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Cruising with the Copelands

In 1973, author Liza Viner-Brady married Andy Copeland aboard the famous classic yacht Ticonderoga in Martinique, FWI, and spent an unusual honeymoon crossing the Atlantic on the Fife-built Eileen. Sailing had been a part of Liza’s life since she was a child in the UK where she competed in several world championships and ocean races. Andy is also a lifelong sailor so it was only natural that they would meet while racing – at the Sunfish World Championships in Venezuela. 

“Although we have cruised the world, we love the Caribbean.  Our favorite port will always be English Harbour, Antigua, not only because it is a spectacular anchorage, but because we have so much history there. Andy, one of a group that founded Antigua Race Week, arrived in 1966 to build Antigua Slipway, so we have a large network of friends from the first days of chartering in the Caribbean,” says Liza. 

With their three sons they have sailed over 160,000 miles together, engaging in racing, cruising, running charter boats, running rallies, completing ocean deliveries and circumnavigating the globe with their family. Two books came from this six-year voyage “Just Cruising – A Family Travels the World from Europe to Australia” and “Still Cruising – Australia to Asia, Africa and America.”  Liza’s narrative and guide from a subsequent adventure when they left from the Pacific Northwest, traveling south, through the Panama Canal to explore Central America and up the N. American east coast to Maine & Nova Scotia, is “Comfortable Cruising – Around North and Central America.”  This time the boys came on visits on college vacations rather than living full-time aboard.

In 2001, Bagheera (from Kipling’s Jungle Book), their 38’ Beneteau, sailed to Spain and cruised the Mediterranean to the Black Sea for four summers.   “The Med. lived up to its reputation of too little or too much wind. One of our typical crazy days was in Greece. We had 2 hours of total calm then suddenly winds of 45 knots came out of nowhere,” Liza recalls. They loved ‘off the beaten track’ cruising down the Moroccan coast to the Canary Islands, Cape Verdes, with further forays in West African Senegal, up the Gambia River and in the mostly uncharted islands of Guinea Bissau. They crossed the South Atlantic to Jacare, Brazil.  

“With Brazilian friends on board we enjoyed the north coast of Brazil, not a cruiser friendly shore. We left Marajo Island, in the Amazon delta, and were sucked up river by the strong current on the flood. It took two days to escape from the Amazon’s clutches and it was very frustrating and a little scary not being able to motor-sail away.  However, that was followed by some of our best sailing ever, six days of 200+-mile daily runs to Tobago with perfect 15-knot trade winds aft of the beam and 2-4 knots of current helping us along – what a delight.” 

“The French islands have the best bargains for wine, Camembert cheese and inexpensive synthetic engine oil, which we prefer.  We really talk to people for local information and haven’t had any problems, but safety is always a priority. For us cruising is an adventure—and the more research you do, the better experiences you will have.  Cruising with children is really rewarding as you do so much more – they get totally involved in the cultures and wild life, so you have special experiences because of their interests and the people they meet and make the most of your time.”

“Cruising for Cowards – an A-Z of Offshore Strategies, Boats and Equipment” is a compilation of 35 years of cruising knowledge.  Having cruised well over 100,000 miles in Bagheera, Tobago, visited in March 2006, was their 106th country. Liza gives seminars on cruising at major boat shows and writes for many magazines. When not cruising, Liza and Andy make their home in Vancouver, British Colombia.  www.aboutcruising.com.

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