Margaret and Peter Sheppard live in Melbourne Australia, have been married for 50 years, have four children, and blessed with eight grandchildren.
Peter grew up in a flat, sealess, wheat growing town of Horsham in Victoria, and Margaret in Melbourne. Peter one day discovered when doing his after school job as a delivery boy for a pharmacy, a sailing dinghy sitting on a trailer in front of a house. He was captivated by it and raced to the library (on the bosses time) to take out every book he could on sail boats, so the rest is history as they say, and Margaret has been dragged along with his passion.
Peter sailed competitively with motorless around the sticks boats until 1984, when he gave it all up to pursue racing and breeding thoroughbred horses as an interest outside of running Peter Sheppard Footwear P/L which is a retail business selling women's shoes. When he retired from the operational side of the business at age 58, the time was right to take on a new challenge and go back to his deep passion of boating, but this time it had to be done with the most seaworthy and comfortable conveyance possible if there was any chance he could get Margaret to share and embrace the dream.
Margaret was never comfortable with those "tippy" things that resembled going down to a cellar, and wanted a tub, modern galley, and all the comforts of home, so this had to be a fairly large power boat, and one that Peter could consume himself in with adventure and serious challenges to sate his Alpha type personality.
Selecting a boat was so very easy because absolutely nil research went into it. Peter asked a friend who had real experience as to what boat he would buy next. The answer unequivocally was a Nordhavn, so two days absorbed in the Nordhavn website convinced him that the Nordhavn 55 would fill the bill, being the biggest model suggested that just two people could manage easily, the deposit was transferred only just two days after he had heard the name Nordhavn mentioned for the first time. This compulsive behaviour comes from the nose and gut feeling one gets when buying womens shoes since 1961 i.e. fortunately getting it right most of the time.
The major challenge in this project was how was a basic "stick and rag" man was going to go from absolute zero mechanical knowledge, to run a very complex boat such as a Nordhavn. Another challenge was to learn about navigation to the level where the boat could steam anywhere around the world. As the boat had to be built and taking two years to be delivered, Peter immersed himself into studying the theory of it all, but knowing the learning curve would climb steeply when behind the wheel eventually.
Time has taken it's course naturally and 6 years (2013) after stepping on the boat for the first time and without the help from anyone with tuition, and just self taught by putting the hand on the furnace, the good ship SKIE will have logged 31,000 nm when getting back to the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland after visiting Alaska and crossing the Pacific.
Peter can't get the smile off his face, Margaret has had some of her best holidays ever, the kids and grandkids are over the moon to be on board, and many friends, and particulary new friends made on the many journeys, have all had a wonderful time.
From 2013 SKIE has found it's first home ever and will be moored at Hobart, Tasmania. Exploring Tasmania could take a lifetime, but will take an odd trip up north to the Tropic of Capricorn to escape the winters at 43 Deg S.
Let the journey continue.