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Sailing Story: Rocky Seelbach and Dana Hallin

High school brought Rocky and Dana together when they were young. However, sailing became a major factor in bringing them back together 44 years later. 

graphical user interface“We went on a hike and he pointed down to Lake Pend Oreille Lake,” Dana said about their first time meeting up in Idaho after all those years. 

“I have a boat,” she remembers him saying.

“A boat?!” she exclaimed.

“Ya, a sailboat,” Rocky said.

“A sailboat?!” Dana could barely hide her enthusiasm. She had just joined a Meetup group in Coeur D’alene for sailors. This seemed serendipitous. 

On their next date, Rocky took Dana out for a camping trip on his “well loved” Cal 2-27 sailboat named “Misadventure.”

“I thought I died and went to heaven,” Dana laughed. “I was hooked— on the boat and the man!” For Dana, the connection she formed to nature on that sailboat trip was life changing as well. 

“I have never forgotten that moment. I have never forgotten that sky,” she said.  At that moment, Rocky realized he had found someone very special to share his love of sail boating with. 

“The rest of the summer we were watching Saturn chase Jupiter across the sky,” Rocky explained. “I’d never really had a partner [to sail with]. It’s so much more fun to sail with someone else.”

While Dana loved being on the boat, she also quickly realized she wanted to play a more active role in their sailing adventures. “It was new to me to be on a sailboat under my control. I was always a guest,” she explained. “I wasn’t a participant.” However, that would quickly change as the couple first decided to take ASA 101 in Hawaii, then ASA 103 in Seattle, and finally, ASA 104 in the U.S. Virgin Islands with Captain Genevieve.

“When I got on that boat with Genevieve she just lit me up!” Dana said. “She just gave me such confidence.” Dana explained that previously, most of her sailing experience had been with men.

“I was a little intimidated by all of that,” Dana explained.”[But Captain Genevieve was] giving me confidence to make decisions to be at the helm and say ‘this is what we are doing’ — I’d never had that!” Rocky was also impressed by Genevieve’s calm demeanor, especially when they encountered situations he had never run into before. 

“We had some problems where we had to act and she was right in there. I gained a lot of confidence from her class,” Rocky said. “It was still so comfortable. She is very self-assured.” Confident and skilled, the couple felt ready to begin their next adventure. Their hope was to find a boat in the Caribbean and continue exploring the Virgin Islands, a place they had fallen in love with during their trip.  

“All of the little places we poked into were so pretty and the sailing itself was really full featured,” Rocky explained. However, the boat they stumbled upon and wanted to buy, was nowhere near the Virgin Islands. 

“Dana is looking at listings and she found a boat that seemed too good to be true,” Rocky said. “So guess what— we went to Acapulco [Mexico]!”

“Where the state department says not to go,” Dana added, laughing.  The couple found themselves in Acapulco, buying their new boat—an Oceanis 37  named ‘Audeamus.’

“We didn’t name it. It came to us that way but we love the name,” Rocky explained of the name, meaning ‘let us dare’ in latin. And dare they will! Rocky and Dana plan to explore the Sea of Cortez and eventually, sail the boat up to Marina del Rey in California.  

“So many people decide that they are going to sit in front of the tube the rest of their life or play golf [when they retire],” Dana laughed. “And we decided we are going to travel the world! Genevieve helped us do that.” 

While Dana realizes the adventure might be slightly different than if they had started sailing at a younger age, to her, that makes it no less fun. “If we had started this in our 40s we’d be crossing oceans,” Dana said. “We started this later in our lives— but we are having the time of our lives!” 

“This is the go-go sixties for us!” Rocky laughed.