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Free Range Human, Sailor, Writer, Artist, Videographer  

Monday, May 20, 2013

What Makes a Good Cruising Sailboat?

HideAway Anchored Off Caladesi Island Dunedin, Florida 
Two sailboats lying at the end of "C" Dock in our sailing club marina in Gulfport Fl.  One, a fully found Catalina 30 of mid 80's vintage, the other a mostly lost Com-pac 23 hull #2, a very early version of the latest Com-pac 23 IV.  HideAway is often described as the same boat unburdened by any of the new boat's amenities.

Both boats were leaving the same day for a week long cruise.  The Catalina float plan pointed them south to Charlotte Harbor, Fl with the option of staying longer while the HideAways plan wandered the opposite direction to Anclote Key near Tarpon Springs for no more than a week.

Both captains had spent the previous months preparing their boats while spending more boat dollars than they wanted gathering supplies for the cruise.


Catalina 30 

The Catalina has standing head room, full galley, queen size berth, a dining room table, full electronics, a fuel sipping diesel, a real head with shower, roller furler, davits, generator not to mention a dodger with full canvas. The list goes on and on. 

Basically it's an apartment that floats and sometimes sails.

HideAway has standing head room when the hatches are open, a Coleman camping stove used in the cockpit, two very comfortable settee berths, a hatch board table across the cockpit seats, an electric and manual depth finder, a new Garmin GPSmap 640 (I'll have a full review of it soon) a gas guzzling Mr. E,  and a solar shower that never seems to heat up.  Our head consists of a five gallon portapottie set up for deck pump out only and a home built vanity. The V berth has long been converted to storage for our three head sails and other essential stuff. We tow the wooden dink.


Known costs to prepare the Catalina pushed $2,000 including a new fuel and water pump and a new bank of gel batteries on a very long list.  I replaced the lower end of the Evinrude and had the prop rebuilt for $50.  The new GPS was around $600 plus some rewiring of a frightening electrical system.

Where's That Lighthouse Again?


HideAway cruised 92.3 NM at an average of 3.3kn, mostly under power, with a top speed of 6.3 under full main and 150 genny. (That new GPS is pretty cool, but it seems to like 0.3 of anything). 

We called at Dunedin, well, at an offshore island, Three Rooker Bar, Caladesi Island, explored the back waters of Anclote Key and anchored near several unnamed islands spending five nights and six days aboard.  The depth of all of our anchorages was 3 feet or less. The depth of St Joseph sound varies between 3 - 5 feet or so off the ICW.

A word from our Sailing Kitty- She's hungry!

Add your boat photo and name!

The Catalina spent one night at Long Boat Key, a day sail across Tampa Bay.  The crew woke up the next morning with dead gel batteries, no fridge, no house power and a generator that would not start.  Unwilling to face a week without the luxuries of home, they fired up the engine and headed for port.

The Catalina, drawing 5 feet would have missed all of our anchorages and not been safe to sail out of the ICW.  HideAway on the other hand, albeit, when her crew was younger, made the journey to Charlotte Harbor, Boca Grande and Cayo Costa. 

Your choice.  We have made ours.   

I hear the Catalina will be up for sale soon. 

Dead gel batteries and all.

HideAway Anchored Off  Anclote Key, Florida