How We Learn

Kim Hess moves aboard her first boat

Kim Hess

“Tonto he was smart, one day said Kemosabe, Kiss my ass I bought a boat, I’m going out to sea.” Lyle Lovett’s, If I had a Boat

I could not wait to make this the ring tone on my phone, and I did November 20, 2009 as the selling broker and I were bringing ‘my’ boat back to her home at Florida Sea Base after the survey.

Since that day my entire life has changed. I have moved aboard, left my full time yoga teaching position in Miami Beach and am preparing to receive my first Boy Scout crew for the ten weeks I will be running at Sea Base in the Florida Keys.

S/V Rainbow Connection

When I purchased Rainbow Connection, I had zero knowledge of diesel engines, electrical systems or any kind of ‘boat system’ for that matter. I knew how to sail, period. I had been crew on several boat this size (she is a 41’ Morgan Classic) but had only handled boats 22’ or less. What a leap of faith!

Since that time, I have learned about the cooling system on my engine, naturally after she overheated; I have also learned about the electrical system by being without shore power for the last couple of months.

I have learned that by stepping back and breaking things down detail-by-detail, troubleshooting can solve any problem and that Nigel Calder
is a Godsend.

I know that I need to replace the discharge valve in my aft head (not really looking forward to this one).

And I also have learned that there are a million and one ways to do the same thing!

Kim Hess at the helmSome days I feel totally confident and other days I wake up filled with anxiety and wondering what the heck I got myself into.

I will be perfectly honest…I imagined myself doing all of this with a partner, but refused to let both dreams slip through my fingers while I waited for one.

So, here I am, learning, growing, knowing my fears and facing them, one day at a time.

I believe one of the biggest lessons for me is that no one that owns a boat does it all alone. The captains here on the docks at Sea Base and other friends of mine have been so helpful and reassuring in the fact that they have felt the same chaos that I am feeling right now at some time or another and they ask for help when they need it.

This morning I am going to fuel up, then into the engine room for an oil change and fuel filter change. After that I will be zipping into West Marine to pay another weeks salary for one of their employees.

Tuesday I get my first crew: six scouts and two counselors; followed by nine more crews, taking me into the first week of August. We will sail, fish (I still have to learn how to fish!) snorkel, pray to the weather Gods and teach each other about life.

All is good in the Florida Keys!

Peace, Love and Laughter
Captain Kim Hess
SV Rainbow Connection


About Kim Hess

Kim Hess is a sailor, a captain, a yoga instructor and the author of Yoga Onboard, a practical guide to adapting traditional yoga postures or asana to your vessel.

It’s available as a book and DVD.

Related articles (on this website)
More info (external links)

How did you learn your sailing/cruising skills?
Let us know. Email or leave a comment below.

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6 comments to Kim Hess moves aboard her first boat

  • Kim,

    Following you has been an amazing and inspiring journey for me!!! You are truly incrediable and your courage would overshadow even the manliest of Idaho men! :)

    Knowing you were landlocked like me here in Idaho gives me hope that indeed….”all roads lead home”.

    Thanks for what you do and how you contribute.

    When you are ready for a student and open to mentoring both yoga and sailing please consider me. I’m happy to be able to work cheap!

    Peace and Love!
    Jason Russell

  • Debbie Leisure

    Kim, I am so excited for you. I know how you feel about Nigel Calder. A friend gave me his copy of Nigel’s book when I first started to single hand, saying, “Here, you need this more than I do.” He was right. Don’t let your anxiety override your confidence and your dream. You CAN do this!!

    Debbie Leisure

  • WONDERFUL KIM!!! Live that dream~

  • Kim,

    What a wonderful surprise to see your post. From one Morgan owner to another… Congratulations on so many “firsts”. Anne and I will keep in touch and hopefully we can connect when we pass thru the Keys later this month. Hope that first crew of scouts was good the the captain.

    Anne and I post updates on our projects and travels at

  • Kim, what a great article. I am so proud of you and all of your accomplishments. You have your boat!!!! I know you will have so much fun out on the water and be able to create such a great experience for the scouts!
    Hope to see you on the water.

  • Liliana Beltran

    Hello Kim,

    I am very happy for you… you’re an inspiration for all those women who doesn’t know much about sailing.

    God bless you!!!
    Thank you

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