In the summer of 2014, the crew of Serenade Wind assembled in Santa Monica: co-captains Andrew & Denise.

Follow us as we embark on this new journey from quitting our corporate jobs and buying a boat to downsizing our possessions in order to begin our sailing adventure around the world.

While sailing will be the means by which we explore the world, we will also be featuring our love for rock climbing and snowboarding (if we happen to reach high latitudes) as well as hiking, exploring varied cultures and cuisines.

Andrew

Born and raised in Romania, Andrew moved to Toronto at the age of 15. He studied mathematics at the University of Waterloo and then went on to build a 20-year career in the development and management of web platforms across various industries including entertainment/gaming, healthcare, real estate, art/media, online retail and education.

periwinkle-in-straits-of-georgia

While living in British Columbia, he purchased Periwinkle, a 22 foot custom-built catamaran. She cost $1,200 and was nearly 30 years old. By the time he became her second owner, she had very little of the original color for which she was named. He learned the hard way, a few lessons about boat ownership while he sailed her in Boundary Bay.

Andrew rappelling down Ortega Falls route
Andrew rappelling down Ortega Falls route

As for climbing, Andrew has been in the mountains since he could walk.  At a very early age, he and his parents did extensive day hiking in the beautiful southern Carpathian mountains, known as the Transylvanian Alps. With peaks over 8,000 feet, he spent many hours hiking in the Bucegi Mountains plateau and climbing over unique rock formations, such as Babele

After college, many miles away and all grown up (almost), the love of mountains extended to longer and longer hikes.  In 2002, Andrew had completed the incredibly picturesque Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier.

While living in Seattle, the mountains were all around and on a clear day, their call was that much louder. Mountaineering was the next chapter in exploring mountains even closer, and he trained on elements such as climbing, glacier walking, snow cave building, and all the fun emergency skills to keep him firmly attached while saving his climbing partners (as the need arises).

Denise at the helm
Denise at the helm

Denise

Canadian-born and of Taiwanese descent, Denise was raised in southern California.

She attended Wellesley College and graduated with a degree in economics. She went on to receive her MBA from The Wharton School of Pennsylvania with a masters in finance.

Throughout her career, she has worked in financial services, management consulting, biotech, as well as media and entertainment. Her specialties include M&A, post-merger integration, international business development, debt restructuring, strategic planning, corporate finance, and financial planning & analysis.

Images and experiences of sailing have also echoed throughout her life, including:

  • an overnight stay on a 90 foot merchantman brig The Pilgrim in Dana Point (see below)
  • sailing posters such as Homer’s Breezing Up, Seurat’s The Seine a la Grande Jatte, and Hopper’s Ground Swell adorning her dorm room at Wellesley
  • taking up sailing in her 30’s (sunset regattas in Marina del Rey, moonlight sail in San Francisco, etc.).

Sailing has been – and always will be – part of her life.

Denise in Joshua Tree circa 1989
Denise in Joshua Tree circa 1989

Unlike her childhood friends, Denise grew up fairly outdoorsy. Each year, her family vacationed by traveling across the U.S., and they visited most of the national parks to hike, fish and camp. Some of her most vivid memories include sunrise hikes and high elevation hikes with her family.

Then in high school, Denise was introduced to trad climbing. Along with a few other graduating seniors on a weekend trip to Joshua Tree, she learned the ropes (so to speak) tying figure 8’s and stopper knots, climber and belay commands, different hand and foot holds. After that weekend, she could not look at a vertical face of a wall or building quite the same again.

Joshua Tree circa 2019
Joshua Tree circa 2019

While she occasionally visited some indoor gyms thereafter, it was only after meeting Andrew that they delved back into the world of rock climbing, working projects and sending routes.

It must be fate that brought these two together on the brink of a new adventure.

Post Script

Over the last weekend of March, 2020, the Ocean Institute’s tall ship Pilgrim sank in Dana Point Harbor. The event was covered in the OC Register