We are the
Grafs, Sharon and Michael, of Springfield, Illinois, proud owners of the
Larabeck, a 42-foot yacht. Sharon is an ethnomusicologist at the University
of Illinois at Springfield. Michael is an engineer who can build or fix
just about anything and who caught the sailing bug at a very young age.
interview of Michael and Sharon about how the Larabeck dream
became a reality.
got its name
We left Florida
in early May, 2010, sailing to the Panama Canal, the Galapagos Islands,
and our longest trek--3000 miles--to the Marquesas Islands! We have meandered
through French Polynesia, Niue, the Cook Islands, Tonga, and the eastern
shore of the north island New Zealand. We toured NZ's south island by car
with friends, then stayed in Auckland where Sharon researched south pacific
music and culture at the University of Auckland. In late April, we returned
to Tonga, spending the summer exploring it and the islands of Fiji.
to Springfield in August to resume teaching. Michael sailed from Fiji to
From there, he and two new crew members, Megan and Tom, sailed to Ile
Huon and Chesterfield
Reef in northern New
Caledonia. They arrived in Bundaberg,
November 14. Michael spent the rest of November preparing the boat to sell
the Larabeck and has just sold it to an Australian buyer. Michael
is now en route (via air) back home to Springfield. Stay tuned for more