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Darold and Joyce Maxwell have found a balance between land and sea. On land, they’re lawyers practicing full time in the Galveston, Texas, area. On sea, they’re competitive sailors who race occasionally and who have seen much of the world from the deck of a boat. Both learned to sail as adults and took to it like, well, fish take to water. Now, they own a 53-foot Pearson 530 named Moonstruck, perfect for long trips and an ideal home when they sail the seas. It wasn’t always this way. Darold used to work at a big downtown Houston firm, and Joyce was general counsel to a mortgage company. But they left big city lawyering to be on the water and have time to do the things they like. Now, Darold is managing partner of Maxwell Baker & McFatridge in League City, Texas, where he’s a tax attorney. His wife is of counsel at the firm and practices family law from her office in Galveston. Their house in Bacliff, Texas, is on Galveston Bay and Maxwell Baker is on South Shore Harbour. “I work full time practicing law, but I don’t spend a lot of time commuting,” Darold, 54, says. “My house is 11 miles away. I’m always near the water.” Joyce, 52, also likes the lifestyle in the Galveston area. “I’m doing what I want to do, and I don’t fight traffic,” she says. Darold grew up around water, in Vancouver, Wash., and Antioch, Calif., fishing from small boats and water skiing, but didn’t learn to sail until years later. After getting his undergraduate degree at the University of California at Santa Barbara, he went to Harvard Law School, where he received his J.D. in 1972. Then he headed to San Francisco for a job at Pillsbury Madison & Sutro and began sailing with a friend, eventually buying one-third interest in his boat. He had learned a little about sailing before, but not much. “I barely got the boat out,” he says of his sailing days in San Francisco Bay. “I kind of learned by doing.” In 1979, he began a two-year stint teaching at the University of Houston Law Center, where he still teaches frequently. From 1981 to 1984, he worked at Foreman and Dyess, then spent four years at Bonham, Carrington & Fox, where he was managing partner from 1986 to 1988. CONCRETE JUNGLE In 1986, he married Joyce, who lived across the street from a law partner and who was then a law student. She had learned to sail while getting her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University and continued sailing while attending South Texas College of Law in Houston, where she received her J.D. in 1984. “I started sailing and enjoyed it,” she says. “It was a relaxing way to read a law book.” The two spent their honeymoon on a sailboat, traveling for three months in the Bahamas. Two years later, tired of the rat race, they took more than a year off to sail again, in a trip that took them through the Caribbean islands. They brought along Joyce’s then-10-year-old son, who studied on board. When they returned, Darold had an interview with a downtown Houston firm. “I decided I didn’t want to go back,” he says. Joyce also wanted a change. She had worked at Bonham, Carrington & Fox before her marriage and then moved to Hirsch and Westheimer before becoming general counsel at Statewide Mortgage Co. in Webster, Texas. The Maxwells moved to Texas’ Clear Lake area in 1990 and established their practices. Darold has an agreement with his partners: Each individual can put in lots of time and make lots of money or forgo the killer hours and have a work schedule that allows time for activities outside the office. Although they work full time, the Maxwells are able to arrange their schedules to take long sailing trips. So, instead of seeing concrete outside his office window, Darold sees water and hundreds of boats. And he and Joyce continue to sail, including an occasional race. Two years ago, Joyce raced in the Harvest Moon Regatta from Galveston to Port Aransas, Texas, with an all-female crew. Last year, the two bought Moonstruck and spent a lot of time fixing the spacious boat. Darold started a five-week trip this month that will take him down to Mexico and Belize. Due to her case schedule, Joyce will be on board for two weeks, while various other crew members will be along for portions of the trip. The two have to keep on top of maintenance chores on these trips, Joyce says, but there’s still time to snorkel and enjoy the sea. “Some days, your biggest worry is how to mail a letter and other days it’s to make sure the engine’s going to run,” she says. The Maxwells plan to eventually explore the South Pacific while maintaining a base in Texas. The Moonstruck is ideal for an extended trip, they say. “We basically bought this boat because she’s an offshore cruising boat,” Joyce says. “You’ve got to have a dream.”

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