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11-1/2' skiff, 16' Jewelbox Jr. cat yawl, San Juan 21
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, first post here.

Well now, the wife dropped a bombshell on me last fall when she told me "I'd like to spend next winter someplace warm on a sailboat"

I'm not kidding!

We're not entirely new to boats -

We've been canoeing for decades...

Five years ago I built my first ever sail boat, a little 11-1/2 foot skiff, David Beede's Summer breeze design.
We've had many adventures in this tiny skiff. Once taking it on a three day camp cruise on Idaho's Preist lake -

Water Sky Boat Watercraft Boats and boating--Equipment and supplies

And I took this skiff on the first Salish 100 cruise from Olympia to Port Townsend on Puget sound -

Water Boat Boats and boating--Equipment and supplies Vehicle Watercraft

Wanting a bigger boat for more ambitious cruises I built Dave Carnells "200 dollar" version of the Bolger Featherwind .

Water Boat Mountain Watercraft Sailing

This boat did indeed cost me only 211 dollars to build, but the eleven-dollar-a-sheet underlayment plywood I used delaminated in only two years of use. Didn't get all that much use out of it but it was fun while she lasted.

Then I built something a bit more ambitious, a highly modified version of Jim Michalak's Jewel Box Jr.

Water Sky Boat Cloud Watercraft

This boat works better than I ever dreamed it would. She points high and foots fast. I love cat-yawls!
But it still isn't exactly a very comfortable cruiser, really. Though I suppose better backpacking sleeping pads would improve our overnight comfort! So far we've have many day sails and one three day cruise on Washingtons Roosevelt lake.

Then the wife mentioned spending next winter "someplace warm"....
If I was single and twenty years younger I'd take my Jewelbox, but after looking at boats all winter long I finally bought a 1978 San Juan MkII.

So I guess next winter there will be yet another pair of snowbirds driving a 16 year old Jeep south towing a 44 year old boat! :oops:

The San Jaun is like a time capsule, parked in a barn when it wasn't in the water for the last 42 years.
We have yet to pick it up. Not sure if the Jeep Liberty will tow it very well.

So anyway, I need to build a little galley counter in the cabin, and pick the brains of the folks here who Know Better untill you'll probably be sick of hearing from me. I need to figure out;

1) Where to go (I'm thinking Florida keys and West coast, despite the fact that it's as far from where I live as one can get and still be in the continental U.S.) Was planning to anchor out somewhere free, not stick to marinas because of cost and noise.

2) Where to park the car and boat trailer.

3) I'm sure I'll be studying the "Provisioning" subforum a bit!

4) Oh yeah, I need to learn how to sail a sloop. Never set foot on one before....

It isn't quite as bad as it sounds, we are a bit long in the tooth for this sort of thing (I'll be 60 and the wife 47) but we're both reasonably fit and we've lived off grid without running water or "shore power" for over twenty years now.
Our straw bale cottage is pretty small by modern standards, so small dwelling spaces are not quite as much of a concern to us.

So, any advice or tips will be welcome and I'll be poking my nose in with questions in the next few months!
- Bob

Beneteau 393
9,315 Posts
Hi Bob, that's exciting!
Loads of good places to go, and members here know them all.
The thé trailer you have ease of movement seasonally so that will make it good too.

Welcome to SailNet. 😊

1980 Endeavour 32
97 Posts
I like your plan ! Don't forget about our hurricane season. Wait till it's ending to start driving, Lol. I think the west coast would be a good place to start, anywhere from Crystal River on down. I don't know that I would try for the Keys as finding a place to park and leave the tow rig might be difficult and/or expensive. My thought would be to get the boat in the water at a marina for just a couple of days to get situated, and park the tow rig at a U-Store it type place. That's assuming you're going for a month at least ? You didn't say but I'm assuming this isn't a weekend trip. Tampa would be a good place and there's a lot of interesting water you could sail on in the bay, it's huge. Then if you felt like it you could move on from there.

Definitely keep us posted as plans progress.

:D (y)

11-1/2' skiff, 16' Jewelbox Jr. cat yawl, San Juan 21
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the welcome!

We were thinking at least three months.
I'll have to look up Crystal River, I have no idea where that is -
Tampa bay was one of my possible jump off locations, lots of marinas I gather.
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