Some come to sailing a little later in life. That doesn’t mean they love it any less. Often, it’s just the opposite.
Matt Florez and his wife Jane started sailing in their early twenties. Unlike many passionate sailors, they didn’t grow up sailing with their grandfathers on the bay. They both were very athletic and loved the outdoors, but Matt’s major passion had been in the sky. As a general aviation pilot, he had logged many flight hours over his native Southern California.
Then fate stepped in.
Matt suffered a broken back from a severe mountain biking accident that could have easily taken his life. His injuries required many months of hydrotherapy. As a result, Jane, an accomplished swimmer and water polo player, taught Matt how to swim. They both spent a great deal of time in the water and eventually after more then a year, he made a full recovery.
“One Fourth of July, Jane and I decided to head down to San Diego to kayak at the Mission Bay Yacht Club. After awhile, we had to clear the beach there for a private party the club was throwing, but a member asked us to hang around,” Matt recalled. “We had a blast and met some wonderful people who convinced us we should start sailing.”
Not ones to waste time, within a few weeks Matt and Jane had joined a yacht club and purchased a sailboat of their own, a vintage 1976 20-footer that was perfect to familiarize themselves with their newfound passion.
It wasn’t long before they outgrew their first boat and upgraded to a Beneteau 323. The Florezes’ chose South Coast Yachts when purchasing their 323 and that relationship has grown in the years since. Matt believes in his dealer as much as he does the quality of his Beneteau sailboat. “The team at South Coast Yachts are more than yacht brokers, they have an interest in you as a person. They have become part of our lives, friends for sure. I’ll never buy from anyone else," Matt explained.
"Growing up in San Diego, I always pictured raising a family on the water,” Jane said. They spent years cruising around in their 323. Eventually, they began to look for more of a challenge and decided to participate in South Coast’s Annual Beneteau Cup. "It was the spirit of competition that hooked us and led to our next purchase.”
The Florez family now are proud owners of a Beneteau First 35 Carbon Edition, christened ‘Orca’ which they, of course, purchased from South Coast Yachts. Matt learned early on she is a multi-talented boat. Not only is she great fun at local regattas, but she is perfectly at home cruising Southern California’s coastline with the whole family, which includes two young daughters and a couple of furry children too. Sailing has turned out to be the ultimate ‘de-stressor’ for Matt, as well as becoming an integral part of the Florez family. Nothing clears the head and puts things in perspective better than being on the water.
What will their next boat be? That’s something Matt and Jane are keeping close to the vest. “I’m still searching for our first win,” he laughed. “We are very happy with Orca.” Two things are highly likely though. It will probably be a Beneteau, and we’ll definitely buy it from our friends at South Coast Yachts.