Love on the Water

In this feature from Mountaineer magazine, read two heartwarming stories of Mountaineers couples who found love on the open waters.
Seattle Sailing Committee Seattle Sailing Committee
August 02, 2022

In continuation of our article "Belationships, Packmances, and Nature-Loves" from our spring 2022 edition, we thought it fitting for summer to showcase two stories from Mountaineers sailors who met their partners on the open water. After all, what’s more romantic than the Salish Sea?

Megan & Walter

By Walter Friesen, 16-year member

2006 was the year Megan Bond and I met. She was a Mountaineers member who usually concentrated on climbing and hiking, but had decided to take The Mountaineers Sailing Course. At that time it was run by Hal Tobie, who booked two bare-boat charters in Croatia in late August for Mountaineers sailors. Megan liked sailing and traveling, so she signed up. As it happened, Hal was not able to fill all of the available slots with Mountaineers, so he asked me if I wanted to go. Hal and I had been friends for several years, and even though I had a powerboat at the time, he knew I liked to sail. Having never been to Croatia, I got a Mountaineers membership and signed on for the trip.

One of my first memories of Megan in Croatia was the provisioning run that she did on behalf of the crew before we left the port. I don’t remember exactly what we asked her to get, but I do remember telling her to be sure not to forget the beer. When she returned, she had some bread, cheese, various sundries, what looked like a case of yogurt, and a six-pack of beer. Obviously she needed some education about me and beer!

We sailed all over the Dalmation Islands, touring Roman ruins, docking in medieval towns, touring wineries, hiking across islands to see what was on the other side, and having a generally fabulous time. Megan and I hit it off as friends and decided to continue that friendship when we got back to the real world. Back in Seattle, we’d go skiing together and have coffee or lunch once in a while.

In early 2008, Megan teamed up with three expert skiers for a backcountry ski trip to the Carpathians in Romania. She was a decent intermediate skier, but she was concerned about being able to keep up with the guys. Knowing from experience that I was a lousy intermediate skier, she asked me if I wanted to keep her company. I readily agreed. We had a fabulous time skiing all over Romania, and when our compatriots returned home, we carried on together through northern Romania and then on to Budapest. Our relationship blossomed as we journeyed through Hungary. As I like to say, we fell in “like”on our sailing trip in Croatia, and fell in love in Romania. The rest is history. We were married in January of 2012 and are now living happily ever after in Magnolia, with our sailboat Rinpoche moored not too far away at Elliott Bay.

P.S. I should say that when I got together with Megan, I didn’t realize that she was a package deal. The other part of that deal was Fred Beckey. But that’s a story for another time.

Editor’s note: to learn more about Megan and Fred’s story, read “The Speed of Love.

Alan and Wendy.JPGWendy and Alan Vogt.

Alan & Wendy

Although they didn’t meet through The Mountaineers, we felt 17-year members Alan and Wendy Vogt’s Puget Sound love story merited inclusion as they embarked on their marriage during the start of their membership. Alan served as our Sailing Committee chair for a number of years and received the Seattle Branch Service Award in celebration of his volunteerism.

It was 1999, and Alan was celebrating his early retirement from contract work as an aerostructures engineer at Boeing. He was only in his 40s, and to pull it off he had decided to move out of his apartment and upgrade his sailboat from a Catalina 30 to a Catalina 42, allowing him to live onboard and maximize his time on the water. An official resident at Shilshole Marina, his weeks were full; Mondays he attended Seattle Singles Yacht Club meetings, Tuesdays were laundry, Wednesdays and Thursdays he sailed twice a day, and Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays were spent cruising around Puget Sound. Most of his time was spent getting to know the waters of the Northwest and taking groups out through the Yacht Club.

Meanwhile, Wendy was across town being convinced by a good friend to give the Yacht Club a chance. She had been single for 10 years, raised two boys, and was now living with her ailing mom as her caretaker. She needed a way to relax, and her friend wanted them both to check out the free club.

Wendy arrived at a club meeting to find over a hundred friendly people. While perusing sailing sign-ups in the hopes of finding a trip on the weekend, she was approached by Alan, who offered to take her out that Thursday. Although it was a work day, she took the plunge and agreed to take the day off and let him show her the ropes.

They hit it off. After only a few times on the water together, Alan asked Wendy to accompany him and his friends on an 11-day sailing trip across the South Sound. To his surprise, she accepted. They had a ball, getting to know one another that much better throughout the trip (although Wendy did have to take a brief foray to the hospital mid-trip after her shoulder fell out of its socket!).

Fast forward to April 2005, and Alan and Wendy found themselves in the British Virgin Islands, where Alan proposed on the water under the moon. They were married the following October in a hot air balloon during the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. That same year Alan and Wendy began a new journey together, joining The Mountaineers and continuing their adventures with our close-knit sailing community.


This article originally appeared in our summer 2022 issue of Mountaineer magazine. To view the original article in magazine form and read more stories from our publication, visit our magazine archive.

Lead Image of Sailing in Puget Sound. All photos by Alan Vogt.
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