Member Spotlight: Long term liveaboard and retired RYA Instructor Keith welcoming ocean nomads sailing crew

a group of people on a sailboat taking a selfie.

Every now and then we publish one in-depth story from an Ocean Nomads member. To learn more about each other, to learn from each other, inspire and be inspired, and to accelerate our journeys. 

This week we shine a light on Keith Riley. Keith is a true seaman who lived practically his whole life at sea, owned a sailing school for 15 years, sailed around the world a couple of times and the Atlantic about a 30 times, and choosing ocean life above everything else. He doesn’t own a smart phone and likes to keep it like that. He has a set of colorful sunglasses to always keep the sun shining on board his vessel, no matter the weather.

About Keith

sailing the atlantic

Keith is a Founding Ocean nomads member and chose to join the family to attract more companionship and adventurers of all walks of life on his vessel. It makes the ocean adventures more fun, safe, and meaningful. Numerous Ocean Nomads have already joined him on board, including, Carola, Stuart, and also Michal and Allesandra have crossed seas with him.

Sailing Crew Opportunities

Every now and then he is looking for crew. Current crewing possibilities with Keith (Summer 2021): Sailing the Azores Islands and if all happy to sail ON to the ocean nomads gathering in Galicia. And if all happy you can sail with him from mainland Spain to the Canary Islands as crew.

Jumping on board with Keith

Also, Keith and I recently crossed seas. With the dedicated Ocean Nomads member Keith is, I had to experience for myself what it’s like to sail with this legend. He is one of the few out there who actually sails, explorers, no matter the news, he just goes for it. With Ocean Nomads we aim to facilitate connection to the ocean and each other, and Keith is one of those who acts and does, not just dreams.

A few notes about this spontaneous Ocean Nomads adventure celebrating the love for the ocean and experiencing the beauty of community.

That is Keith sailing on the horizon

I received a message from vessel founding member Keith that he dropped anchor in Fuerteventura. Keith is a true seaman who lived practically his whole life at sea, sailed around the world a couple of times and sailed the Atlantic about 30 times, and choosing ocean life above everything else. I was invited onboard and for a sail in the Canaries. I didn’t hesitate a second, made my way, and took my little SUP vessel to meet Keith and the other crew member Nevio. 

We ended up chatting until late, I spent the night on board, and the next day I dropped the SUP back to my nomad machine aka ‘Jacques Pedro’, swam back to the boat, and soon after we lifted the anchor and head of north. We had a full-day sail involving lots of reefing, tacking, salty spray, pilot whale action, and laughs.

Good to feel those sea legs again, wake up on anchor, experience I can still operate on an angle and steer a boat, to experience the super solid 33 ft liveaboard vessel, and all the smart simple features Keith created over the years for safety and efficiency, but above all to get to know a fellow ON member, his salty spirit, stories, and share some good times!

To future nomads on board considering sailing as crew with Keith, you’ll be in good hands with tons of possibilities to learn and accelerate your sailing skills ocean nomad dreams. He’s happy to teach as much or little as you like, respectful towards the veggie and vegan diets (though not veggie himself), the way you have your tea, fun and easy peasy to share liveaboard life with. He possibly has sailed with more than 1000 crew members so is very aware of living with a variety of personalities in a small space. He sets the expectations clear at the beginning of the trip so it’s easier to identify if it’s a good match. For example, Keith smokes on deck (for now, he wants to quit). It’s a little habit you have to be comfortable with. Also, he sets a few requirements for the crew, in everyone’s best interest.

Keith’s contribution to the fleet excels in his willingness to teach sailing, seamanship, and all that comes with liveaboard living. On a consistent basis, he offers crew opportunities and that is really cool. He helps to make sailing accessible for those on a little budget, in a safe manner. And with good character, respect, and humbleness.

Sometimes vessels are fully aligned with your values and preferences. This is hard to find though. On the +60 vessels, I’ve sailed on as crew not one was veggie AND smoke-free. That’s one reason I started organizing trips myself.

Other ocean nomads values include healthy and regenerative living, including veggie diets and action towards a healthier ocean. In our trips and expeditions, we put emphasis on this.

To wrap it up

Last but not least, I was gifted a coconut AND grill. There was no better possible present. Have you ever tried grilled coconuts? There’s nothing like it! Best food excitement out there! Well, the best possible present was perhaps the compliment on my book Ocean Nomad. “I want all his crew to read Ocean Nomad before jumping on board with me“, he said. To have a long-term captain and sailing instructor saying that, is a huge compliment and motivation to keep going providing you all the resources for happy, safe and meaningful sailboat ride.

The next day, I took the seamen for a little exploration around Fuerteventura with ‘Jacques Pedro’ so they could get a little sense of place. When pretty much your whole life you see the perspective from the sea, it was priceless to give a little bit back and show the seaman the ocean from the perspective of the land. We visited the rough west coast, explored some caves, got saltier, and explored a few mysteries we spotted from sea, now by land. Keith wrote a lovely report from the seaman on this land adventure too.

A little report of the sailing trip from Keith

(originally posted on the Member Hub)

“Kinetic had spent the night at anchor in the sheltered bay just east of Morro Jable on the Island of Fuerteventura. Suzanne joined us via swimming from the beach so at the beginning of the voyage she was the most salty. Up came the anchor after a hearty breakfast. The wind forecast was north / north east force 3 or 4. Up went the main sail with one reef to account for the gusts, out came some Genoa and away we went. Our destination was 20 miles upwind to Gran Tarajal. The happy smiling trio of to have some adventures. We passed the headland and in went the second reef to accommodate that we were out from the Lee of the land. A little more Genoa was rolled away and Kinetic found her groove with 15-degree heel, ploughing through the waves pushing up a bow wave with a few splashes sweeping the deck. Nevio and I were catching up Suzanne on the salty body wash. Time for the famous hospitality of Kinetic, cookies and tea, several different ones tasted and each one given a scale. The orange and ginger digestive ones were voted favourite.

The miles slide past with the beautiful rugged coastline, sandy beach, mile after mile, dunes of sand behind. The description by the late Bernard Moitessier, author of many good-quality sailing journals, in my opinion. Said the Island looks like a moonscape carved in sand. Tack followed tack, Nevio was the navigator for the day and kept us going in the correct direction and away from all dangers. Reefs were taken out and put back in to suit the conditions. The Genoa was also adjusted to suit the conditions. The car going back and forth along the track to keep our telltales horizontal. 

We spotted some Pilot Whales!

The helmsman was rotated. Myself was allowed to be a galley boy and was trusted to produce lunch which was an interesting assortment of what was found from leftover dinner come salad adjusted to suit individual tastes. I got a vote of thanks. By late afternoon we were at our destination. Suzanne was volunteered by me to be radio operations officer and a berth was secured.
The next morning our day began with a happy refreshing cup of tea in the cockpit. Suzanne found the showers, Nevio tested them and said cool and invigorating. I decided another day being salty should be tried.

We hope that you all enjoyed your Sunday as much as we did. We certainly laughed a lot and the quote of the trip was “ we all need each other “

You can read more of Keith’s trip reports on the Member Hub. Follow and connect with Keith here on the ocean nomads member hub and who knows jump on board with him as sailing crew!

This is just one example of the spontaneous ocean nomads meet-ups and team-ups out there.  Together we can make it all more fun, safe and meaningful. Explore nomads, vessels, sailing crew opportunities, projects near you ON the MAP, and join the conversation and events on our member platform to get out there too. We also have expeditions and events planned facilitating more ocean adventure and impact , fully aligned with the ON values. Remote we’ll go this autumn (Sailing Netherlands – Madeira and Madeira – Canary Islands) and you can apply now! 

Thoughts? Questions? Comment and connect!

Would you like to connect with more oceanminded nomadic adventurers like Keith? Join our family!

Would you like to share your story amongst our tribe of oceanminded adventure souls? Become a member and reach out to a host. By sharing your story you will encourage, inform and inspire others towards a more adventurous alternative and/or conscious lifestyle, you can show the ocean nomads community about your personal adventure and impact projects, and attract the connections that will contribute to your life.

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