Sail on


Carmel couple set sights on seeing the world by boat

By Mark Ambrogi

Pamela and Kurt Jaenicke have embarked on the adventure of their lifetime.

The Jaenickes are taking their 46-foot sailboat, Big Frisky, on a journey around the world. It’s a journey that they have talked and planned for several years. The couple sold their home in Carmel and left from Michigan City, Ind., earlier this month.

“We both have a passion for adventure,” Pamela said.

In 2004, the couple followed Tour de France on a motorcycle. They planned for that trip for four years.

“We had to get our kids graduated and then we wanted to have one more big adventure and this is it,” Kurt said.

Both Kurt and Pamela, who have been married for 1 1/2 years but have been together for 15 years, both turned 52 in April.

“We’re not fully retired,” Kurt said. “We’ll come back and do something.”

Pamela isn’t worried.

“I imagine I’ll be able to find library work some place with the experiences that I’ve had,” said Pamela, who retired from job as a librarian at Lincoln College of Technology in Indianapolis.

Kurt retired from his job in sales for Pearson textbooks.

The Jaenickes, who have children from previous marriages, have five children between the ages of 22 and 24. Pamela has three sons and Kurt has twins, a son and a daughter.

The trip could take five to six years, but the Jaenickes have only committed to do at least one year.

“For one year we’re committed to staying on board no matter how we feel about it,” Kurt said. “At the end of the one year, we’ll take an assessment. We have a personal rule that if one person is uncomfortable with it, we don’t do it.”

Pamela added, “We just want to see if we’re still enjoying it.”

The other thing that could change that is if they end up having grandchildren sooner than they expect.

Pamela and Kurt said they both lived frugal lifestyles in order for them to retire early.

‘We lived well within our means and socked our money away as much as possible,” Pamela said.

They also worked as soccer referees for several years for youth, high school and college games.

Seed planted

Pamela had come across a book “The Cruising Life” on one surfing vacation about 10 years ago.

About six years ago, Pamela gave Kurt that book for Christmas. Kurt was sold and bought the second book by the same author.

“The idea is sailing is a very inexpensive way to get around the world,” Kurt said.

The first reason Kurt said you are powered by the wind and the second is they will not be in a marina most of the time. They can just drop anchor off the coast for free.

Pamela and Kurt, who are joined by their three small dogs on the trip, have been in Lake Michigan and plan to be in Lake Erie in July. From there they plan to go through Canada and then into the Atlantic Ocean.

“When you are sailing around the world, you have to move in and out of hurricane season,” Pamela said. “Your boat is not covered by insurance if you travel in waters where it is hurricane season so you just don’t do that, not only for safety but for economic reasons as well. You can’t go into Caribbean until the first of November.”

They plan to leave from the shores of Virginia for the eight-day off-shore passage in the Caribbean requires a 24-hour watch. Pamela’s son, Nick Anderson, and his friend will join them for that part of the voyage to do three-hour watch stints and take turns sleeping.

When it gets to be hurricane season in the Caribbean, they will head north to the U.S. through Bermuda.

Then the summer of 2016, they plan to travel down the eastern coast of the U.S. to Florida. They then hope to travel to Cuba. From there they go through Central America.

“The first two years we’ll be in and around the United States,” Kurt said.

The Jaenickes figure to be a good traveling mix. Pamela said Kurt is good with the gear and she is better with the logistics.

“I’m quick thinking with quick reaction and maybe more on the mechanical side,” Kurt said. “Pamela is more calm.”

Follow the Jaenickes’ journey

The Jaenickes are writing about their travels through a blog:


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