Re: Dinghy Cruising/Camping?
Thanks for this thread. I think you have hit on a potentially important group of coastal sailors.
It is nice having a little larger boat that we can go offshore with and "live" aboard with "cabin" comforts. We can make "long" trips in relative comfort. It is limiting in some important (to us) ways, too. With a 5' fin and a tall mast there are many places along the Maine coast we can't explore and enjoy with our Islander. We are avid campers and do a lot of canoe trips along the coast and on inland lakes and rivers. Pulling into a protected cove, pitching a tent and sitting by a fire on a secluded beach is as nice as visiting an anchorage. I prefer camping by canoe in the Apostle Islands to anchoring in a cove there. The Maine Island Trail is a perfect opportunity for us to go camping with our Marshall Catboat.
Your question about a trailerable sailboat that would carry camping gear and have some capabilities for coping with "brisk" sailing conditions would be satisfied by a Marshall Sandpiper. It is the roomiest 15' boat I have ever been aboard. Its broad beam, gaff rig and two reef points make it possible for us to manage most conditions along this coast we would be comfortable in in our bigger boat. Wet from wave splash when it is rough and blowing, yes. Manageable and safe, yes. Fun and capable of going anywhere and everywhere, yes! It has taken us to some of our most memorable camping spots. It is camping. We like camping.
We also have a Rhodes 22 that is sitting on the hard. It is another great shallow draft, comfortable, safe and very capable small sailboat that will take you camping anywhere along the Maine coast.
Sitting on a beach with a small fire watching a cluster of yachts anchored out in a nearby cove always feels more inviting than being inside a rolling boat with no stars overhead.
We love it both ways. Do it and enjoy it. Our canoe camping gear fits easily under the deck of "Drinking Bird". My avatar is "Drinking Bird" headed out to an island near Bar Harbor.
Islander-28, Marshall Sandpiper