Cameron Vawter was born into a long-time Indiana farming family. His parents were among the first in their families to go to College. If we don’t mention Purdue here we will be in big trouble. GO BOILERS! When Cameron was 7 years old, his father had an opportunity within Eli Lilly to move his family to Australia. They lived in Sydney for 7 years during Cameron’s formative years. He was introduced to sailing on Sydney harbor and was infected with the travel bug at a young age. The family’s annual “home leave” trip was always routed through exotic locations such as Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, and Fiji. It was in Australia that Cameron read such books as “Dove” by Robin Lee Graham and “Maiden Voyage” by Tania Aebi. These books of sailing adventure connected the dots of travel and sailing and he began to dream of his own sailing adventures someday.
Cameron went home to Indiana for high school but was quickly lured back to the sea. He moved to Key West, Florida, and found himself teaching sailing to children while attending Florida Keys Community College. During a break between Junior College and University, Cameron landed a position as a Flotilla Skipper and Delivery Captain for Sunsail Yacht Charters in Greece. He managed a flotilla of boats (and clients) and in the off-season delivered boats throughout the Mediterranean, Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean. His final assignment with Sunsail was as a part of the team that delivered boats to the Maldives and set up their new charter base. This provided invaluable experience navigating the atolls and bureaucracy of the poorly charted islands.
Upon returning to the U.S. and with an eye for the future, Cameron thought that he should have some sort of marketable skill to make his way in the world. What better skill for a sailor than making booze? He started at the University of California Davis in 1999 in their world-class Viticulture and Enology program, this is where he would meet his wife who was also on her way to becoming a winemaker. While killing time between the wine harvest of 1998 and school in 1999 Cameron moved to San Diego to maintain a sailboat for an absentee owner. While in San Diego he acquired his US Coast Guard 100 Ton Masters License with Endorsements in Towing and Sailing.
Not to be kept from the water’s edge during his time at UC Davis, Cameron found salty friends at the OCSC sailing school (www.ocscsailing.com) on the San Francisco Bay where he was hired as an instructor. OCSC has twice been rated the #1 single location sailing school in the United States and is a very serious place to learn and grow one’s sailing knowledge. Being an instructor provided Cameron the opportunity and support to organize his knowledge and formalize what he already knew about navigation, safety, the physics of sailing, boat systems, and everyday maneuvers. After completing his degree at UC Davis and working a wine harvest in Spain, he and Anne sailed across the Atlantic with the ARC rally in 2002 as crew and later boat-hopped through the Caribbean on a number of different boats. In the following decade, Cameron skippered boats in the Caribbean and Tahiti with friends.
Anne Vawter hails originally from the North West where her family dairy farmed. Her days were mainly filled with riding horses, singing in the choir, and generally experiencing a bucolic childhood filled with outdoor work and play. In 1999 she headed to UC Davis after learning that one could get a college degree in winemaking! Who knew! It was a career path that fit her well, so off she went to California.
It was at UC Davis that she met and fell in love with her now-husband, Cameron Vawter. It was his passion for sailing that encouraged Annie to jump on a boat. Annie soon found herself fully kitted out in foul weather gear getting drenched in the spray from the San Francisco Bay sailing 24 ft J boats off the Berkeley pier in 30 knots of breeze… and loving it.
With an appetite for adventure, and after learning about the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, Annie encouraged Cameron to find crew positions for the two of them. After graduating from UC Davis in 2002 with her degree in Viticulture and Enology, she promptly set out after harvest and joined Cameron for a trip across the Atlantic. It was a great adventure and opened her eyes to the realities of life on a boat at sea. “Real” life called and a need to fill the coffers sent her off to another harvest in Chile while Cameron returned to California to get a “real job”.
Annie soon returned to California and set about forming a life with Cameron, complete with a job, house, a few horses, and eventually two little girls. Life was good and who could ask for more. In 2010 everything went “KABOOM” when Annie was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer.
After much stress, worry, and surgeries, Annie was given the “all-clear” on the cancer front. Just before this scare, she was offered an opportunity to move with her family to a horse boarding facility in Calistoga where they could live on an amazing property in exchange for managing the horses and the ranch. It was a Godsend. Annie continued working but as a consulting winemaker which provided the flexibility for family life. It was immediately after this experience that she and Cameron looked at each other one day and said “we gotta make this sailing thing happen” So they started to work on a plan to have their family afloat.
For Annie, the point of this trip isn’t really to go anywhere particular or in any timeframe, or even to be on a boat. The point is to be together, all working and playing together as a family and having an amazing adventure that will instill great values and hopefully feed passions and provide opportunities of all sorts for their children.
Adelaide Vawter was born in 2007 in a little house in Napa to some adventurous parents. As she is growing up she enjoys all things outdoors, especially if it’s creepy or crawly. As of April of 2020 she wants to be a conservationist when she grows up. She fills her days with fishing, piano playing, homeschool, and whatever else she gets dragged into. Living onboard has given her lots of time, something you need if you are an author. Adelaide has recently completed the first draft of a 70,000-word novel! In addition to her academic pursuits, she is quite accomplished in the kitchen and a great help in every way.
Elizabeth Vawter, known as “Isa” at home, was born in 2008. She came out tough as nails and is an even keel kinda gal… she does actually prefer it when the boat is not heeled over but has grown accustomed to it over the years. She loves being outside, fishing and swimming but also is drawn to quieter in-door activities like her school projects, drawing, and reading. Isa is an accomplished violinist. She studies with an amazing online Suzuki method teacher and attends workshops wherever we are.