Meet Linny Martinson


Linny Martinson

Linny and her husband Marty live on their Nordic 44 sailboat in Emery Cove Yacht Harbor in Emeryville. Meggie, their 14 yr. old Border Collie is a part-time resident, as Emery Cove allows dogs to visit for the weekends. (She stays with their daughter during the week.)

Linny started sailing over 30 years ago, when she met Marty. They started with three different 14’ Hobie Cats, then moved onto 22’ Hunters – sailing on the calm lakes in the Midwest. Then they made a life change, doubled the size of their boat and now a 44’ Nordic serves as their home on the San Francisco Bay.

How did they get to Emeryville from Minnesota?

Freedom was lurking in the air when Linny and Marty realized were empty nesters. Their daughter lived in Concord, CA, and Linny’s best friend lived in Marin, so she had visited Marin County every other year of her adult life and daughter more often. The San Francisco Bay Area was a big draw for these sailors as it rang of familiarity and comfort. Plus, California would be an adventure. They decided to make the move.

Linny & daughter Sarah

It all came about two years ago with a visit to their daughter, who works in the building in Emeryville at 2100 Powell St. Linny’s husband and her daughter went for a walk down to the marinas after having lunch together.  Marty spotted For Sale signs on quite a few boats at Emery Cove Yacht Harbor and inquired about them at Michael Wiest Yacht Sales. “Three months later, we bought the boat,” Linny recalls. Then we started looking at Marinas. We wanted to be in the East Bay. After looking at about six marinas, there was no question that Emery Cove was the best. Plus, where else do you get a backyard like this (pointing to the water, looking towards the Berkeley hills)?”

How was the transition?

So, in September of 2012, they sold their house outside Minneapolis, MN, and moved into their boat in Emeryville, CA. When asked what the transition was like, Linny said, “To go from a four bedroom house to a 200 sq ft space was a big shock! But it was very freeing to give away all of our stuff. As we were driving out here, I felt that a huge burden had been lifted. And now I enjoy my days and don’t have to work at everything all the time. I couldn’t be happier. ”

And Meggie?

Meggie in life jacket

Meggie in life jacket

Meggie only tolerates the boat. She’s not a water dog.” However, Meggie is very good about wearing her life jacket and likes to ride up above to watch where they are going.

Crewmember Meggie

Meggie as crew

Marty works for the Antea Group, a consulting firm based in the Netherlands with an office in Walnut Creek. Not a big public transportation buff in the past, he now walks down to the Fire Station on Powell St. and takes the Emery Go Round to BART out to Walnut Creek, where his office is just steps away form the BART station. They have their bikes here for trips around town in their rental box provided by Emery Cove.

The worst part of the transition for Linny was to leave her friends and family. “I feel so blessed because of where we landed. Emeryville has everything we need!”

Where do they dine in Emeryville?

“We like to walk down to Roba’s Pizza & Pasta in the Watergate Shopping Center (at 2320 Powell St.).” The Martinsons have gotten to know the owners of Roba’s and feel welcome and part of the family. They also like the Public Market and Hot Italian, Doyle St. Café for breakfast and Café Biere on Adeline. Honor Kitchen & Cocktails on Powell at Hollis is a favorite for refined cocktails and upscale bar food.

Happy Hour?

Chevy’s and Trader Vic’s.


“As far as shopping in Emeryville, we don’t shop at Bay St. but we like to eat at their restaurants and go to the Theater. I don’t shop much. I already have too many clothes. There’s no room for anything else.” Linny goes to Trader Joe’s every other day and does her big shopping at Pak’N Save.

Life at Emery Cove

“First of all, Harbormaster Diane Isley makes Emery Cove head and shoulders above other marinas we checked out. And the live-aboard people here are fabulous. It ‘s a real community. We all love living on the water.  People have been outstanding – I never dreamed there would be so many live- aboards that were energetic and interesting people.”

Since the cockpit of their boat is their roomy back porch, they like to have people over to share a bottle of wine for Happy Hour and just pull their table down around the mast. Linny said that about once a week someone in the live-aboard community invites them for dinner. “The live-aboard community was really an extra surprise. We are so physically close walking by each other’s boats, it’s more intimate.”

Future plans?

They exercise their boat once a week to keep it in good shape. For Linny, learning to sail on the SF Bay was no walk in the park. “We learned a lot from people living in this community. Of course, if I had prepared myself by reading Latitude 38, I would have known more. It is serious sailing.“ In two years they plan to sail down to the Sea of Cortez, go through the Panama Canal and then into the Caribbean.

Marty Martinson at the helm with Linny

Marty Martinson at the helm with Linny

When Emeryville on the Bay visited with Linny, her husband was away on business. EOB was able to capture a few of his thoughts about the move and living in Emeryville by email.

Meet Marty Martinson

What was the transition like for you going from a home in MN to a 200 sq ft boat in Northern CA?

As Linny may have already told you, we lived in our MN home for 30 years during which we grew up two fantastic children into even better young adults. We had roots more from the kids in the small MN town of Mound (population 10,000, and interestingly, very similar Emeryville population!), and less so with neighbors and friends there. Overall once the family growing was over, and the kids went onto their adult lives, we felt a change was needed.

It’s always been a dream of mine to become a live-aboard sailor on a daily basis, always having the option to move at will, and to experience more of what the world offers. I’ve also enjoyed the transient nature of sailing, where the visitors to a location are the ‘transients’. The opportunities to experience new places and people are endless, but at the same time, sometimes intimidating. As Linny may have mentioned, she probably was not 100% sure this MN to CA move was smart or even good, and she needed to ease into the live-aboard, transient way of living. Over the last half-year I believe she gained more confidence in our decision to relocate and now feels a lot more comfortable with the new situation, while it was not a sure thing at all at the beginning.

Best part of transition – how did you feel?

Part of anyone’s apprehension of doing what we are doing is our age. From my perspective (see where the boat name – Perspective – came from?), being older does not mean retiring from living and experiencing life any less. It’s even more important these days to experience what we can while our good health continues. To me, being older means wiser and even more open to other ways of life experiences, and to avoid ‘hunkering down’ while adding on the years. And with the diversity of experiences offered in the SF Bay Area, particularly in Emeryville and at the Emery Cove Marina, this is a great jumping off location for the future journey out past the Golden Gate and turning left. Living aboard a sailboat has proven to be a wonderful way to enjoy and try it all.

Most difficult part?

Possessions: Cleaning out the house and memories of 30+ years was definitely the most challenging part of this move for us. It was amazing to find out how much storage and stuff we had in that MN house! And then to quickly decide what to keep and what to jettison! Then packing all that remained for the 3-day drive across the U.S., and upon arrival and unloading, we realized we did not get rid of enough stuff. We further reduced the possessions, keeping enough for an apartment contingency plan, but now that possibility seems more remote than ever. Another garage sale is coming up this summer to finally reduce the possessions to another level, even smaller than the 10 by 15 foot storage unit we currently use.

What do you like about Emery Cove?

The people, the location, and the weather. We truly lucked out selecting Emery Cove Marina as our initial SF Bay home base, and not knowing if we would need to try another marina down the road. Diane, Mike, and their staff manage one of the best SF Bay marinas. The other live-aboard residents all have been friendly and many have become good friends – a variety of interesting stories and backgrounds for the community of people living there. The location is great for quick access to the best parts of the SF Bay sailing (under the Golden Gate in 1-2 hours!) and into other locations like downtown SF, Alameda, South Bay, Sausalito, Tiburon, Angel Island, San Rafael, San Pablo Bay, Vallejo, and up into the Delta in a half-day of sailing. And being a native of MN, I find the SF Bay area weather to be just fine, but then again my definition of cold is way lower than less than 50 degrees. It’s all about perspective.

What do you like about Emeryville?

We like the availability and access to services, restaurants, shopping, bars, entertainment, access to mass transit, and easy travel through Emeryville. The City of Emeryville has done a great job to create a distinctive character and to make this town area attractive to anyone looking for a community. People here are very friendly.