Wednesday 23rd June 2021
Meet an X-Sailor
A series of interviews, setting focus on the X-Sailor and the yachts behind them.
In 2012, Lee and Andrew Boller picked up their X-65, Katherine at the X-Yachts yard in Haderslev for the first time. Since then, many nautical miles have passed. We have asked the X-65 owners some questions about their lifestyle at sea.
Who are you personally – as a couple and in your working lives?
We first met in 1985 and have been working and travelling side by side ever since. Lee spent her life growing up far from the sea whilst Andrew lived on the coast with the opportunity for some windsurfing. We were both travelling and working solo when we met in the center of Australia far from any water. For the next 15 years we lived inland and had minimal contact with the ocean. Not long after meeting we started a business together, and as it grew it became necessary to move from remote outback Australia to the coastal town of Darwin. This is where the sailing passion first grew as a family endeavor. For Lee it was a challenge until in 2006 when we took ownership of our first X Yacht, an X-412. This was the start of our love affair with X Boats. An X-50 in 2008 followed and then Katherine, our X-65 “fast apartment” was launched in 2012.
What was your intended plan for this boat?
Our plan has always been to sail throughout the world not necessarily around the world. A short stay in the Caribbean in our first year quickly reinforced that it was not sun and sand we sort but to experience different places, the people, the food, the history. After around nearly 35000nm we have managed to cover only The Baltic, 70 degrees North in Norway, around the UK, Ireland The Atlantic Coastline to the Mediterranean and only as far East as the Ionian Islands. Still calling is the Adriatic, Greece, and Turkey. Then perhaps we will turn East for a run to the Pacific. But this is sailing, and exactly like life, plans change.
What has it been like to explore the world by boat and without a homeport?
We always say arriving by boat is like arriving through the back door, you can experience the real life of a town or city not experienced by those who arrive by more conventional means and head straight for the tourist center hotel. We have maneuvered Katherine into some challenging places flying the Australian flag and always found ourselves to be welcomed. People have opened their homes, shared meals, and local experiences with us, and some have become friends for life. “No homeport” can be a challenge for parts and repairs but with the support of local contacts and assistance from the X-Yachts team, a solution is always found.
How is your work balance like, when using the boat as a home for longer periods?
We decided many years ago after a heavy focus on business and work that it was time to change gears, you never stop working but we have tried to adjust the balance and to make travel and exploration a priority. Over the last 10 years we have travelled 80% of our time while working as needed on the go. Katherine is set up for us to work remotely, and the efficiency with which we can work has improved greatly since we launched thanks to improvements and access to technology.
Would you recommend others to rethink their working life, and start this lifestyle?
“Life is not a rehearsal’ is the mantra that we carry. Find the balance. For us, the perfect balance would be 8 months on 4 months off back in Australia. Communications allow you to work remotely, keep in touch with family and friends. It’s intimidating to commit but once onboard you quickly learn that there is so much to discover and so many amazing people out there to meet.
In which direction does the wind blow your X-65 in 2021 and future on?
Like so many people Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our sailing plans. For now, our biggest challenge is to be able to return to the boat in Ragusa Sicily. We hope to move Katherine this year to the X-Yacht Service base in Greece where she will be put on a hardstand awaiting our return. Eventually when the time is right, we will be back onboard, and the wind will be in her sails once more and we will continue to explore.
What has been your best X-Moment so far?
How does one pick a best moment? Sailing into St. Petersburg Harbour when the boat was just 6 weeks old. Sailing to Lofoten and seeing a pod of Orcas surfacing around our Rib or to St Kilda west of the Outer Hebrides and seeing a sea of Puffins, or the perfect overnight sail from Sardinia to Rome 12 hours upwind set and forget, flat seas. Then there are the sunsets, the anchorages and did we mention the food, friendships, and sights?
Simply life onboard brings never ending magic moments. That is why you go sailing. It is not always champagne sailing but when you’re safe on anchor, the champagne certainly tastes good.
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