About Us

Matthew and Jessica met on the Azorean island of Faial in the summer of 2006. After Matt sailed off, they remained friends despite not re-meeting for over two years. Good timing brought them back together in 2009 and they bought Heart’s Desire in 2010. This crew of two set sail for the summer of 2014 on their first adventure over 4 months in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Maine. They have since been living on Martha’s Vineyard. They live in a house for the winter and on Heart’s Desire in the summer. Here is a little more information about us!

Matt sailing on San Francisco Bay.

Matt sailing on San Francisco Bay.

El Capitan, Mr. Fix It & Photographer
After spending the first few years of his life on his parents sailboat, Matt was destined to always live near the sea. Learning on his father’s boat on San Francisco Bay, and participating in the Sail and Life Training Society (SALTS) program out of Victoria, B.C., his interest in all types of sailing was seeded.
After college Matt rapidly escaped from L.A. and returned to the UK where he had spent his best college year in a study abroad program. He was introduced to boat building by getting an apprenticeship as a shipwright for the historic Camper and Nicholson yard in Gosport, England. A while later, with his visa expired and undecided what to do with himself, he applied to grad schools and boat yards, and decided to take whichever responded the most positively. Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway, on Martha’s Vineyard, MA, was the first to reply.
Despite loving the job, after working as a shipwright at G&B for four years, Matt felt it was time to move on. He worked briefly at the Maritime National Historic Park in his native San Francisco, then moved to Kingston, Ontario with Jessica. Luckily his unemployment while she was in school gave him the time to search for a boat. Just in time for the cold Canadian winter, he found Heart’s Desire in warm St. Thomas, USVI.
Going back to Martha’s Vineyard with his new baby was the obvious first move, as the area is full of passionate sailors, dedicated craftsmen, and many other wooden boats.
Heart’s Desire has meant less time for Matt’s other hobbies like photography, reading and theatre, but he hopes, with most major repairs now complete, he’ll be able to get back into these diversions as he sails the big blue.


Jess in Alaska

Jess in Alaska

First Mate, Chef extraordinaire & Organizer
Growing up in Ottawa, ON, Jessica spent a lot of time outdoors and summer time at a family cabin near Kingston, ON. A love of the water led her to canoeing, kayaking and water polo, but she had never spent time near the ocean until moving to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2004. A  sense of adventure and the promise of outdoor field trips led her to study environmental science (geology & ecology) over her four years there. During this time she developed an interest in water quality issues and the North. The draw of the vast and unique environment of northern latitudes led her to field courses in Alaska followed by a master’s project studying the geochemistry of mine waste in the Northwest Territories. This led to two field seasons in northern Alaska working for the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA in the winters. More recently she began studying ocean radioactivity at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution also in Woods Hole, MA
; a short ferry commute from the Vineyard.
Prior to moving to Martha’s Vineyard, Jessica had only sailed on small boats on the Ottawa river & Northwest Arm (Halifax). She has since become a seasoned sailor and hopes to continue the adventures in a few years. 


Leroy the boat cat!

Moth catcher, deck scratcher & dodger climber
Leroy is the newest member of our crew and joined us in July 2015. As a kitten he enjoyed running around the deck, climbing up on the sails and sitting in the companionway while sailing. He is a surprisingly apt swimmer and has successfully climbed back on the boat himself a few times now. After winter on land he was extremely unhappy back on the boat but tolerated it a second year. He stayed on land the last two summers and has gone on some long adventures running away from where we put him. He now sports a GPS collar and we hope will stay put.



  1. Hi guys,my name is Chris Oneil and my partner is Alison.
    Our friend Brooke introduced us at your work Matt.
    After I left you at Gannon and Benjamin we spent an hour aboard chantey.
    Long enough for me too realize I want a boat that is a little better looking and and a little faster.
    So why not a malabar!
    Love to hear your thoughts.
    All the best,chris

  2. Ahoy HEART’S DESIRE!! Met you in NFLD in 2014. We are planning to visit the Vineyard in August. Sent a separate email to Jess. Hope to reconnect with you.
    Chris Bill and Flaco the sailing dog

  3. Matt,

    My name is Parker Homans. My family used to own the Hearts Desire (perhaps at its beginning in 1925). We have a home on MV and noticed her in harbor. We would love to see the boat if you all are available this weekend. Let us know! Thank you!!

    Parker Homans

  4. Just wanted to say hello. My Dad, Frank Kane, owned Heart;s Desire on Nantucket Island in the late 90’s to early 2000;s. I have been trying to find her and get a photo as he is now quite elderly and has been asking about her. Are you guys still on the Vineyard? I live on the Cape. Would love to come over this spring and get some pics

    1. Hi Carrie,
      I hope you received my email responding but thought I would also reply here in case there is an issue. We are currently on the vineyard and you are welcome to visit and take photos, though I’d wait until the spring!
      Just send us an email and we’ll figure out a good time.
      Jessica & Matt

      1. Thank you! I will definitely wait til spring and will Give you a heads up before I come over. Carrie

  5. Dear Matt & Jess,
    What a pleasure meeting you both on top of Duck Harbor Mountain on Isle au Haut.
    We were after migrating hawks but bumped into you migrating south.
    Love the website!
    If you ever need a place to stay when visiting NYC, email me. I live in Hastings on Hudson, just north of Manhattan.
    Best of life to you both,

  6. We met up with Rob (Jessica’s Dad) & her Mum last night at a tête a tête aboard a power boat in Confederation Basin in Kingston ( we sail a ’83 Catalina). The stories that were hearing led us to take advantage of wifi to explore the great adventures. I am now craving things all made with berries. We’re now heading off to the 40 acres to make our way back to our home port outside of Cornwall. May the wind be at your back!

  7. Sounds like a great team! We’re sure you’ll enjoy this voyage as much as we did Matt’s first sailing trip to Baja with us. Just keep cool and remember that the ocean is always the first boss.

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