Heather Maynard Soul Dancer - Wind, Water and Music

------- Heather Maynard -------

 She loves heights 


Don't Forget to leave her a comment below 


Tell me who you are.

I’m Heather Maynard, mom to 10-year-old Augustus. I’ve lived in the US Virgin Islands for just over eight years, but am originally from Georgia. I learned early on that 9 to 5 jobs aren’t a great fit for me, and since then I’ve been a photographer, a mom and homeschool teacher, a farmer, a boat cleaning and fiberglass repair person, and, now, I’m a singer in a band, Lady Friend. I just finished a full refit on my 1977 Catalina 30, Ayidah. Well, finished isn’t quite accurate - it is a boat, after all. But I’m getting close to a point that I’ll call “finished for now.”

looking good 

How did you become interested in sailing? 

I grew up on Lake Lanier, where there’s lots of sailing, but never had the opportunity to be on a sailboat. In my early 20s, I went to a boat show in Atlanta, and left with a dream of living and traveling on a boat. At that point, it wasn’t sailing that appealed to me, but the idea of having a home I could take with me, and the ability for home to be wherever I wanted. It wasn’t until I moved to the Virgin Islands, ten years later, that I had access to, and an interest in, sailing.

Yellow is deff your color 

When did you start? 

My {now} boyfriend and band partner Jerrad Kozloff (@bonbagaysailing) invited me to sail on his boat, a custom C&C 48. I loved the strength and capability that I felt from sailing with an encouraging captain, and how being out on the boat allowed me to focus my mind. I started helping with boat projects and felt very empowered by those tasks, too. I think I might’ve fallen in love with boat work before I fell in love with sailing, and I’d still say I’m more confident laying up fiberglass than I am in a captain role. 

My son was just coming out of the little kid years, when nearly 100 percent of my time was devoted to him; it’s easy for your whole identity to be wrapped up in being “mom” when your kid is little. Sailing came at a time when I was ready to feel like my own person again - still a mom, but independently capable and confident, too.

I didn’t spend a lot of time on other boats before buying my first boat and cruising in the Caribbean for a few months, and now I realize how little I knew about boats then. 

What you got going on there 

What made you want to start cruising?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to travel and be in new places. I’ve never been a person who longs for home. I’ve always felt a sadness and loss when returning home after being away. For me, the concept of home is more about a feeling than a place.

As an adult, being in a place for too long gives me a real itch to leave. So cruising is a good fit - you can still have a home, but it doesn’t have to be anchored anywhere in particular. My boat is named Ayidah, which means “visitor who returns.” That’s kind of how I like to think of myself in any place. Nothing, to me, beats the first time in a place - you’ll never experience it the same way and with the same eyes. 

Don't know where your at but it looks amazing 

What kind of boat do you have?

My boat is a 1977 Catalina 30 named Ayidah. I spend as much time on Jerrad’s boat, a 48-foot custom C&C named Bon Bagay. 


I bought Ayidah after selling my farm on St. Croix a few years ago. I had intentions of buying a bigger, more ready-to-sail boat, and bought this one as an interim place to live. It had been some years since she sailed and certainly needed work to sail again, and when I bought it, I didn’t know if I’d ever do the work to get her sailing. But as I moved aboard, I realized what a great design the Catalina 30 is - it felt bigger than the 38-foot boat I’d previously owned inside. But, at 30 feet, would be much easier to handle myself and less expensive to maintain. So I began the process of making it comfortable for living and ready to sail. I never knew, though, that I’d go as far with the refit as I did. It was kind of a “well, I’ve gone this far,ight as well {insert new project here}” situation. 

I planned on being hauled out for about four months. In the end, I was on the hard for 15 months. I shared many of my projects on Instagram, and I'm working on putting together a blog about the extensive work I did on her. I’m proud that I did the bulk of the work myself, but I’m even prouder to have had help from wonderful people who shared their time and knowledge with me, too. Some of what we did included new bulkheads, all new electrical, new paint on literally surface, from the interior, bilge and deck, to topsides and bottom, keel bolt and bilge repair, new cabinetry, installation of an electric sail drive, all new rigging - the full list would take too long to mention, but I think it’s almost definitely the most custom Catalina30 in existence. It was a ton of work. But I am grateful that I’ve had the chance to get to know the boat as well as I do, inside and out. I’ve sanded literally every square inch of that boat. 

Now we’re doing a lot of the same work on Jerrad’s boat. We’re gluttons for punishment, I guess, otherwise known as boat owners.

My boat, Ayidah, when I first bought it. 


What is your most memorable moment aboard your boat?

I had never sailed my boat before we did the refit on it - I had it towed to the yard to haul it out, and it had no engine. So, launching it and sailing it for the first time is certainly one of my most memorable moments - equal parts excitement, nerves and exhaustion from the months and months of work. 

Let the fun begin 


What is your favorite part of the nomad sailing life? 

Living in the same state until I was over 30 (and knowing I didn’t want to live there forever), I thought one day I’d find another place that I loved and wanted to make my home. Nearly a decade later, I’ve realized that there may not be a single place I’d like to stay, and that’s okay. I love being able to show Augustus different places, different cultures, different languages, different foods, and I feel lucky to get to experience those things for myself. Travel really does expand the mind in ways that nothing else I’ve experienced does.

Oh Hey!!


What is your least favorite part of the lifestyle?

Every once in a while, I think, “wouldn’t it be nice to lay in bed, in air conditioning, watch TV and eat ice cream?” Some boats are set up for that. Mine is not (but I’m very lucky to have places I can go on land and do exactly that).  I generally appreciate the simplicity of my boat and its systems, but life aboard isn’t always easy. It involves hauling water back and forth (hauling everything back and forth, for that matter - it seems like our dinghy is full on every trip to and from land). Getting to land sometimes means dinghying in rainy, miserable conditions. Taking cold showers when all you want is a warm one. Sometimes what you want just isn’t at your fingertips. But having everything you want all the time isn’t really that interesting, is it?  

An unusually small amount of stuff for this dinghy trip.


Tell me about your shenanigans at sea.

When Covid began in early 2020, Jerrad’s boat was stuck in Portugal, and my boat was not in sailing condition, so we bought a little 22-foot Pearson Ensign and named it Sushi Boat. We’d take it to St. Thomas, anchor as close to shore as we could get, swim in and eat takeout sushi and drink margaritas on the sidewalk (because restaurants were closed for dine-in). We’d sail through the anchorages in St. Croix, playing music. It was a fun time. We often talked about how lucky we were that we could spend our quarantine days sailing around.

Our shakedown sail on my boat was a four-day sail to Carriacou, into the wind. When we arrived, nearly every single thing on the boat was wet (leaks are always evident sailing into the wind, but not always in the boatyard). Because of Covid protocols, we had to quarantine on the boat for several more days once we arrived. Crazy swarms of mosquitoes attacked the boat and we had no nets or bug spray. We would’ve killed for some ice. As soon as our quarantine was over, Grenada and Carriacou shut down due to rising Covid numbers, so beaches and restaurants were closed, and we couldn’t leave the boat on the weekends. Covid really made for some strange times, compared to the ease of going island-to-island before. 

Stuck in quarantine, but happy.


Do you prefer being at anchor or moving around?

Both are great - sailing frees up mental space for creativity and time for introspection for me. Being at anchor often means a chance to explore a new place. 

looks amazing 

What are some of the must haves you have on your boat that you couldn't go without? 

Beyond the practicalities of things that are necessary to sail and have aboard (the kind of boring, obvious things like tools, sunscreen, water, charts, etc.), I don’t know. There are things I love having aboard, like watercolor paints and paper, good towels, foul weather gear, French rhum and a Yeti cooler full of ice, but not much I can think of that I couldn’t go without. It’s easy to pack a boat full of stuff you think you need. But sometimes it’s nice to just jump in and go.

Watercolor travel journal entry

It gets cold in the Caribbean, too. Decent foul weather gear is nice to have.


What's next for you and your adventures?

We’ll likely go to Panama soon, so we’ll spend some time there, maybe play some music there. We’re planning a Stateside music tour for fall, and hopefully recording an album if we can spend enough time writing more original music. I’m not a big planner and we change our minds frequently, so we’ll see what happens!

Great photo


Tell us about your music?

Jerrad and I started playing music together several years ago, just having fun on the decks of our boats. Neither of us had ever performed in front of an audience. On a whim, we posted a video of us playing “Freight Train.” A friend of ours saw the video and asked us if we’d like to play at her bar. So a week later, we’d put together three hours of music, called ourselves “Lady Friend (@ladyfriendofficial),” and performed our first show. That was two years ago, and now this is our main job. We play a mix of blues, country, folk and originals. 

We’ve played all over St. Croix, in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. John and in California. It’s not always feasible to sail every place that we play, but we love being able to get from gig to gig that way. We love playing on St. Croix to a familiar crowd, but playing for a new audience, in a new place, is always exhilarating and confidence boosting. 

Id love to come see you play 

What's it like living on a boat?

I tell people it’s a little like camping. Obviously, that differs drastically from boat to boat. It’s fun and small and hard and simple and beautiful, with the best sunrise and sunset views you can get. There’s maintenance, but having owned houses before, I don't think it's any more time consuming than home maintenance, though the skill set is different and you can’t always count on hiring out those jobs.

The v-berth is too small sometimes.When I first moved on the boat, I moved three cats with me. Now they live with my parents.


Favorite meal to cook while out at sea?

I’m not a big planner when it comes to food (probably from years of being in the Caribbean, where the ingredients you need to make what you want aren’t always available or fresh), and I don’t follow recipes. But I do feel more inspired to cook when sailing, to come up with something interesting and special from whatever we manage to provision. Jerrad says it’s important to have at least one good, hot meal a day while sailing, and I fully agree that it can be a real bright spot, especially if the weather is rough. I do like making curry - I’ll eat it warm for dinner and cold for breakfast the next day - it's comfort food. 

The hungry crew 

Where would you like to see yourselves in 10 years?

Ten years ago I’d just had a baby and lived in Georgia, where I’d lived my whole life. I most certainly wouldn’t have told you ten years later we’d live on a boat in the Caribbean and I’d be a singer in a band! I’d hate to even limit myself to where I think I might be in ten years. The last ten have been really good to me.

 Cheers to the next 10 years

I hear your into photography, tell us about that.

I fell into photography like I’ve fallen into most things. I took photos for myself, and volunteered to take some for friends from time to time, and those friends urged me to do it professionally. I shot weddings, family portraits, and newborn photography for years as my main gig. When Augustus was born, I cut back to be a full-time mom. I’ve gotten back into it on a smaller scale - I only do photography that’s a good fit now. I decide what that is when the opportunities come around. When I'm editing photos and know I've captured something that'll make someone feel beautiful - a look shared between a mom and her child, an awkward teen who drops her guard for a second - that's my favorite.


 well you sure have an eye for it 


What was your favorite port so far and why?

I love all the French West Indies - Martinique was maybe my favorite, because after sailing from island-to-island, and living in the Caribbean for many years, there’s something really amazing about being in a city (Fort de France) in the middle of the Caribbean. The Botanical Gardens there were beautiful. Guadeloupe has amazing waterfalls and hot springs. And raccoons. All the French islands that I’ve been to are full of life, clean, have great food, very nice playgrounds, and the best rhum. Of course St. Croix is my home port, and I do think Frederiksted is one of the most beautiful ports to sail into. I love every place I've been in Puerto Rico. Each place I’ve visited has things that are very unique about it and things that remind me of other places I’ve been (or would like to go). 

Jump around 


Sweet or sour?

I can be both. :)

Whats your favorite book?

I’ve been reading long novels to Augustus since he was about five, sometimes reading aloud for probably 15+ hours a week. I’m not sure I even know what an adult book is anymore, but I’ve read some really sweet books to Augustus. Sometimes they’re really sad and I can hardly make it through because I’m crying, and I’ll look up and he’s crying, too. The conversation that follows is always a special time.   

Love this 


What is the craziest thing you have done while sailing to date?

We had an idea in mind that we should sail Jerrad’s wooden sailing dinghy from the yacht club on St. Croix to Buck Island (a small, uninhabited island that’s a popular tourist destination for day trips), and then back to his boat that was anchored a few miles downwind near the boardwalk. It’s not an impossible dinghy sail, but not one that’s done with any frequency. 

We had planned well, filling the small dinghy with all the coolers full of rum, coke, ice and snacks we could fit. The trip to Buck Island was beautiful - he steered and adjusted the sail while I poured the drinks. I have a pretty heavy pour, so the first bottle of rum was empty by the time we arrived. We decided that a hike on the island was a good idea, well prepared as I was without shoes and in a strapless bikini. We abandoned the hike after a thorny start. 

I can’t say for sure, but I believe we had a picnic of hummus and some more rum. We decided we were hungry and it was time to sail back toward the boat. We made it about 20 yards from shore when disaster struck - the wind and waves from behind us caused the bow of the dinghy to dip into the water, submerging the whole dinghy, and sending all of our belongings - the coolers, our dry bags, and my strapless bikini top - floating away. 

This disaster was, obviously, not caused by the state of the captain and crew, but by the dinghy’s inability to perform downwind. We initially waved off the offer of assistance from a charter boat that was there, but, watching our belongings float away, took them up on their second offer. They recovered our cooler (but not my swimsuit top), threw us a line to tow the dinghy, handed me a crew t-shirt, and deposited us right back on the small island. We’re not quitters, though, so we decided to adjust our strategy a bit and try again. 

We made it a good ways, nearly to another small island, with things going well, when we decided it was time for a bathroom break. As we hopped back into the dinghy post-break, we forgot our tried-and-true strategy and reverted to our initial, less successful downwind sailing tactic. Not surprisingly, we had the same results - a swamped dinghy, but this time, we were nowhere near other boats. We’d just decided that we would capsize the dinghy and ride on the bottom and float back to the boat (still about a mile away), when a large sailboat motored by offering a tow. We weighed our options, and hunger won out over further adventure, so we climbed aboard, they handed us a rum drink, and we made it back to land. Jerrad wrote a song about it.

We love this photo 

Never mind while sailing, what's the craziest thing you've ever just done?...

What stories can I share?...We bought a tattoo machine as a Covid hobby. I didn't have any tattoos before. Now I have…20? 

 Hmm I dont see any 


Favorite Movie?

I lack the attention span to watch movies. 



Pool or Beach?

Why do you need a pool if there’s a beach?

Looks amazing 

Do you have any advice for a new cruiser?...

Take those lists people make of things you “need” to go cruising with a grain of salt. Beyond the required safety stuff, the things you “need” are really limited, especially if the longest crossing you'll make is several nights. You don’t have to have a specific brand of boat shoes (or boat shoes at all), a special type of pots and pans, etc. You can spend a whole bunch of money on things you won’t use at all. Don’t expect it to be like home, embrace simplicity and come to terms with some inconvenience, and you’ll be a lot happier. 


Do you have any advice for anyone looking to just get up and start sailing?  

It’s not the fun advice, but learn what you’re doing. The longer you sail, the more you’ll realize how much you don’t know, especially when you encounter a new situation. A lot of people jump into it and cast off the lines with no experience, and you can learn a lot that way, BUT, it’s not a great choice. It’s easy to think you should just go for it, but I don’t think anyone has ever regretted working into it and getting some good, well guided experience before taking a bigger trip or going out alone.

I have a lot of respect for the risks associated with sailing - not just the risks to myself, but to anyone on board with me, other boats and the people on them, ocean environments that could be damaged by human mistakes, and for those whose job it is to get involved if a situation goes wrong. There’s a lot of things that are safe to do without knowing what you’re doing - sailing, especially anything bigger than a dinghy, isn’t necessarily one of them. It’s why I won’t sail single-handed until I feel more confident. Situations will arise if you sail enough - it’s guaranteed. Being prepared to handle them is one of the best things you can do for yourself and others. I know, boring answer, but it’s the truth.



Do you have any advice for someone who wants to buy a boat?

Try not to feel rushed. There are always more boats, and there is no perfect boat, but it’s hard not to feel that way when you’re in the process. Count on spending more money once you buy the boat. If you can barely afford the boat in the first place, you can’t afford to own and maintain the boat. You can expect to spend something like 10 percent of the value of the boat on yearly maintenance, but I’m pretty sure that first year is much higher for most people.

Take your time 

If you were a drink what would you be and why?

Doesn’t everyone just answer this question with their favorite drink? So I’d be a rum & coke, with a good French rhum, Mexican coke in a glass bottle, and a lot of fresh lime juice.



Do you prefer the number 34 or 3?

If it’s the number of people I want to be on a boat with, 3. If it’s the number of people at one of our Lady Friend shows, 34.


Best Number Ever!


 Thank you Heather for taking some time to do this with us. Please keep epic photos coming and never give up on your dreams. 
 Stay safe, keep on keeping on and stay salty
If you have made it this far and would like to be featured on PussFoot.com 
Please feel free to contact us and lets tell the world about you and your adventures.
Dont forget to check out our new sailing FB page 
Brian Casserly 
S.V. Artemis 


  • These pics rock

  • Wow Heather, You are really inspiring. Thank you for the great interview


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