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|Shelagh grew up in Sussex, England and has always had a love of the ocean. Her early years were spent a few blocks from the ocean, but it was the rugged coast of Cornwall in the South West of England that really drew her, very reminiscent of the coast of Maine.
In 1978 the urge to travel took priority and the first stop was the Mediterranean port of Antibes, in France. From there Shelagh worked her passage on various boats until reaching Antigua in the Caribbean on 23rd December, just in time for a Caribbean Christmas. Quite a change from the damp and chilly English winter!
A couple more Atlantic crossings followed after travels to South America, New Orleans (for Mardi Gras) and Florida. At this point, with the support of a partner, Shelagh began selling jewelry, handcrafted by fellow sailors, from boat to boat throughout the Caribbean. In 1984 she bought her first boat, an engineless 26' Ecume de Mer, named Dolphin Dream. Dolphin Dream taught her much about sailing single-handed and provided a comfortable home for Shelagh and her boat cat, Didi.
In 1986 the urge to do more offshore sailing took over and after much research Shelagh ended up buying a Rival 34 in England. That winter she joined an old friend and sailed back to the Caribbean to raise necessary cash for a refit. In 1987 she returned to England and spent 4 months with her father refitting the new boat, Dolphin Dancer, before sailing across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, her first crossing as captain. Dolphin Dancer has proved an excellent sea boat and has Shelagh's pride and joy. In recent years she has moved down to a 22' Westerly Nomad.
In 1988 Dolphin Dancer carried Shelagh to Venezuela for the summer and then in 1989 north to spend a summer cruising the East Coast. Due to crew requests Maine was the first stop and Shelagh fell in love with the rugged coastline. She spent the winter in Maine refitting and did head south for one more Caribbean winter.
In 1991 Shelagh became a US resident and by 1992 was starting Dolphin Designs with her own line of jewelry. In 2003 this web site was launched allowing her to reach out to people all over the world. To date Dolphin Designs has shipped jewelry as far afield as England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Israel and Thailand.
Making a difference is very important and on select items Shelagh donates 25% of retail sales to relevant organizations such as loon research in Maine, wild dolphin research and cat rescue. (She lives with 7 rescue cats.)
Living as responsibly as possible has always been a part of Shelagh's life. Recycling has been routine and when her home sold in July 2007 she built a passive solar super insulated timber frame building as a home and business. It is off grid and solar powered, a return to independent days living aboard Dolphin Dancer with wind and solar power. A composting toilet has been installed and all vegetable and pine cat litter is composted.
Living in Maine is deeply inspiring and her jewelry reflects her passion for the ocean and the beauty found all around. It is Shelagh's hope that her jewelry uplifts and inspires all who love sailing, the ocean and nature.
© 2003-2013 Dolphin Designs