I remember well the first time I heard “Stali” play music, settled over his keyboard, in the restaurant at Bahia Redonda Marina. Blues with a distinct New Orleans style wailed out onto the dance floor. Everyone went wild. Little did I know then that Stalimir Popovich, a native of the Czech Republic, citizen of the United States and 12-year cruiser, was a master at nanotechnology with several patents in electronics under his belt. Stali is a true example of how someone talented, well educated and willing to work can finance a family and worldwide cruising lifestyle, while living on board.
“I was an engineer and research & development consultant to various corporations in California where I had completed several patents in electronics and nanotechnology. This provided the financial opportunity and time for global sailing. I left with my wife Karen, a former computer technician, 12 years ago, on our Cal 39 Dagmar, and sailed through the Panama Canal to Florida, the Azores, Portugal and the Mediterranean for several years.
“We spent almost a year in Turkey and Greece before returning to California where I connected with old friends from my scientific community; this allowed me the opportunity to begin composing technical and scientific evaluations aboard. For the past decade I have been writing and presenting assessments, as well as patenting my ideas in nanotechnology, for businesses.
“My scientific partners and associates test my ideas without hesitation, because they know that I am just a sailor without any geopolitical agendas and corporate patent issues. I receive assistance from the governments and scientific institutions of Russia, the UK and the Czech Republic without hesitance and at minimal cost. This works well for me; Karen and I are now sailing throughout the Caribbean with our eight year old daughter, Kiela, whom we home-school.
“Science and sailing both involve the art of discovery thus complimenting each other. Pleasure sailing approaches these concerns without corporate politics, deadlines or schedules. When working aboard I have to discipline myself into an unconventional sequence of thinking and decision making. It is difficult to verify the data needed for laboratories and testing aboard, but I always resolve it in a co-working relationship with my associates who are employed in various scientific institutions and universities around the globe.
“I totally enjoy sailing and its related thinking, values and lifestyle and would never consider giving up this freedom and adventure to return to the corporate world.”
Stali is also a classical pianist having taken his musical training in Prague. “I play classical, jazz, blues and rock – many times with bands. I recorded in San Francisco, Hollywood, London and Prague and still play, from time to time, with sailors. Acoustical wave lengths analysis and synthesis provide me with a bit of unconventional thinking, especially when fused with scientific and technical aspects, under the umbrella of sailing.
“Last year we sailed to Venezuela from Panama via Columbia and the Dutch Antilles – against wind and currents. We have struggled through weather windows, as all sailors do, but are now enjoying the peace and quiet of Venezuelan waters. Our future plans include sailing back to Florida in May and around Eastern seaboard; then perhaps in a year or so we will cruise the Mediterranean again.”
Stali’s lifestyle should certainly inspire corporate executives and professionals interested in cruising to follow their dreams, creating an alternate way of life. This change in routine does not only provide healthy and happy benefits, away from the stress of the marketplace, but can bestow other cruisers with the advantage of your talents and experience.