Monday, April 29, 2013
Maybe it's the fact that the weather has finally turned nice. Perhaps it's because I've got mariners disease and can't help myself. I've been checking out sailboats on Craigslist again. I've got a decent little 19 foot Oday, and I'm building a 12 footer, but that doesn't stop me from looking at other boats. At least I'm not looking at other women. Okay, maybe I look, but I know better than to want to take any home.
Unlike boats, which I do end up taking home now and then.
There are some great deals out there. I've been looking at trailer sailers in the 22 – 26 foot range. They are a bit bigger than my current boat and I thought a wee bit more room would be handy.
Then I do some research to see what people think of boats in that size range. In short, the reviews tend to be pretty negative. Don't take these boats out out of a protected harbor. They are day sailors that might be used overnight in extreme discomfort.
The reviews are pretty discouraging until I think about all the stuff I do with the little 19 foot I do own. My wife and I, plus our dog, are comfortable on it for about a week. By the end of the week, it's time to resupply food, water and to do some laundry.
We often go offshore and are comfortable sailing all day in 4 foot seas. We've sailed in the Atlantic in 6 foot seas -safely, but not particularly comfortably. We don't sail when there are small craft warnings, but those days wouldn't be much fun in a 34 foot boat either.
Plenty of people have taken boats in the 15 – 20 foot range from Florida to the Bahamas. Yes, they wait for the proper weather window, just like the bigger boats do. A couple idiots have taken 19 foot Potters from the US west coast to Hawaii. That might be tempting Lord Neptune.
So I was wondering about the basis of all the negative reviews. It occurred to me that oftentimes it's not so much about sea worthiness, but perceived comfort. Here's the thing. My lovely wife and I used to do a lot of backpacking. We thought squeezing into a tiny tent at the end of the day was luxury.
We also did a fair amount of canoe camping. It was possible to carry all kinds of things that would be too bulky or heavy for backpacking. We'd bring a bigger tent, camp furniture, a cooler even -pure extravagance.
Even a fairly small sailboat looks good to former backpackers. I'll have to judge boats my own standards, not those of Internet reviewers.