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Sailing Story: Todd Ferderer

a group of people on a boatTodd Ferderer grew up in the landlocked state of North Dakota without much thought about sailing.  

“I was never really introduced to sailing of any sort,” he said. “But boating— yes!”

However, when he moved to Los Angeles in 1997 “with a love of water and warm weather” he  did eventually find his introduction to the sport that would become his retirement dream. 

“A friend of my wife got sailing certifications in the BVIs and asked if wanted to go sailing with him on his first time bareboating,” Todd explained. “I immediately fell in love with the quietness, the getting away from the craziness of the world.”

Todd was surprised at how quickly he became hooked on sailing. 

“It was the first time [my wife and I] both felt like we could relax,” he said. “I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did.”

As the years passed by, Todd continued to enjoy accompanying friends on their sailboats but it wasn’t until he was rounding the corner to his 50th birthday that he considered becoming a certified sailor himself.  

“Two years ago I started thinking, why don’t I start pursuing my sailing certification as I get closer to retirement,” he explained.  “For my 50th birthday my wife suggested I go down to the Virgin Islands to get my certification, similar to how my friend did.”

He began to research schools and decided on Go Sail Virgin Islands because of the weeklong Learn to Sail courses offered. 

“They offered the unique week of training so I selected them as the school I wanted to go to,” he said. “That’s kind of where the adventure started.”

This past April, Todd made the trip down to the U.S. Virgin Islands. While he was excited for the course, he grew a bit concerned when he realized the trip was not going to be all sunny skies.

“The weather there is almost always perfect but while we were there we had rain and large swells,” he explained. 

However, Todd quickly realized the rainy weather and stormy skies were exactly what he wanted out of his trip!

“It was a great experience to have that kind of training under my belt,” he laughed. 

While the skies may have been gloomy, the trip (which you can read more about here) was anything but. The crew celebrated three birthdays on the weeklong sailing trip, including his own, and the new sailors became fast friends. 

“It was nice to meet new people from other backgrounds in sailing, as well as parts of the country, and learn from them as well since it’s an interactive sport,” Todd said. “It was great to have that ability to bounce things off of people and learn from each other.”

Todd said that celebrating their birthdays together made the trip “extra special,” especially when Captain Trevon surprised them with a unique dinner adventure from a local restaurant, Pizza Pi.

“Ordering of pizza right out of a boat,” Todd explained. “That was such a cool experience he provided!” 

Now home, Todd spends much of his time daydreaming about getting back in the water. “I live in Santa Monica and I look out and see the sailboats every day and it drives me kinda crazy,” he laughed. “It pushes me because I think , ‘I got to get out there, I got to get out there!’”

In the next 5 years, Todd is planning to retire and he knows sailing will absolutely be a part of his post-retirement plans. “It’d be nice to get a few more friends to be a part of it and my hope is that we’ll have a few family members join us,” he said about his future sailing plans with his wife. “ I want to experience more time [sailing] than just a vacation.”