Mid-Life Cruising Sabbatical

Questions and Answers
Part 5

I currently own a Catalina 30, 1980 model. I just repowered with a large new diesel and have put considerable money into the boat, so I am reluctant to sell it quickly. I have read that you did not see any C-30s during your cruise. I have been told by others that the boat is two "light" for a Caribbean cruise but no one has ever said why. Given that I plan to spend 6 to 12 months and would like to reach south America and come back to Florida, my questions are:

Is the boat truly too "light"? It displaces 10500 pounds and has a 4,200 pound keel.

I have a fin keel, it draws 5'3", is this too much for certain areas of the Caribbean?

Given that I will probably make this cruise by myself, what, if any equipment would you highly recommend for single handing this cruise?

By "light" I think people are referring to the construction, not the weight. I have no personal experience with Catalinas. It is my understanding that these boats were designed for the lighter winds of Southern California. You might discuss this question with a good surveyor.

We did see Catalinas in the Bahamas, but I don't remember seeing any further south. Maybe they were there and I just didn't recognize them.

A 5'3" should be no problem. Although our Endeavour 40 was rated at a 5' draft, we actually drew more like 5'6" fully loaded. The fin keel is not the usual one of choice for cruising boats. Most have full or modified full keels.

If you are going to be sailing by yourself I would think you would want a good auto pilot, a furling jib and at least lazy jacks on the main.

I am new to the Net and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your posts. We have just begun the search for a boat we will use for our "cruise". I am not very knowledgeable about the various make, models and manufacturers of quality boats and I wondered what you thought of Hylas 44's or 47's, as well as the Morgan's? Any info much appreciated. We have budgeted about $100K for the purchase, and then will equip and update over the next few years. Any other brands you might think worth considering, i.e. Island Packet? Thanks for your help, looking forward to hearing from you.

I have no experience with Hylas boats. I assume you know that Morgans are now built by Catalina. Most people seem to think the older ones (built before Catalina took over) are better constructed. You might consider CSY, Whitby and Brewer. Island Packets are fine but expensive. Also remember the I prefer a center cockpit and Island Packet does not make one.

Personally, I would choose a boat more for its "livability" than "sailability".
You spend more time living than sailing.

I would look for an older boat with no much equipment. That way you can add what you want and not pay for someone's inflated idea of the value of what they had added. A small problem here is that some insurance companies don't like boats over 10 years old.

Saw your posting in rec.boats and thought it was on point and one of the best I have seen. Your costs are about what I expected.

I just turned 51, burned out and decided to take a year or so off work. I live in Dallas and have done quite a bit of lake sailing, and kept a 30' Catalina in Corpus for a couple of years. I am torn between buying a sailboat or a trawler. The sailboat is a lot cheaper to operate and I think safer and more comfortable offshore, but the trawler is a lot more comfortable to live on and perhaps a little easier to operate. Fuel on a trawler could be a substantial expendure, and I think repairs are higher. I plane to keep what ever I buy in South Florida for 6 months to get use to it. I found that the daily marina rate in South Florida is between .75 and .95 per ft. per day, and can run higher in the high traffic areas.

Did you meet any/many trawler people, and were their expenses substantially higher than yours, I assume you were on a sailboat?

Do you know of any place where the "have-done-it" and "want-a-do- it" get together and share information? It such a big jump that hand holding helps, lets the people who are thinking about doing it feel a little more comfortable, and lets people who have done it enjoy sharing their experiences.

Yes, we met a couple of trawlers and even a Bayliner. You see lots of power boats in the Bahamas. Given that we spent all our time motorsailing anyway, I don't think operating a single screw trawler would be much more expensive.

Personally, I don't think I would take a small trawler south of the Bahamas. If you did you would need to be very careful about picking your weather windows.

There are many marinas in Florida cheaper than the rates you quoted particularly if you rent on a monthly basis. Also look for out of the way places that don't have all the fancy services.

As to your question about a place to share information. rec.boats.cruising and the liveaboard listserv are the only electronic places I know. If you are actually in south Florida, SSCA has a breakfast every Sunday in Ft. Lauderdale. Of course SSCA also has an annual meeting in November and there is the week long kickoff for the Caribbean 1500 each year.

I have been enjoying your posts and it occurred to me that you might be a good source of information about a passage I plan to make late this month from Ft. Lauderdale to the Virgins via the "Thornless Path". I have been racing and cruising for the past 35 years. During the last 8 years I have sailed in the Bahamas each winter in my 39U ketch and as skipper or mailing master on other peopleUs boats, but I have not been east of the Bahamas . I have a C.G. Masters license. I will be serving as skipper on a 46' ketch with 7'7" draft--where in lies my problem and question. I plan to go north of the Berrys via the New Providence Channel and south to Nassau, then down the Exuma Sound to Georgetown and east to Rum Cay. I know places I can anchor along this route but I am wondering about Crocked Island, Mayaguana and particularly Provo and Cockburn Harbour on Caicas. Do you know of anchorages for this draft in these places or should I skip some or all of them?

The Bahamas are your biggest problem with that draft. I no longer have my cruising guides or charts for reference so what I am saying is from memory. You may have a problem getting from Nassau to the Exuma Sound. Are you planning to cross the Exuma Bank? Which cut are you going to take into the Sound?

The north entrance into Georgetown should be OK, but I don't think you can make it out the south one.

I don't remember about Crooked Island or Mayaguana, but the Bahamas guide covers these. I don't think you can get into Atwood Harbor.

Provo should be no problem with anchoring. You will have trouble getting fuel since the yacht fuels docks don't catty enough water. You can have fuel trucked to the commercial dock.

I don't know about Cockburn Harbor.

Where are you going after the Turks & Caicos? You are too deep to cross the Caicos Bank. If you are headed for the Dominican Republic I would go west around the bank from Provo and head south to the coast of the DR. I would then run along the coast. You can get into Puerto Plata and Samana.

Jim & Diane

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