Meet Members of the Beneteau Family


Liza Copeland is not the usual ex-pat. We had the honor of interviewing her in May before she escaped to another adventure with her husband, Andy.

Liza Copeland is not the usual ex-pat. We had the honor of interviewing her in May before she escaped to another adventure with her husband, Andy.

The Copelands Meet Beneteau

 Liza and Andy, a partner in the largest sailboat dealership on the Canadian West Coast, were first introduced to the Beneteau brand at the London Boatshow in 1982 and, with 3-month old Jamie, they toured the factory early in 1983. “We noticed the appealing designs and advanced construction methods. The layup area was so clean and worked by happy women. Beneteau’s work stations were also impressive and the whole production an efficient formula.”

In Liza’s opinion, Beneteau was on the leading edge of boat manufacturing, good quality and excellent value, and a great addition to the dealership and their own personal use. They also found company staff helpful, attentive and receptive to their comments. “Our first Beneteau was the early version of the First, purchased in 1983 and were able to suggest modifications to the company.”

In 1985, they replaced their first Beneteau with their second First 38S Bagheera, taking delivery on the Bay of Biscay to start long-term cruising in a region conducive to family cruising. “A manageable, comfortable performance boat, suitable for ocean cruising with a good living interior,” was our criteria. Forty-foot long and a stable, fast, easily handled, roomy below with excellent storage, it has proved to be the perfect boat.

At this point, the young family with three boys aged 2, 6 and 9 had a two-year offshore cruising plan. They gradually increased Bagheera’s equipment with radar, an SSB radio and GPS for the last six months as their itinerary expanded from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, across the Pacific to Australia then to the Indian Ocean and around the Cape of Good Hope, back to the Caribbean. Six years later, in 1991, they returned home so the older boys could attend high school.

In 1998, Liza and Andy decided to take to the sea again and spent the next decade dividing the year with home life in Vancouver and cruising the North and Central American coasts. A nephew’s wedding took them back to the Mediterranean with further voyages to the Black Sea, West Africa and South America.

To date, Bagheera has taken the Copelands over 160,000 nautical miles to 114 countries which includes 4000nm sailed during their recent cruises in the U.S. and Canadian Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

Popular Places, Magical Memories & Approaching Adventures

Although Liza enjoys cruising everywhere, favorite places include the Caribbean and Mediterranean for their beautiful waters, for cruising and for their diverse culture, sights, history and food. The mountains, many islands and sea life along the shores of British Columbia and Alaska also hold a special place in her heart along with magical memories of the Galapagos Islands and East Africa.

Liza has endless memories of yachting experiences and highlighted:

  1. The peace of relaxing on board when watching the sun go down and fading sunset skies.

  2. Seeing the same ‘green flash’ three times in Guatemala with the rise and fall of the ocean waves.

  3. The French Polynesian atolls where, “we met locals, caught fish and made the coconut milk that they were poached in while being entertained by music, songs and dancing into the night.”

Liza and Andy’s latest trip involved heading to the San Juan Islands and West coast of Vancouver Island for two months and joining up in an Ocean Cruising Club gathering, an international club based in England for long-distance cruisers. During the next six months they plan to be back in the Caribbean and Mediterranean with a spring trip to Sweden with friends. “We love returning to places we enjoyed as well as going to new destinations with friends who live there. It’s always great being in the cruising community and into a new adventure.”

When asked if they had any traveling or boating tips for other Beneteau customers, Liza answered, “Get out there and do it! Don’t put off cruising. You don’t have to go off for 6 years, you don’t have to circumnavigate. Have fun and use your boat. It is rewarding, relaxing. You will meet people; locals and cruisers who will widen your horizons and perceptions of the world.”


Liza is the award-winning, best-selling author of Just Cruising, Still CruisingComfortable Cruising and Cruising for Cowards, co-authored with husband, Andy. She also writes for many yachting magazines, gives seminars at major boat shows worldwide and gives frequent talks for a variety of clubs and organizations.