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My life in boats: Mark and Mary Shores, owners of Marae

Work keeps superyacht owners Mark and Mary Shores in Texas but they escape when they can to the Caribbean in winter or Newport in summer on their 33 metre sloopMarae...

Marae, in the Maori culture of New Zealand where the boat was built, is a word that means a special place for meeting with family and friends. We have three children and now grandchildren and everyone loves to sail.

Our previous Little Harbor just wasn’t large enough to fit everyone and we fell in love with this boat the minute we saw it. She is a romantic, cosy yacht, just classic, homey, warm and inviting, everything a yacht should be.

The most favourable place on the boat is the pilothouse cockpit. When Mark is aboard he loves to take the helm and we can sit in the cockpit with family and friends and still have a conversation with him. We often have lunch there or cocktail hour and, if it is a beautiful evening, we enjoy sitting there for dinner – it’s just a special place.

We’ve been sailors from way back when and it gets in your blood. Our first memory of sailing goes back to when we started dating back in Maryland where we grew up. Mark had an 11ft Sea Snark and we would take it out on Chesapeake Bay.

We bought our first serious boat after we were married in 1978, a 24ft Rainbow Weekender, and gradually the boats grew: we had a Cal25, then a J29, a Tartan4100 and the Little Harbor 60 before we bought Marae. Every sailor is competitive and we would like to do the Candy Store Cup in Newport – we like the race’s relaxed format. But we also take safety seriously, and every time we go aboard we have a safety demonstration, even with the dinghy and the toys.

Which toys get the most use depends on who is visiting. With my sons it would be the Lasers; my daughter and son-in-law enjoy paddleboarding, and if it is a girls’ weekend, it’s the island, which fits eight people; we have music, the stewards bring out drinks, it’s great.

One of the best anchorages you could imagine is Somes Sound in the lower mid-section of Mount Desert Island in Maine. It is so pristine and protected with huge cliffs on each side, classic Maine scenery. Once when we were sailing back from Maine on an early September morning, we found ourselves among pods and pods of humpback whales, an incredible experience.

In winter, our absolute favourite place is the British Virgin Islands. We have been going there since 1981 and yet we still discover new places.

Images: Getty Images; Jeff Brown; George Bekris

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