About us and our boat
About Daria & Alex
Daria and Alex Blackwell are lifelong sailors and passionate cruisers. They have completed three Atlantic crossings and spent years cruising the coasts of the Americas and Europe, as well as the Bahamas, the Caribbean islands, and the Atlantic islands, most recently double-handing on their vintage Bowman 57 ketch, Aleria. Daria holds a USCG Captain’s license. Alex holds a USCG Master’s license with sailing and towing endorsements. Daria and Alex are members of OCC and ICC. Both are also members of SSCA, Mayo Sailing Club and American Yacht Club. They are also the OCC and TransOcean Port Officers for the West of Ireland and the SSCA cruising station for Ireland. Daria is a member of the OCC Committee as well as their first PR Officer and Digital Communications Chairman.
Daria and Alex are frequent authors about their sailing adventures, contributing to Yachting World, Cruising Outpost, Cruising World, Classic Boat, Practical Boat Owner, Latitudes & Attitudes Seafaring, Ireland Afloat, Offshore, Windcheck, Points East, Soundings, Flying Fish and elsewhere. For many years, they served as the webmasters for American Yacht Club and launched the popular www.CoastalBoating.net, “the boaters’ resource for places to go and things to know”. As founders of Sail4Kids Make a Memory Cruise, the Blackwells were recognized with prestigious awards by the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, American Yacht Club and the International Society for Perpetuation of Cruelty to Racing Yachtsmen.
The Blackwells have both enjoyed professional careers as copywriters, marketers and speakers. Daria is a biochemist by training and global medical marketing specialist by profession. She served as President of Bozell Global Healthcare in NJ and S&H, Division of Y&R and WPP in New York City. She was elected President of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association in 2004 and founded the Europe Chapter, for which she was recognized with the HBA STAR award in 2011.
Alex was a partner in Stardesign, a marketing support services firm in the US. Alex’s first book, Oyster Delight by Jonathan Mite, is a tribute to his lifelong interest in oysters, having launched an oyster hatchery in Ireland after being awarded a Master’s degree in Fisheries Biology from Kiel University. Alex is now working on his third novel, an action packed thriller and the third in ther Butterfly Effect series. Together they have also published Tales of Onyx, the Cruising Kitty in 2016. Daria is working on the final edit of her first novel, The Naked Truth, and a historical memoir called The Unwilling Immigrant.
|Onyx, the Cruising Kitty|
Alex is fluent in German and Daria speaks fluent Ukrainian. Alex grew up in Ireland, while Daria hails from the east coast of the US. They set sail in 2008 for a yearlong sabbatical while moving to Ireland. Many thousands of miles later they are perpetually preparing for their next big adventure. When they are not sailing, they live in Westport, County Mayo with five kittens that adopted them one cold winter. Sadly, their cruising kitty, Onyx, perished with cancer after crossing the Atlantic three times. We like to think she had a good life.
Aleria is a Bowman 57 designed by Holman & Pye, the legendary British yacht design team that went on to design Oysters. You can see her lines in the lines of the first Oysters. Her hull was laid in 1975 and she was finished in 1976, commissioned as Manic Moment by the child prodigy pianist, Andre Watts. We have little information about his time with her. Next she was acquired by a couple who wanted to run charters in the Caribbean. They re-outfitted her, renamed her Kestrel and sailed her to the Caribbean, where we were told, the woman swore never to sail again. She was sold to a young couple who had met while working on tall ships in Maine. They took her, now named Papagayo, on a circumnavigation during which they had two children. They returned to integrate the kids into school on the Chesapeake Bay, where we acquired her and named her, Aleria. The name derives from Alex and Daria and means eaglet in Latin, which we thought was appropriate given her graceful flight with many wings. Our white seahorse personal signal is derived from the personal signal of the 16th C Irish pirate queen, Granuaille, a direct ancestor of Alex's step father. Does that make us pirates? Aarrrrrggghh!
|Aleria flying her whites seahorse spinnaker|