Jon and Sue Hacking live aboard their Wauquiez Kronos 45 catamaran Ocelot. Sue is from rural Pennsylvania and had her first sailing adventure in the Eastern Caribbean when she was 13 years old.
Jon was born in England to British/African parents who moved to the U.S. when he was 2 years old. He grew up in northern California, got a degree in electrical engineering/computer science, and followed the family tradition of traveling. Jon met Sue in 1975 when he had just returned from a year in Africa and she had returned from three months in the Himalayas. They married in 1979 and took off on an extended one-year honeymoon to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Nepal and greater Southern Africa. They stumbled upon a sailing opportunity in Cape Town, and signed onto a steel Roberts 53 for a three-month voyage from Cape Town to the Caribbean.
After they arrived in St. Lucia, they bought Oriental Lady, a 40-foot Piver AA trimaran, and went voyaging. Sue and Jon sailed the Eastern Caribbean for six years, including two after their son was born in Martinique. They returned to San Diego in 1988, where they sold the boat on the same day they learned they had a baby girl on the way.
For 12 years they lived in Redmond, Wash., before buying their Wauquiez Kronos catamaran to go voyaging again in December 2001. They sailed to Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, crossed the Indian Ocean via Sri Lanka, the Maldives, the Chagos (the last three-month permit), Seychelles, Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa.
Sue and Jon sailed back across the Indian Ocean to Malaysia in 2009. In the intervening years, they have done a two-and-a-halfyear refit in Phuket, trekked in Himalayan Nepal three times, sailed to India and back, circumnavigated Indonesia three times, joined rallies in Borneo and Indonesia, and have voyaged east to the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. Ocelot and her intrepid crew of two are now in the Philippines.
Their website (1,000plus pages, and NOT a blog) is at svOcelot.com or HackingFamily.com.
OV: What are the top skills voyagers need to know?
J&SH: Reading weather, both the weather charts (usually gribs out here) and the sky. We’re very weather driven, and we try hard to minimize weather problems on passage, from initial planning to dodging squalls and other weather systems that materialize.
Understanding the basic workings of your boat, from sail handling to engines, is critical. Basic seamanship — especially navigation — is essential. It’s important for both partners (assuming couple-only cruising) to be able to handle all facets of sailing your boat. If one person becomes incapacitated, their life is in the other’s hands.
Standing watch, really watching, both day and night is still a crucial skill. Know what to look for: squalls, squall lines, rips, ships, fishing boats, fishing nets, fish traps and FADs. We’ve known boats with plenty of watch standers, but they were all down below watching a movie when the boat went up on a reef and was lost. We’ve also known boats that were lost because the crew depended too much on their electronic charts, and the boat went up on a reef and was lost.
Understanding lights on ships and tugs with tows, and knowing how to use the radar when those ships don’t have AIS. Sailing at night can be confusing when other boats are around, especially inshore with background lights.
OV: What is your planning routine prior to a voyage?
J&SH: Mostly it involves weather. Our first consideration is the season, as we much prefer to go with (or across) the wind. We use Pilot Charts and cruising guides for this.
Where will we be at the change of season? Will we return, anchor up for months, cruise locally, haul out or put the boat in a marina and travel ashore?
Having figured out the “big scene,” we go into more detail: Where will we stop along the way? What can we learn about the anchorages? What do we want to see and/or do? We peruse the cruising guides, travel guides, blogs and websites. When possible, we talk to other cruisers who have been this route.
We have also found that it’s quite enjoyable to cruise with like-minded cruisers, so sometimes we’ll put a plan together and then see if others want to accompany us. This worked very well for our 2019 trip over the top of Papua New Guinea and into the Solomon Islands, where all four boats in our flotilla needed help from the other boats at times.
OV: What is the most valuable skill you picked up while voyaging?
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Doing it all with one screen
The steering station on this Gunboat cat is equipped with large-screen B&G Zeus MFDs.
Don't scrimp when it comes to the crimp
Solid crimp connections make your power voyager’s electrical system more reliable.
Maritime Publishing acquires Ocean Navigator
The oral surgeon's masterpiece
Carastee was a L. Francis Herreshoff design similar to this Herreshoff ketch with its graceful sheer.
Protecting your boat from overcharging
A properly set up system can prevent damage to electrical components possible with LiFePO4 batteries
No. 18665 is the first to go
In the phase out of paper charts, the NOAA chart of Lake Tahoe will be the first to disappear.
Two dismastings dodged
Mast and rigging problems bedevil a Pacific voyager in harbor and at sea
Light in a pinch
In emergency lighting situations, more light is always better
Terra Nova and Scott of the Antarctic
The barque Terra Nova was specially reinforced for working in polar sea ice
Snagged anchors and empty gas bottles
Mishaps on a mid-Med adventure
THE KRIS-ENING OF RAYA AND THE RUSSIAN RAID
When you think about society’s need for Asian female heroes who can influence Asian-American women of all ages to stand up for themselves and fight for justice in their communities, Raya and the Last Dragon could not have come at a better time.
More Mayhem, Please!
I bought back the General Mayhem ’68 Dodge Charger! If you’ve watched my Roadkill show (on MotorTrend cable TV or on the MotorTrend app), then you know why this is a big deal to me. Not only did I get my hands back on one of today’s most unaffordable body styles, but also on a car that meant a lot to my career and that provided some of the best days ever on the show. Here’s the story
THE MANY FACES OF MORIARTY
By 1893, Arthur Conan Doyle was a worldwide literary sensation. But he was also a man dogged by an unlikely enemy, and that enemy’s name was Sherlock Holmes. Frankenstein-like, the fictional detective haunted his creator, tormenting him, and would not leave him alone. For it must be said that Conan Doyle was a man of high literary aspirations, with a yearning to write books of both “serious” literature and psychical research. But the demand for new Holmes stories prevented him from realising this ambition. Speaking of this period in his career, Conan Doyle observed in an interview for Tit-Bits in December 1900 that “My low work was obscuring my higher.”
STEPHEN MACK JONES
If the meaning of life is a puzzle awaiting assembly, then writers are purveyors of its pieces.
Elvis Reenters The Building
In rural Ohio, a performer bookends a year of struggle and survival.
Can America’s problems be fixed by a president who loves Jon Meacham?
PLAYTIME, DREAMY WORLD AND TREASURES
DRONE OPERATORS CHALLENGE SURVEYORS' TURF IN MAPPING DISPUTE
When Michael Jones started a side hustle shooting drone photos and videos for realtors, his clients wanted more: Images with property lines on them, to better understand where their fences should be.
Jonathan Jackson on possible GH comeback
Jonathan Jackson, who played Lucky Spencer on GH from 1993-99 and 2009-11, then popped up for a short 2015 reprisal to help on-screen father Anthony Geary conclude his run as Luke, addressed the possibility of a return to the show as a guest on Digest’s podcast, Dishing With Digest.