A Brief Bio of Cap'n Fatty

Sea Gypsy

Cap’n Fatty Goodlander was born in 1952 and his family moved aboard the 1924 Alden 52-foot schooner Elizabeth the next year.

At 15, he purchased the 1932 Atkins double-ender Corina and lured his wife Carolyn aboard the following year.

Together they built an Ibold-designed Endurance ketch, Carlotta, at 19 years of age. They sailed her offshore until she was lost in 140 knots of wind during Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Days afterwards, they salvaged an awash S&S 38, Wild Card, for $3,000 and sailed it twice around the world.

In 2015, they stumbled across a ketch-rigged Amphitrite 43, Ganesh, lying on its portside with a tree growing between its mast and forestay—and resurrected her for their third circumnavigation.

Along the way, Fatty haphazardly attended school, became a professional actor, and then switched over to writing. He has almost never “worked for the man” ashore—always managing to sling enough ink to buy another fishhook and fetch the next port. “If you need to wear shoes or mingle with dirt-dwellers,” he says, “I just don’t get involved.”

Their daughter, Roma Orion, was born a third generation liveaboard. She left boat life to attend Brandeis University at 17 and went on to achieve an MBA a few years later. She has had a successful career in the non-profit sector in Boston, Amsterdam, and Singapore.

Now, Fatty and Carolyn regularly host Sokù and Tessa, their grandkids, in Tahiti, Southeast Asia, Africa, the Med, and the Caribbean.

Fatty has penned over a dozen marine books, won numerous literary awards, and is currently editor-at-large of Cruising World magazine.

“Every morning I awake to the challenge of treating myself slightly better,” says Fatty, “knowing full well that yesterday I treated myself pretty darn well. Why not? The tiller of my life is completely within my own hand—no one else’s. Why shouldn’t I kiss life full on the lips every day?”