Hi there, and welcome to our blog. Us, that’s TJ, Jenny and Baxter the dog. If you are on this page you most likely met us already, nevertheless here’s a brief introduction:
TJ is the pro. He’s been involved in the maritime field since the age of 17. With a passion for boats he’s logged over 40,000 miles offshore. As a kid he spent his summers sailing all over lake Michigan on a Cal 25. His cruising adventures started in the late 80s/early 90s with a 2 year Caribbean cruise with his dad Tom aboard a CT 41 named Ahora. Upon their return to Northern Illinois a gentle kick out the door made him go find his fortune in the Bering Sea, where he is now the skipper of a 170′ trawler with a crew of between 30-40 depending on the season. This lifestyle enabled him to continue cruising part time.
In 1991 he bought Ahora from his dad and sailed her across the Great Lakes, where she eventually suffered some nasty rigging damage in a fall blow. Instead of trying to fix the boat up with his limited funds at that age, TJ sold her.
Being boatless for a few years, working as a deckhand in Alaska and living in his tent next to his mountain bike in Moab, Utah, TJ traded the sailing life for some very rewarding years in the desert. 1996 was the year to move on to another boat: the beautiful 36′ Cabo Rico Star Path. He bought her in Seattle, sailed her for 4 years around the NW, including a trip to SE Alaska, back down to California and eventually to Mexico. Being bored from time to time he took trips to Ecuador and the Galapagos (twice), but always returned to Puerto Vallarta, where he eventually sold her in 2005.
Later that year he decided a strong, offshore sail boat that would be safe yet comfortable in higher latitudes was the way to go. Looking all over the world for the right boat, he finally found the South African built 43′ Roberts Mauritius steel cutter in Fort Lauderdale and named her Western Explorer. Having complete confidence in this boat, his very first sail was from Fort Lauderdale offshore 1100 miles to Tortola. Shortly thereafter Jenny crossed his path and they sailed through the Eastern Caribbean, enjoyed a month in Colombia, went through the Panama Canal and to Costa Rica. From there Western Explorer was shipped to Seattle, where they lived aboard for 2 years before taking off for Vallarta again.
Jenny never gave sailing a second thought before she met TJ. Growing up in inland Germany, sailing wasn’t exactly the sport of choice. Having always been a natural explorer, she traveled a lot in Europe, and made her first trip to the US at the age of 15 on a students exchange. Seeing the historic beauty of old Europe and more exotic places like Tunisia and India, all she wanted was more adventure.
On a visit to beautiful St. Thomas she met TJ and his boat, Western Explorer. Falling in love with TJ and sailing in the BVIs she decided to give this lifestyle a shot. On the next trip, Trinidad to Grenada, she discovered the real challenges of sailing, made real good friends with the puke bucket, and decided seasickness was a small price to pay for a lifestyle such as this.
After 3 months together, TJ and Jenny decided to fly to Las Vegas and get married. A risky maneuver it might seem, but one person summarized this relationship very well. Jenny and Tom met briefly on Tortola. He asked her: “What do you want out of life?” And she replied: “Adventure!” To this day he says he knew then that Jenny was right for his son.
In November 2007 TJ and Jenny, then living in Seattle, adopted a little Beagle/Jack-Russel Mix named Baxter. Baxter has proven to be an excellent boat dog. So far he has logged about 4000 miles under sail, and is fearless in trying new things. He loves to ride in the dinghy, the kayak, and lately has taken to standup paddleboarding very well.
After living in Seattle for a few years TJ and Jenny decided it was time for a change of location. The new location of choice was Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where they eventually settled. But the sailing bug was just muted. In January 2013 they added the 55′ Bieker Riptide Rocket Science to their family. Since TJ would keep working in Alaska and only has 2-4 month blocks of time off, there was a need for speed. With cruising speeds between 8 and 12 knots and top speeds upwards of 30 knots in the most exciting conditions, this boat will enable them to greatly expand their cruising range and still be able to meet work obligations.
Congratulations on your new blog!! You two (three, with Baxter) are destined to enjoy many years of the kinds of adventures and excitement that most of us can only dream of. And we will all look forward to sharing vicariously in what lies ahead for you.
Ahoy TJ, Jenny and Baxter: Nice meeting you today. Absolutely impressed with Rocket Science! Safe travels and hope to see you again soon.
Thanks George! It was great to meet you to!
Suesse, ihr seid grossartig und ich freu mich riesig fuer euch.
Alles Liebe und die besten Trips ueberhaupt! Bei uns habt ihr fuer immer einen Hafen.
Wir vermissen euch unendlich.
Horus, Kirsten, Grace und Zoe
I cannot wait for future instalments!
I am getting frustrated!! This is the third time I;ve tried to respond. If this one does’nt work, I am going to resort to the telepone. Ienjoyed your blog (the first one I’ve ever read) It was really well written as oposed to the article that I wrote for Sailing Magazine whenb TJ and I were sailing.. They wrote back saying the either it was the most boring trip ,or that I was the most boring writer.. That ended my literary carreer. I am getting better. If all goes well at my follow up visit to Mayo nest tuesday, I am planning on flying to Puerto Vallart on around the 14th of Nonember. I will let you know. Love Tom/Dad
Love it! It’s so nice seeing you guys again and getting to know you better! This is an awesome story and look forward to hearing about all of your adventures in the near future! Love your boat!
Hi TJ and Jen,
I enjoyed your blog! What an exciting and adventurous life you lead. I am very good friends with Tom and he told me to read your blog when I asked how you both are doing. He told me you said it best….he was right! I wish you both all the best with your newest adventure. Tom is very pleased and proud of you two and I certainly see why!
Hi Dawn, thanks for the compliments and reading our blog! I hope you enjoyed it.
This is way cool….excited for you guys…woohoo…..great blog and great writing…pics are terrific….cheers from sv Fai Yin, La Cruz , Mexico !
Thanks Bill! I thought it would be great to make this trip a lasting memory 🙂 See you soon!
So excited for your new adventure! The boat is amazing. Wishing you safe sailing and many days of fun. Don’t forget where Banderas Bay is!
Thanks Jeri! We’ll be back, but it might be a while!
Looking forward to following you on your journey. We miss you guys already!
Thanks mark, we miss you too! Make sure you come visit in Bocas!!
Glad to have found your blog, I’ve been following Rocket Science for several years… Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures!
Hi Richard, that’s great to hear! Hopefully we’ll have plenty of adventure 🙂
Love your blog. Can’t wait to here your next adventure! Safe travels!
We met you guys on the 2013 HaHa briefly. We are also from Seattle. A friend of mine, Michael P. who has a Wauquiez 49 told me that you guys might have knowledge of a good boatyard in PV. I am needing my Max prop changed out while we are in PV after Christmas and need either a haul and hang or a diver. Have you favorite boatyards or divers that could help us out? Sorry to post this question on you cool blog but Michael didn’t have your email address.
Marcus and Jennifer
Let me know if you got TJ’s email ,he sent it from the satellite account since we were out at sea!
Ahoy TJ, Jenny and Baxter,
Hi from Orcas Island. Uncle Tom told me about your new boat and adventure when I saw him in November, and reminded me of it yesterday on the phone. He encouraged me to stay in touch with you so I will be watching your blog. I am nearly boatless at the moment, but did have a nice row in a three person umiak out to Sucia island the day after Christmas. We had a hike, lazed in the sun (yes sun!) and had a lovely row back watching the sun set over Waldron Island. Look forward to seeing you guys some day (and meeting Jenny and Baxter, who I have heard a lot about!), when you are back in the Northwest, or who knows where!!. . . . . Happy New Year, Annette
nice to hear from you! Tom has told me a lot about you, and that you are a great person! Once we get back to the Northwest we’ll have to catch up!
Hi Jenny I finally got your blog address so Char and I can follow your adventures. Cubby says hello to Baxter but he still can’t play with any of his toys. LOL
Mike and Char Mccue
S/V Sweet Reality
Hi Mike! Say hi to Char and give Cubby a big scratch from us!
Two of the nicest people to visit Newport,RI and have had the opportunity to chat with.. of course I helped Baxter, who wouldn’t just a great dog, I can’t take people in the boat with me but a dog in need is another story, hope to chat with TJ and Jenny some more soon.. Steve one of the assistant Harbormasters in Newport
Thanks Steve! You are the best! Baxter will forever be grateful to you for the ride. And thanks for trying to help us out with the mooring, we really appreciated that!
Great seeing you guys today!! We’ll keep up with your travels via your blog. Happy sailing! Laurie & Jay
It was great to meet up with you guys in Porland! Hope the night sail to Plymouth was OK. We’ve run out of time so the boat is being delivered home while we both go back to work for a short while. Hope to meet up with you again in Scotland this summer.
Bill & Diane.
Great to hear from you! Sorry you didn’t make it all the way. We’ll give you a shout when we get up to Scotland!
Hello from Tony&Cara SV Captain Muscik
TJ!!!!!!! You are living the dream! Good for you!!! You’ve come a long way from Mundelein. Lol!
Julie, thanks for getting in touch! I hope the 30 years since I last saw you have been good ones.
Hello to Jen, TJ and Baxter, he’s our new friend. Great introduction to your lives and we are delighted to know you all. Thank you for all your help today, I’m going to miss you but it is, a Luego and sincerely hope we catch up in November. Tina and Steven on SV Puffin. La Linea. I wish we were here a little longer we would have loved to have Baxter for you if you’d needed to, adios.
Want to be included in mailing list
Hi folks, Read about your fridge problem on CF.. (I am banished from CF so had to find you here!)
I believe you have lost gas and strongly suggest getting someone to leak to find and repair the leak, replace the filter dryer (with a proper one, not just those spun copper strainers!! ), evacuate then recharge refrigerant.
Note: just topping up gas is a bad practice and will lead to reducing system life and performance.
Suggest having a look at https://www.ozefridge.com/general-technical
Good luck and contact anytime if you think I can help.