor, not in the middle of an ocean. So when you visualize us out there on the water, imagine land, too. Imagine us exploring lighthouses like feature image of Nubble Lighthouse in Maine.

Having community and friends cheering us, meeting us at ports, will mean the world to us as we try to explore the world. We won’t have a car, so an offer to meet us and bring groceries will be most welcome.

My 95-year-old grandmother asks me regularly, “Do you want to go sailing?” I get it, she’s afraid for me, she wants to be sure I’m choosing this life. I can offer these four principles that I’ve gathered. Each one settles me into this dream.

  1. We are not alone. We can hire a captain to cross oceans. Buddy boars or rallies means we can sail for thousands of miles in the company of others.
  2. We will be online at all times for weather and communication. You will even be able to track our route. Because of good weather models and Starlink, we can always wait for the right weather window.
  3. The Good Shepherd goes before us, always.
  4. I will get to paint and show our boys the world.

Staying the Same

A couple sailing a monorail
Sailing classes with Dale and Captain Ed near Newport, RH.

We will be toting a stripped-down art studio and our recording equipment. We plan to document our journey to share with you on social and this blog. So I will continue to paint and take custom orders. My online shop will remain open with my land crew shipping out painting orders and commissions.

Dale and I will continue our podcast “Back Porch Conversations”. We will “boat-school” the boys. Ollie will continue his harp, Finn his 3-D modeling. And Dale will still be teaching others how to teach their kids the Bible.

And while we hope to sail for two-five years on this adventure, we do plan to return home. When we say goodbye to the sea, I know we will have changed. I imagine I will see my family as team members in ways we cannot, yet. Finn will be 18, Ollie will be 14.  I look forward to the people we will become.

Want More?

Hear the “Whys” behind sailing at our episode “Why Live on a Sailboat?  Hear the longer story behind leaving Christian ministry for full-time sailing in the episode “Two Big Announcements”.

New Paintings

For Spring, I’m pleased to offer this collection of four flowers. You may recognize this series from my Flowers 2 Card Collection.

Pro tip: I can see all four flower watercolors framed and hung as tiles in a group of four (four across or 2 x 2). They would make a fine entry or above-the-couch centerpiece. Click an image to see their size and price in my Shop.

Did you know you can ask for my guidance through my Shop. Have a particular occasion or celebration you’d like to honor with a painting? Simply contact me and I’ll guide you with a personal email.

A watercolor painting of three yellow daffodils.

Watercolor of three sweet peas in pink, blue and white.

Three red tulips painted in watercolors

Bird of Paradise watercolor painting


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You might also enjoy...

A Tale of Two Grandmas

Mama Grace’s kitchen was alive.

I visited last February and still found food soaking, drying, ripening in her kitchen. Under that paper towel were mung beans sprouting, her fridge was full of food I couldn’t recognize.

Painting Outside: Why Do it? a real life plein air story

Warm enough to paint outside, I packed early for Seabrook, New Hampshire. Near the border of Massachusetts, Seabrook is renown for roughness. The half block deserted beach held several tantalizing lobster boats close to shore.

"Beauty from Prickles" - Cactus with yellow bloom
Who Tells Your Story?

We can all remember certain stories that define us. When you think of your favorites stories growing up, were any about you?

Who told your stories?

Subscribe to Jonalyn’s blog

We respect your privacy.