The Cat 30…how I decided on a powerboat over a sailboat.

About a month ago I was still set on buying a sailboat as my liveaboard home.  It had been over a month, at least, since I put in an offer on a great boat and then learned the reality of getting a loan.  I was bummed, but had already taken steps to get more money saved.  I sold my Mustang and entered the world of riding a scooter for transportation…which is awesome by the way.  I found an add on craigslist for a 30 foot Catalina.  I forget the year, but it was newer for the budget I’m working with, probably late 1980’s.  I reached out to the owner, she gave me a detailed reply.  I contacted my broker, asking if he could come along.  I was hesitant to ask him because this boat was selling by owner, not through a boat brokerage.  So we worked out a fee for him that I would pay directly if the sale went through.  After a couple more emails to the boat owner, and a few hours spent scanning the posted images imagining this boat as my new home, we set a date to view the boat.

First thing; I had seen one of this boat owners boats before.  The very first sailboat I saw was one of hers.  I remember it being small and having a laundry list of “fixes” she had done.  I don’t know enough about the inner workings of  a boat to say whether they were good or bad ideas, of it that’s just the reality of boats as they age, but it was odd.  Upon realizing I would now see another one of her boats I was already disappointed.  We went down to see anyway.

The boat was what it was.  Small, decent shape and somewhat patched together as far as internal operations.  The v-berth is tiny, so if I sneezed in bed I’d knock myself out.  Limited galley, decent head, small salon.  I couldn’t live in this.  But since my financing was limited, I wondered if this is just what I’ll have to get.  The boat was on a slip at hotel marina, which means I’d get full use of their pools, hot tubs, gym, spa and discounts at their restaurants…kind of cool.

A lot of this process involves compromise and balance, and reality.  What can I afford?  How far is it located from work?  How small is too small?  What do I want out of this?  How often will I take the boat out?  With all of these questions bouncing around, and the ever looming idealistic delusions of grandeur, it’s important to ask questions and take time to analyze.  A lot of decisions I’ve made in life were impulsive or fast, done with little research.  Some were great decisions, some not so much.

Long story short, the boat was too small.  As we left, Brent (boyfriend) and Jason (broker) brought up power boats…for the millionth time.  I’d been dead set on a sailboat…the charm, the skill, the freedom from gas reliance.  But this was the last sailboat I’d see (except for that weird catfisher).  With a power boat I’d have a newer boat, more room and most likely an easier time getting around for my newbie, minimal boating needs.  I’m not traveling the world.  I can still take my sailing classes.  I can buy a sailboat down the road when I have more skill and can take a week or two or more off to travel.

That’s how the decision was made from sail to power.  A little part of me felt down, but I’m about 10 days away from owning my first boat, and the future is wide open(you have a Tom Petty song in your head now don’t you?).  I’ll be in a great marina closer to work, at another hotel (resort actually (; ), the dockmaster is wonderful, I’ll be in the smaller bay which has both my sail class school and Brent’s job…we can dinghy him to work, and maybe a cocktail or two.

That’s my story of sail to power.  Now all I need to do is figure out how to drive the thing ;).

Thanks for stopping by, hope you’re all having a great day!

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One good thing, one not so good thing…

This past weekend concluded my “Keelboat 1” class.  It was great!  On Saturday we attempted to navigate our way out to the ocean, but a HUGE crew race/regatta type event was going on and we sort of hung out in a Heave 2 position for about a half hour.  The boat we had class on didn’t have an engine.  Here is a little map of the bay.  And since I have limited skills I didn’t figure out how to mark things on the map, haha.  The Mission Bay Aquatic Center is located on the green top left peapod looking point, the bottom portion.  So we sail a bit East into the bay, then South under the Mission Bay Dr bridge, then continue down to the channel and West to where I cut the map off, oops.  Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 11.12.46 AM.png

The regatta group came pouring out of the larger cove right above the channel.  We said it looked like a clown car, there were hundreds of them!  And the one “referee/regulator” boats’ engine died…I’m not up on my regatta terminology, so I’m not sure what they’re called.  Since we lost time with that little hiccup we weren’t able to make it out to the ocean; class is only 3 hours and we have to take the boats back in.  The wind was almost completely out of the West that day, which can slam you right into the dock broadside if you’re not careful…hence our instructor docked for us.

Sunday was quite the day for me.  It was my last Keel 1 class, I had worked the night before until about 11pm, and had to then work after class at 6pm…which is plenty of time since class gets out at noon.  But, my boyfriends family was in town, and he thought it’d be a great idea to rent a hobie and I could get to know everybody by sailing around the bay.  That would have been a great plan if I had the whole day off and had more hours under my belt on the hobie.  I hadn’t rented one yet, and the last time I was on one was in class months ago with an instructor.  I needed to take my time rigging and making sure I had everything right.  Also, the family was across the bay, so I had to scoot over, beach, pick them up, then go out, and repeat.  The wind was so light and coming from the Southwest, which is a little odd, it’s normally a bit from the North.  It was so stressful for me, and I kept loosing speed on tacks because I didn’t have someone working the jib right.  Ugh.  I felt a little defeated.  There were pros out on their Hobies just zipping by and I was dead in the water.  A little embarrassing and frustrating.  I can see how it takes a lifetime to get this down.  I’m definitely going to practice a lot this summer.  I can’t rent the keelboats, but I think that taking the Hobie out will help me work on wind awareness and trim.

All in all, who can complain about spending 6 hours out in the sun sailing in San Diego?  Here’s to hoping I improve!

Hope you’re all doing well and enjoying your summer 🙂IMG_2587.JPG

 

J-24! And more!

Last weekend I started my first official Keelboat course at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center on Mission Bay in San Diego.  It was great!  I got to navigate us out to the ocean.  And thanks to a bunch of large fishing boats I now understand what wake can do to a sailboat…holy moly…it was a little wobbly!

I’ve also found a boat broker.  After having researched boats for sail on craigslist for the past year I think that having more resources on my side is a better choice.  If I already had a wealth of knowledge about sailing and boats I’d totally be fine buying a boat off craigslist.  This boat is going to be my home, and I’m still a newbie, so I’d rather spend a little more and have proper contracts and inspections.  I know that there are bad brokers out there, and they do get paid by the seller for their commission, but I think this is the right choice for me a this point.

So, we sail on a J-24 for class.  Apparently those boats are build for racing and handling.  I did a 360!   Our instructors are really great.  The class starts with about a half hour of instruction at the chalkboard, then we’re out on the boats rigging and off we go.  There’s a part of me that is thinking “ok, wait a second, we’ve never sailed this before, this could end in catastrophe, is this a good….oh wow this is awesome”.  That’s pretty much each course I’ve taken there.  They give you the info, have you rig the boat then off you go!  Apprehension is quickly replaced by happiness.  For this class the instructor is on the boat with us.  My boat had 3 students, and we just rotated crew positions.  Can’t wait for this class this weekend!

 

Hobie classes are underway!

Hello!!

I have officially begun my Hobie Cat classes at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center, man those things are fast!

We had 2 classes so far and now there are 2 to go.  They are 16 foot boats, and we have been going with 3 people to a team.  Jibing (gybing?) is really scary the first few times.  These boats have an awkward tiller that sort of goes behind the traveler when you tack or jibe.  It’s manageable, but a little messy to start!

Oh and did I mention that it’s a wee bit chilly out on the bay this time of year??  We all wore shorts and tank tops…then we all got doused on a good beat, and then shivered the rest of class.  This Saturday we have another capsize test, I’m not concerned with righting the boat, I just don’t want to freeze!  

Here’s a quick couple of photos. Maybe I’ll bring my fake go pro this weekend.

   
    
 

The story of the capsize test…

So for our last Advanced sailing class we had to capsize our little 14 ft sailboats.  We had two people to a boat.  We knew ahead of time that this would be part of our final class, so we all wore “water ready” clothes.  And to anyone outside of San Diego the water, even today, which is over a week since this class happened, is more than comfortable as its been hovering around 70 degrees…but for for some reason that morning it felt so cold!

We ,of course, wear life vests and also have two instructors overseeing our drills in motorboats.  The instructors explained and demonstrated how to “right” the boat.  Seemed like something we could all do…get up on the center board and pull on the jib sheet while leaning all the way back.  Then your partner holds the mast out of the water and pushes it up until it gets some momentum…then they swim over to the boat and get scooped in.

Not. That. Easy.

For me anyway.  Holy cow was that a challenge!!  My partner Victoria and I got on the starboard side of our little boat, leaned over and there she went!  We were in the water.  She swam to the mast to keep it from going under and I swam around to get on the centerboard.  “This will be easy, just pull yourself up and grab the rope”.  That’s what my naive little brain said.  A: I’m not a 16yr old athlete anymore.  B: that thing is way higher out of the water than I realized.  C: it’s freakin’ slippery!!!

What an adventure that was!  I kept slipping off, not even getting close to hoisting myself all the way up.  I kept yelling “I’m really trying, I swear!”   

The other option is to use the interior of the now sideways boat as a sort of slippery ladder and climb up and over the side of the boat to land on the centerboard.  So there I went.  The first few tries were fruitless, until I finally got out of the water and up on the mast.  Not knowing exactly what to hold on to, I reached for something , slipped and cracked my foot off the mast. Photo is below, ouch!   I managed to get back up and get on the centerboard.   With a strong pull on the jib sheet the mast slowly began to come out of the water and up.  But then I fell off.   In the damn water again!   Back around, up, over, on, sheet, lean back, and here it comes, hooray!  Boat’s up again!

Aw crap, now we have to get in the damn thing.  The whole “scoop method” didn’t pan out for us.  After about 5 minutes I managed to get over the side and grab a tie down (I forgot what it’s called) and oh so gracefully flop in like an exhausted overweight fish.  Then I helped Victoria in.  We did it!!

And here’s my foot….

  It was great and I’m so happy I took the class.  On to the next one!

Hobie-Cat or Laser??

Hello and good morning (with 10 minutes of morning left) from sunny San Diego!!

I have officially passed my Advanced Sailing course at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center, hooray!  And since I tend to do things out of order I’ll make another post to tell that story. 😬. 

I purchased their 3 course deal, which was $350 total.  Normally each course within the first tier would be $155…so I saved some money!  

I now have to decide which class to take for my third course, Hobie Cat or Laser.  The Hobie is a 16 ft catamaran, which is a style of boat I’ve never been on. The Laser is like a super fast sabot, at least that’s what it looks like to me. On one hand I’d like to learn more about one manned sailing because that will give me more experience on my own. And on the other hand, I’d like to learn about the catamaran so I have a more diverse understanding of sailing.  Our instructor spoke briefly about local crew opportunities on boats, and how we can gain more knowledge and skill by essentially interning or getting paid rather little to help out on a crew. I feel like a Hobie cat style of boating would be more likely to need help than a regular sailboat. 

So we’ll see, at first I was convinced I’d take the Laser course, but now the whole Hobie concept has found its way into my decision making process and it sounds cool too…decisions decisions!!

Have a lovely day in, out of and on the water,

-Eileen