Respite At Sea: On Creating A Floating Home and Sanctuary

In the wake of a breakup, one author takes a healing journey while charting the open seas aboard his dream boat, the Kaikoa.

This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s July 2023 Issue.

After a bad breakup, I decided to put my focus into a six-year long daydream that I had been preparing for my whole life–building a sailboat and putting myself and my surf life on it. Luckily for me, I was blessed to have a father that took me on board since I was six months old and a mother who made sure these boats were always in pristine condition and stayed afloat. This combination was a sailing nest for me that made both the ocean and boats a habitat that are extremely peaceful and familiar to me. And it’s an experience that I want to share with my son.

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The Kaikoa

My lifelong experience was in monohulls (a sea vessel with just one hull), and truth be told, there is nothing sexier than a single mast, single hull boat slanted upwind cutting the ocean. As I grew older, however, things got shuffled around a bit when I fell in love with surfing and developed a passion for photography (together with other creative pursuits like music and making murals) and journalism. That’s why I shifted to multihulls, which can take me faster and closer to shallow waters, the perfect breeding ground for some of the best waves. 

Kaikoa's interiors
For the interiors, the intention was to set up a space where the author could spend days indulging in his cravings like reading, playing, music, and writing.

The French catamaran manufacturer Outremer had the simplest builds that matched both my personality and the boat profile that I was looking for– big mainsail, big boom, shallow drought, and small cabin located aft of the structure allowing for weightless long hulls in the front of the vessel that would fly me across the world at heart pounding speeds. I named my boat Kaikoa, a combination of the Hawaiian words kai (meaning ocean) and koa to suggest “earth.” Koa is actually a native Hawaiian wood associated with warriors.

Kaikoa's interiors
One of the most delicious things one can do while their vessel flies across oceans is indulge in good literature


I did the interiors myself, my pride and joy! I wasn’t going to sink in the challenge of transforming a performance boat into a sexy, warm, and stylish sacred space which is a dream home, creative studio, and surf haven rolled into one. 

I grinded like an animal and pulled together music equipment, books, references for home decoration, surf art, and everything else I needed to make what is now my safe space and sanctuary. 

Kaikoa's interiors
The record player together with the water repelling exterior rug placed inside give the author a timeless vintage feel in a digital era.

I had a bit of help in choosing very easy and neutral colors. And given that I am surrounded by the ocean and blues, putting something earthy felt like a very good way to go about it, to find balance. So the combination of these earthy tones together with the surrounding ocean gives justice to the name and also brings a very harmonious and soothing feeling into my new home.

The author off the coast of France, just before departing to cross the Atlantic on the Kaikoa.

Later on, the final designs for the boat came together for the structure and hull decoration. For this, I turned to my Polynesian friends. I borrowed a book from Heimano, a talented local artist who is the girlfriend and pride of my bro, Manatea, the Polynesian surfing legend. In Polynesia,I found the most beautiful and powerful waves in the world together with friends that in time of need took me in as family. I fell in love with the islands, the culture, and the people. They healed me and made me strong. 

Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia July 2023 magazine via or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.

Photos courtesy of Eduardo Zobel.

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