Moderator:  Ralph Naranjo

Guest Speaker:  Carol Christensen


Ralph Naranjo

Ralph Naranjo turned an interest in club racing and overnight cruising into a five-year family voyage around the world. Through lessons learned the hard way, he and his wife Lenore developed vital seamanship skills, outfitted their 41 foot sloop Wind Shadow and in 1976, with little fanfare, set sail —headed for trade wind latitudes and more than their fair share of voyaging adventures.

The course they set led them to tropical seas and landfalls in Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji and even more remote outposts of Polynesia. They wintered over in Bora Bora and the following year sailed on to New Zealand. After 18 months as Kiwi residents, they sailed across the storm tossed Tasman Sea — a tough challenge offset by an easy reach up Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Setting sail from Darwin, they island hopped across the Indian Ocean, calling in ports from Bali to Mauritius. Finally, they tackled fickle weather and high seas on their way around the Cape of Good Hope. A gale ushered them into the welcome shelter of Cape Town. The friendly trade winds of the South Atlantic swept them on toward Brazil and a return to North America.

The big challenge for the Naranjo’s was what to do after the five-year voyage came to a conclusion. Their answer was a delicate balance that involved keeping their boat, moving ashore, turning careers in education into a marine industry commitment and seeing the children transition to school ashore. Over the next decade, there would be a blend of life ashore and more seafaring adventure — another year long family cruise and an unusual link between suburbia and the lure of Gulf Stream crossings.   

Ralph Naranjo has been a familiar voice in the marine community for more than 30 years. His writing and photography is as likely to depict an offshore adventure as it is to profile a DIY boat project.

During his tenure as the Vanderstar Chair at the U.S. Naval Academy, he helped organize sail training and seamanship training and played a key role in the development of the navy's latest 44-foot sloops.

For over 15 years, he has moderated US Sailing Safety at Sea Seminars across the country, and is an adjunct lecturer at the Annapolis School of Seamanship. His latest book The Art of Seamanship is both a narrative and a how-to text focused on navigation, weather awareness, vessel selection and small craft voyaging.


Carol Christenson

Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Weather Service, Duluth, MN

Carol is outreach and services coordinator at the Duluth weather office.   She is responsible for communicating with NWS customers to ensure their needs are being met.  She coordinates emergency  communications and needs between the NWS and local, county, state and federal emergency planners.  She also directs the preparedness education program.  She loves talking about the weather, so a favorite part of her job is speaking with and to groups of all ages. 

Carol received a B. S. degree in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She has been with the NWS for 34 years and has worked at various weather offices in the Midwest.  As an amateur radio operator Carol volunteers annually for Grandma's Marathon and hopes to do more volunteering after retirement. In her spare time she likes to garden, play guitar, hike and bike.

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