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Crazy Woman Boat Driver
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It has been a long time since I have been on SN and thought I would let everyone know that I am still afloat! We are full time cruising, living the dream so too speak!. We have been very busy learning the new boat (Catalina 445), learning how to cruise (different from just sailing around) and of course fixing the boat. We are in Key West right now after visiting the Dry Tortugas and plan on heading to the Bahamas in Feb.
What we have learned has been written many times here on SN. It is one thing to read things here it is another to experience it. Some of the basics rules in successful cruising are:
1. Sound Boat #1. We have seen too many shoe string boats out here, always in need of help and no money to fix it.
2. Sound anchor platform: oversize everything if you want to sleep well and not be a danger to others. Currents, counter currents and big winds are a weekly occurrence. The Ronca is worth it's weight in gold so far.
3. Sail plan: Have the right sails to handle the three types of winds: on the nose, too much and too little.
4. Have a sound running engine for the three types of winds: on the nose, too much and too little.
5. NO Freak-in schedule to meet people or be somewhere where rules #1-4 if not meet will get you in trouble.
6. Ventilation is key in the tropics!
7. Full enclosure with sun screen is a bonus!
8. Alternative energy is a must! We have not had to run the engine yet to charge the batteries.
9. Chaff gear for docklines and bridle when the wind gets ugly. We have gone through a set of docklines during one storm.
10. Spares parts for everything! Even on new boats. I carry a full set of nuts, bolts, screws and washers has been an absolute must.
11. Must be handy with hands to fix broke things.
12. Must know every square inch of the boat. Especially every thru-hull. When we hit a huge log on the Cape Fear River I had every single floor board up in less than 3 mins with my emergency repair bag in hand incase of a hole. We were fine. Major heart attack moment.
13. Docking in strange places vs your own dock. Books can be written about this. Lets just say my heart skips a few beats. Learn how your boat handles in current, cross current, cross wind, cross wind with current,,, you get the picture. Always get dock handlers if you can.
14. Cruisers are amazing people!
 

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Beneteau 393
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9,588 Posts
Great list!

If you are still in the Bahamas in May we might bump into each other as I may head up the USA coast to some town called Manhattan
 

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Crazy Woman Boat Driver
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840 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
To answer some questions:
Retired early, Left seat
Gary: Will see you in Marathon end of Jan or first week in Feb.
Mark: Plan on leaving Abacos to St Augustine in late April. Spend May there, than on to the NE coast for the summer.
 

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19,484 Posts
The 445 was, to us, the 'gem' of the boat show when it first came out compared to the quasi-Euro offerings at the time.

Especially liked the idea of the extra 'aft cabin/workshop/storage' area but had some concerns about the relatively open seat hatch/seal in that area.. Have you got that version and if so has it been any issue at all??
 

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Crazy Woman Boat Driver
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840 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The 445 was, to us, the 'gem' of the boat show when it first came out compared to the quasi-Euro offerings at the time.

Especially liked the idea of the extra 'aft cabin/workshop/storage' area but had some concerns about the relatively open seat hatch/seal in that area.. Have you got that version and if so has it been any issue at all??
Not an issue. We have added addition locking devices. I love our flex room (garage).

Melissa
 

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Melissa, I was just thinking about you the other day when someone posted questions about the 445. I'm glad you're doing well.

Any thoughts/opinions on the boat now that you've lived with her a while? Anything you'd have done or spec'd differently during the buying process?

Enjoy the Keys! It's 12 degrees here now, I'm envious!
 

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Crazy Woman Boat Driver
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840 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Melissa, I was just thinking about you the other day when someone posted questions about the 445. I'm glad you're doing well.

Any thoughts/opinions on the boat now that you've lived with her a while? Anything you'd have done or spec'd differently during the buying process?

Enjoy the Keys! It's 12 degrees here now, I'm envious!
The 445 is an amazing boat. She sails well and fast as previously reported. We do need a downwind sail. We are looking at a Code 0 to fill in the big gap we are missing in our sail plan.
The buying process of a boat can be daunting and not for the faint hearted. For me it was a 8 year research of what I truly wanted, hence my modification list to Catalina was extensive. Most of my mods are now standard on the new models coming out of the factory. :D We still have modifications waiting in the wings to put on the boat; anchor wash down, inverter and bigger bilge pump. I hope to get them done this month. We still have a freezer issue but the temporary modification will soon be permeant now that I know it works.
I am not sure what I would have done different other than I wish I had more time to get the boat ready. It is this reason we are staying close to home for the first year or two before we head for parts unknown.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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5,674 Posts
The 445 is an amazing boat. She sails well and fast as previously reported. We do need a downwind sail. We are looking at a Code 0 to fill in the big gap we are missing in our sail plan.
Code 0 is not really a downwind sail. It's a light air sail that can go deep(ish) and still carry you upwind(ish).
 

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Crazy Woman Boat Driver
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840 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
HI All,
Just back from the Bahamas. We had a great winter there. Boat performed flawlessly. We are in St Augustine until the end of May than up to the Solomon Islands in the Chesapeake for the summer. We did a little testimonial for Mack Sails while we were in the Abacos. Some of you might know Ed on Freedom. He did the production and filming. He did an amazing job. Check it out.
 

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Thank you Melissa for the kind words.
It is a very nice boat, very. But no boat is any good without good crew! Moondance is in excellent hands.
Feedback on the video would be appreciated; here or by PM.
(No drones were injured in the production of this video :) )

Thanks
 

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To answer some questions:
Retired early, Left seat
Gary: Will see you in Marathon end of Jan or first week in Feb.
Mark: Plan on leaving Abacos to St Augustine in late April. Spend May there, than on to the NE coast for the summer.
When you said "left seat" I had to look at your profile. Way nice. I am retiring this year also however from my perspective it is right seat.
 

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Melissa, I'm curious on your thoughts about the bowsprit package that Catalina is offering (Seldon sprit & top down furler and Doyle UPS sail).

Jim
 

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HI All,
Just back from the Bahamas. We had a great winter there. Boat performed flawlessly. We are in St Augustine until the end of May than up to the Solomon Islands in the Chesapeake for the summer. We did a little testimonial for Mack Sails while we were in the Abacos. Some of you might know Ed on Freedom. He did the production and filming. He did an amazing job. Check it out.
You gonna start a new blog? Would love to see it!
 
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