On Sunday, Sept. 15 at noon, the yacht Diva slipped her dock lines and departed Hodgdon Yacht Services on the first leg of her voyage around the world.
She has called Southport home since 2014 when her owners, Chris Ware and Jenn King, brought her to the yard for a new keel. “We always knew we’d be here for a few years … there were so many projects that needed to be done,” said King. “But we’re finally on our way.”
The Massachusetts couple found Diva, a Deerfoot 2-62’, in 2012 in Fort Lauderdale. They bought her knowing the keel needed replacing and, when they heard that the Southport yard had undertaken just such a project on an identical hull, they knew they had to make the trip north. In the years since, they have had just about everything on the yacht replaced or completely overhauled.
“Hodgdon Yacht Services has been wonderful,” said King.
“The quality of their work is great,” Ware said. “And the people really care about what they’re doing.”
Although both Ware and King have sailed for many years, they’ve only owned boats under 22 feet. Diva is 62 feet long. When they decided to act on their dream to sail around the world, they determined to get a boat suitable for the job.
“My motto has always been ‘Go big or go home’,” said King.
“We started looking for yachts around 45 feet,” said Ware, who is 6’4”. “But some boats I wouldn’t be able to get into the engine room, or stand up anywhere in the cabin. There are advantages to being 6’4” but there are also disadvantages. I’ve been on two-week cruises when I’d have to kneel down to do the dishes … I can kneel for two weeks. I can’t kneel for three years!”
Over the past five years, as HYS has tackled the many projects to fit Diva for her circumnavigation, Ware and King have continued to work. But they both stopped this spring. They have rented out their house in Manchester-by-the-Sea, sold the cars and taken every class they could think of, from sailmaking to diesel-engine repair, celestial navigation, standard navigation, emergency medicine training, weather courses, generator school, riggers school, and more. They’ve been prepping for the trip since 2010 and feel as ready as they could be.
They’re looking forward with excitement and, after all the hustle and bustle of the yard, are ready for the peace and quiet of being on their own at sea. “Getting ready has been a great experience, but we’re excited to be leaving,” said King.
What are they most looking forward to?
“The Galapagos, crossing the Equator,” said King.
“Getting some sleep!” Ware said. “And being warm!”