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  #1  
Old 06-05-2006
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Thinking of Thoreau

Last week I finished reading Sensible Cruising: The Thoreau Approach by Don Casey and Lew Hackler. This is a book about cruising small sailboats in the 25-35 foot range, and its filled with quotes from Thoreau. Their point is that thousands of these boats sit and rot at the docks, as the owners dream of cruising "as soon as" they have larger boats. Meanwhile, sensible cruisers cruise for years on smaller boats, instead of just dreaming about it.

Inspired by the book, we decided on noon Saturday to toss the kids in the car (and some bagels and sleeping bags) and do our first overnight trip on our C&C 27 sailboat, Bailiwick. The forecast was terrible-- no wind, but an inch of rain. But hey, we were sick of waiting for the weather to get better. It's been raining on and off for the last several weeks.

We went, and we had a fantastic time. We motored the whole 10 nautical miles to Government Island on the Columbia River. There, we hiked on the island and my son caught a nice 10 inch fish and released it. Saturday evening, we joined three other boats for an impromptu evening dinner-on-the-dock and fun cruising talk. At eight on Sunday morning, one of our dock neighbors delivered hot-from-the-oven cinnamon rolls. My son caught another fish, we hiked some more, and then motored home.

We've posted a picture gallery of the trip, and basically it was fun to think about Thoreau as we got back to nature on the remote and lightly visited island. I wouldn't mind doing this same trip every month, year-round.

Jim H


Last edited by Jim H; 06-05-2006 at 01:37 AM.
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Old 06-08-2006
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Jim,
Nice story, thanks for posting it.
Next year my family is going to buy our first sleep aboard boat. My wife and I have three children; 6,3,2 months. How small a boat do you think we can get away with to do the same type of sailing you described- short trips, weekends, maybe the occasional week in coastal Maine/NH. We're a very close family and the kids are very small. I'm sure the two older kids could go end to end in one bunk. So far, I've been concentrating my search to around 27'.

Thanks again, Brian
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Old 06-08-2006
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First of all, glad to see you had a good time. Sometimes you just have to go. The book is an excellent one. Well written and one to make one think about priorities. I recommend it often.

Brian....go to yachtworld.com or boat search here and do a search for boats in your size and price range. You'll find a lot of boats, and it will give you something to make comparisions and narrow down your search. Then you can start asking about specific boats.

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Old 06-08-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Tar
Jim,
Nice story, thanks for posting it.
Thanks, Brian. I wish more people would post little trip reports and photos of simple daysails, races and small cruises. I like the break from the gear talk and boat debates.

As for a sleep-aboard boat, it's amazing what's been done with kids. I've heard of sailing familes with five kids that would spend weeks on a 29 footer in the San Juans (usually with kids sleeping in the cocpit under a cover). One should note that the Martin Family did a seven year circumnavigation on a Cal 25, having two kids along the way and a third at the end.

Alas, I don't think I'm up to their level. We found in our area that we could buy a nice 27 footer for around $9-12k, but a nice 29 footer would be around $18k to $20k. Seemed like a big jump for two more feet. Of the 27s we saw, the Nor'Sea was a tank but too expensive. The C&C was our choice, followed by Cal 27s, Ericson 27s, Cascade 27s and Catalina 27s after that.

With three small kids, our C&C 27 would do it, but it would be cramped. The V berth is a touch small for two adults, and the dinette berth is wide but not quite wide enough for two adults. Thus, we have two kids in the V berth, one of us on the starboard settee, and one on the dinette set down. In the future, we'll add a board and some cushions to make one queen-sized bed in the main cabin for us.

From sailing club boats, we knew the kids loved the dinette arrangement for playing while we sailed, and it's nice for eating together. The boat doesn't have any quarter berths extending below the cabin.

If I had three kids, and I wanted to keep the boat for five years, I'd think about the size of the kids later on. With three, I'd be sorely tempted to try to find a 29 or 30 footer, just for the breathing room, and one with at least one quarter berth beneath the cockpit. Another major objective would be a V berth big enough for the parents.

You might want to rent a few boats in the 27-32 foot range and go out with your kids in them. Even if you can't do an overnight, you might get some good ideas from what works and doesn't from even a four-hour daysail. Watch Craigslist in your area for deals, and don't forget to scrutinize the engine as closely as the hull-- engine problems can be disasterously expensive to resolve.

Even if I had to borrow a few thousand, something like this would tempt me...

Good luck!

Jim H

Last edited by Jim H; 06-09-2006 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 06-09-2006
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Smile

Gentlemen, thanks.

John,
I live on yacht world. I've mentally put myself in every boat on that site .
I was looking for more real-life perspective from someone in a similar situation
.
Jim,
I was looking at the C&Cs today. Is there much difference between the 27 & 29 or (gulp...the 30) beside the obvious price difference.

http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi..._id=74503&url=

Clearly, internet shopping will only get me so far. I have to get out and see the boats. Keep us posted on your small sails!


Brian
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Old 06-10-2006
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Brian,

It's kind of hard to generalize about the C&C 27, 29 and 30 because they changed quite a bit between the "marks." It's best to go to the http://www.cncphotoalbum.com/ site to see the brochures about the different versions and learn from the other information there.

If I recall correctly, the 70s C&C 30 was more like our C&C 27 than the C&C 29. I believe the 29 is more of a performance boat than the cruising 27 and 30. That said, the more-than-honorable GordMay cruised for years on a C&C 29.

I will admit that I really like the build quality of our '73 C&C 27. I've also been on a C&C Landfall 35, but it's unusual layout was a little too optimized for a cruising couple.

Good luck on your search.

Jim H
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Old 06-13-2006
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I guess this is the right thread...

I'm 2 years into a j/24... I spent the first season learning how to rig and launch it. Now I have it in a slip on Kerr Lake, NC. My wife doesn't like it - but mostly because I'm likely to have the boat heeling too much when the wind kicks up. From reading this forum, I've learn a lot about what I'm doing wrong, and I'm anxious for another windy day like this past Friday to try out my newly learned techniques.
Having said that - I routinely drool over the 30-40' boats on our dock and the next. I like the unobstructed cockpit space and the apparently huge cabins. My boat doesn't even have steps into the cabin - you kinda just hop down... it's a bit of a workout. My cabin is mostly for storage for my sails and my tools. I could probably float a loan for one of the big crusiers - but I'm wondering if any of the sailing "fun" would go away? I think my wife might get into it if it was a bit less athletic for her.
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Old 06-13-2006
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I'm in the same boat as you, Pluscard. I currently sail a small, trailered, Marconi-rigged catboat. On one hand, I can't wait to get into something bigger, however, I don't want to lose the joy. We are going to move up next year. I just don't know how far up. Like you, I could swing a loan for the boat I really want but I think I'd rather have a boat I own outright. -Brian
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Old 06-13-2006
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It's funny when you go to the Carribean most of the boats you see with longterm cruisers are quite small. Once in Puerto Rico, I met a guy from Germany who had sailed a 25 footer with an outboard motor and a shoal draft over from Africa. He was selling the boat for the price of an airline ticket back home!
When I was a kid my family (6 kids, along with my Mom and Dad) cruised many weekends on the Chesapeake Bay on my Dad's 25 foot Rhode's Meridian. We had a blast. Big boats are a rather recent occurence reflecting changes in American consumption. Bigger is not necessarily better in sailing. The point is get out there and sail.

Last edited by Surfesq; 06-13-2006 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 06-13-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pluscard
I could probably float a loan for one of the big crusiers - but I'm wondering if any of the sailing "fun" would go away? I think my wife might get into it if it was a bit less athletic for her.
I like the idea of different kinds of fun. One is racing around the buoys in a J-24. Another is a splendid weekend of sailing and sipping rum at anchor with a steak on the barbie. Another is sailing with a full sailing partner, and not just captaining with a guest aboard.

Some don't like the idea of "co-captains," but long-term it can be a pretty amazing. To get started down that path, consider taking yourself out of the picture. Find a women's sailing organization, or womens-only sailing courses, and let the passion for sailing get started on its own. Soon, you may find your co-captain is taking out the J-24 without you, which might be the best accomplishment ever. If you get a bigger boat, do it after the fire is there, and make sure it's an "our boat."

Cheers.

Jim H

Last edited by Jim H; 06-13-2006 at 11:57 PM.
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