Essential design requirements

Besides being a good looking boat and a *good sailer, the mast was, luckily for me, near the center of the boat, so I could eventually  eliminate the mainsail. I needed space aft for the anchoring system, as I stern anchor for safety. I needed space for at least 400 watts of solar panels. 

The cockpit should seat six people. A fixed Bimini top for sun shade over the entire cockpit. A dodger to protects us from wave splashes. Here the boat is being refit. Note large clear cockpit area for entertaining. Stern anchoring system with bridle and float. Wind vane. Propane storage aft.

I like big side decks, flat cabin sole, plenty of space forward on deck for a 9 foot dinghy. I have a rain catchment system, space for the largest Engel fridge, and electric sanitation. There are four sea berths. A bonus is a spade rudder that will rotate 360 degrees to allow reverse steering.

Here is the boat on the way to Mexico from San Francisco.

Before you buy the boat

Maybe, I am too late and you have bought it. Never mind you can go to sea in pretty much anything these days. Boats from 22 feet up have made Ocean passages, some with novice crews. It’s pretty hard to screw up if you know weather forecasting, and know how your boat handles. Many people give up on cruising after a short time because the boat wasn’t a good choice for retirement. There are loads of boats for sale in the Caribbean - some abandoned by the owners and slowly falling apart. It’s best to buy something that you are so proud of you will put up with a few shortcomings, because nothing is perfect. If every time you dinghy back to the boat your heart skips a beat, then it’s probably a keeper - she looks good and gives you no worries.

What kills a lot of dreams, is a boat that is troublesome. What you need is a boat that requires no maintenance - it just goes and goes. If you are retired on a fixed income, you want to know that you can spend your money on living and not boat repairs. Note: Mast located near center fore and aft. The “J” of 14’0” enabled a large genoa, and eventually - after Hawaii - I took the mainsail off. The narrow entry means the boat goes through a chop to windward. A 50% ballast ratio makes the boat very stiff - it sails almost flat in following seas. The nav lights in the hull (no longer meets code) identify custom C&Cs from the production boats. A small coachroof gives a large cockpit space and wide side-decks. A pretty boat even today.

Here she is with no main. Solar panels and sat-comm aft.

Fuel capacity spec., water tankage spec., dedicated nav station, dedicated shower, and roller furling are not so important.

  1. *good sailer : goes to weather in wind and waves. Stable platform off the wind.