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Sailing Cita, An Interview

A few weeks ago, Madison, MITA’s Communications Manager, had a conversation with Lauren Topchik about her sailing journey and hopes to sail around the world. Learn more about Lauren’s sailing journey in this short film by Anna Burns.

Tell us more about yourself!

My name is Lauren Topchik and I am 21 years old. I grew up on the Coast of Maine boating with my family. I now own my own boat which I live aboard all summer while documenting my projects and adventures on Instagram @sailingcita.

Lauren taking the wheel at a young age.

How and when did you start sailing?

Although I had been exposed to sailing from a young age, I didn’t become totally involved until I started working at Centerboard Yacht Club in South Portland in 2017. While running the launch at the club, I learned about the joys the sailing lifestyle and I met some of my biggest inspirations. I worked there with my best friend Tegan and we sailed every chance we had. We also loved listening to stories of far-off adventures from members and transients that came through the club. It wasn’t long before we schemed up our own dream to sail around the world after we graduate college.

Tegan and Lauren at Centerboard Yacht Club in South Portland, ME.

What is one of your favorite memories aboard a sailboat?

There are so many moments that truly put me at a loss of words. Sometimes simple and spontaneous nights out on Casco Bay can mean more than planned excursions or weeklong escapes. I remember one July day last summer, I brought out some friends for a quick sunset cruise to Portland Head light and back. As we returned to the harbor, we pointed into the sun, which was setting perfectly over the Portland skyline, my friend Julia sat on the bow and experienced the true beauty of sailing for her first time. Sharing that feeling with people you love never gets old, and I will be forever thankful for small moments like these. 

Lauren’s friend Julia enjoys a sunset cruise in Casco Bay.

What does your perfect day sailing on the Maine coast look like?

Throughout my travels sailing, I have met some amazing sailors who have seen the world. Every time I meet or crew with someone from away, I always say the same thing. There is nothing like sailing season in Maine. I am so thankful to base out of the Calendar Islands of Casco Bay and to be a part of the Maine sailing community. A perfect day on the Maine Coast is spent with friends and family under the sun with wind in the sails, eventually ending up at one of our favorite islands where we swim and enjoy the summer weather. When the sun sets, we celebrate with a fire on the rocks before dinghying back to the boat to go to bed sun kissed and content.

Cita on a mooring in Casco Bay.

What made you decide to sail around the world?

After hearing stories of adventures and voyages from other cruisers, Tegan and I knew that we had to follow in their footsteps. We love the ocean and we love the sailing lifestyle, why not sail around the world? What started as a far-fetched dream of travel and living off the grid, soon became a reality for us as we were gifted an opportunity to learn and gain experience sailing.  

In 2019, I was gifted Cita, a 1975 O’Day 25’ by a complete stranger who heard about my dream to sail around the world. Since then, I have made her my own by tackling projects and learning everything I can about maintaining a boat, boat ownership, and sailing. By living aboard Cita, she became more to me than I ever could have imagined, and I am thankful every day for the act of kindness that made our dream of sailing the world more achievable. She is a humble platform with a small galley, v-birth and modest living space. A perfect home for me during the summer!

Lauren poses with the kind stranger who gifted Cita to Lauren.

What is one thing you are looking forward to during your sail?

I think that Tegan and I can agree that when we set off on our big sail, we are both looking forward to embracing the lifestyle, falling into island time, and taking on all the challenges that come our way with passion and excitement. We know that it will not be easy,. Sailing is a humbling sport; one that we both have so much more to learn about. We cannot wait to take those challenges head on and grow as sailors and people.

Sailing Cita

Favorite island to visit?

Such a hard question! We are so spoiled here on the coast of Maine, but my favorite is probably Jewell Island. Only ~9 nm from Portland, Jewell is a guaranteed good time for the Cita Crew! One of my favorite parts about owning a boat has been sharing the Coast of Maine with my friends from college who have never experienced the beauty of the ocean before, and Jewell is a great environment for hiking, swimming, fires, and experiencing the brilliance of nature we are so lucky to coexist with. 

A drone shot of Jewell Island.