Aboard Astraea

Invest in experiences, not things


Nate, the Skipper, originally from Loganville, PA

Hi there, we’re Nate and Natalie and this is our story. We met in 2004 after Nate joined the Navy and was going to school at Villa Julie College near Baltimore, MD. Natalie was attending the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in psychology. We tried a long distance relationship and made it work! After dating for a year, Nate went off to boot camp and Navy schools near Chicago and the long distance relationship continued. Then Nate got transferred to another Navy school in Virginia Beach. A few months later, Natalie graduated college and moved in to her Uncle Tim and Aunt Martha’s attic in Norfolk, VA and we got engaged. We took a dinghy sailing class that threatened to end our relationship. Natalie said she needed a much bigger boat!  Not long after that Nate got orders to his first ship in Japan so we hurried up and tied the knot one morning at the courthouse in Virginia Beach.

Natalie, 1st Mate, calls Pittsburgh, PA her hometown

In 2006 we made our first home together in a small apartment in Sasebo, Japan. Natalie taught conversational English to Japanese Kindergartners and adults and Nate was stationed on USS Juneau and USS Denver. To keep herself from getting lonely while Nate was out to sea, Natalie adopted a cute little Japanese puppy. She named him Kokusai which we later found out means “international” in Japanese. Living in Japan, we loved being in a new different place and travelled all over the country with side trips to Thailand, South Korea, Australia and Okinawa. When we were visiting Okinawa we rented a 25′ sail boat and it was a blast – smooth, easy sailing. We decided that it would be cool to use a boat as a home base for travel and new experiences.

In the summer of 2009 Nate was transferred to USS Momsen and that meant packing up everything we owned and moving to Everett, WA. There we bought our first boat, Airborne, a 1973 Catalina 27. We sailed her all around Puget Sound and made great friends with the folks in Milltown Sailing Association. The best part was a two week sailing adventure that took us all the way to Victoria, Canada. We decided to buy a new boat and live aboard and use it as a way to get out of the ordinary.

Sully looking super cute!

Sully, ship’s baby.

Nate spent 3 years on shore duty stationed in sunny San Diego, CA where we lived aboard and prepared Astraea for cruising. We’re just trying to have fun and live life to the fullest. In June 2012 we welcomed Sullivan aboard.

2006: Weekend Dinghy Sailing Class in Norfolk, VA

2009: Sailing Catalina 25 in Okinawa, Japan

Fall 2009: Purchased Airborne and began racing and cruising with Milltown Sailing Association in Everett, WA

Summer 2011: 2 weeks cruising the San Juan Islands. Motoring and sailing. Worst weather encountered was 4-6 ft wind waves close together in the straits of Juan de Fuca

Summer 2011: Race around the Coronado Islands in San Diego, CA aboard Hakuna Matata, a Catalina 30. 29 continuous miles under sail power alone, our longest continuous sail to date

February 2012: Purchased S/V Astraea, a 1981 Cheoy Lee 41 Ketch

May 2012: First sail aboard Astraea

September 2012: Week sailing trip to Catalina Island. 250 miles round trip. Two overnight passages under sail and power.

December 2012: Astraea has 450 miles under her keel under our ownership

September 2014: Astraea has 1000 miles under her keel

November 2014: Cut the dock lines and went cruising

December 2014: Astraea has 2000 miles under her keel



  1. craziness! i was at hartge last monday looking at the tayana 37 “vacilando”, which is in one of your photos! i loved the boat, but she’s been on the hard for at least four years and needs lots of work, plus would be a little too tight as a liveaboard. as it turns out, my friend alan in nyc wants to sell his cheoy lee 41, and that’s how i came across your blog. i saw your boat in the slings when i was there! congrats! i’ve been scouring the web for info on these boats, but there’s not a ton out there. do they suffer from the usual leaky deck syndrome? anything else to watch for? obviously you wouldn’t have bought the boat if you didn’t think it was a good liveaboard, but i’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. is that double berth big enough for my 6ft tall girlfriend and i? could the bunks in the forepeak be removed to turn that area into a large hanging locker or office? again, congratulations!

    • Jim, thanks for reading and messaging.
      Do they suffer from the usual leaky deck syndrome? We’ve only had the boat for a few days, but from our initial inspection the decks don’t leak if the caulk is kept up with. We have a leak above the aft bulkhead on the port quarterberths, but it looks like it’s just because the caulk got away and there was water in there freezing and thawing, then dripping down. We’ll remove the headliner and rebed portlights and windows in our fight against water damage, then recaulk the decks.
      Obviously you wouldn’t have bought the boat if you didn’t think it was a good liveaboard, but i’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Natalie and I love the boat for a liveaboard because it met our criteria, ample convenient storage in the galley and master stateroom. Also a separate cabin for children and guests. Additional benefits are the 2 at sea quarterberths by the Nav station for passagemaking.
      I’m 5’11” and can comfortably fit in each berth.
      Could the bunks in the forepeak be removed to turn that area into a large hanging locker or office? Changing the interior layout is possible, but it will come with considerable expense. I plan on using the Nav station as a laptop/printer/camera spot. There’s a small hanging locker in the V-berth with some storage. One Cheoy Lee Offshore 41 we saw in Santa Barbara had the top bunk in the V-Berth on hinges so it could swing up and out of the way.

  2. I was talking with Kim Herman yesterday (my granddaughter and Beda are classmates), when she mentioned your crazy idea of sailing out under the GGB and turning left. She was looking at the helicopter photo on our wall of us in our 43-ft “Aztec” departing San Diego in the ’06 Baja Ha Ha. (Began in San Francisco)
    I thought it might be interesting to contact you to let you know that if you have questions on the road ahead that are not answered in the many blogs now available, we would be happy to give you our input. Since we left with the Ha-Ha, we don’t know very much about the ‘outside’ of the Baja Peninsula, however. Paperwork may also have changed a bit after last year’s boat siezure thing. We missed all that because Aztec, after many years in Mexico, is now in El Salvador.
    I hope to hear from you, and urge you always to remember that if you want to hear God laugh, especially on a sailboat, make plans.

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