A native of England, forty-six-year-old Chris Grill was working as a machine mechanic in upstate New York when his dream began of taking a road less traveled. He says he can’t remember exactly what started it, but he recalls being discontent with the daily routine of his life. Chris wanted to move to Mexico, build his own sailboat, and sail along the coast of Central America. He chose his route, the places on the map, based on the challenges he expected they would present: maximum challenge for maximum adventure.

He was not an experienced sailor by any means, but over a two-year span of trial and error Chris constructed his own sailboat, measuring twenty two feet long and ten feet wide, weighing just under 400 pounds. What did he name this engineering feat? The only name suitable was Desperado. When people hear his remarkable story, they assume him to be crazy. While he may be just that, his determination perhaps matches anyone’s who seeks obstacles to overcome, goals that may elude. It took Chris 13 months to sail from his starting point just south of Veracruz, Mexico to Panama, stopping along the way in numerous local villages and sleeping in a tent at night on whatever land was nearby. Chris says the best part of this experience was meeting the local people wherever he stopped. He was able to cultivate relationships with them that are unknown to anyone else. The worst, however, was devastating loneliness while sailing 8 to 10 hours each day.


The Bocas Breeze is a digital and print newspaper proudly serving the Bocas del Toro community since 2004; reporting news, advertising local businesses and promoting tourism in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

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