Tuesday, December 26, 2006


I know what you're thinking. My dreams are not filled with that kind of wind.

Wind that pushes sailboats this way and that, those are the things dreams are made of.

It's been too long without a sailboat. Way too long.

The first picture is of the boat I want but can't find. No one wants to sell their used Catalina 25 that has the equipment essential to great sailing. I've looked and looked. Two years or more of looking for that special Catalina 25.

I'd drive to Texas to buy the right boat.

Sailboats have differing types of keels. Therein lies the difficulty in finding the right boat. Some Catalinas have centerboard type keels with waterballast to help steady the craft.

Other Catalinas have what's called a swing keel - a long piece of lead that can be cranked up into the belly of the boat. This feature is helpful to getting the boat on and off of the trailer. It's also a great thing to have if you want to beach your boat.

The third type of keel is called a fin. It's long - 3-4 feet, it will not retract and generally is not suitable for lake sailing. If your fin keel hits a rock or encounters shallow water, that's pretty much it for the day. A fin keel also makes loading the boat on and off the trailer a chore. The trailer has to be sunk to a depth deep enough to float the boat onto it - usually about 4-5 feet or more. Not fun.

My keel - the ever illusive keel - called a wing keel. Shaped like a wing and attached 24 inches from the hull, a wing keel makes for great sailing and you don't have to sink your trailer to deep depths to launch or retrieve it.

You're thinking, why not buy a new boat? 38k is why I'm not buying a new Catalina 25.

I found this picture on the Internet. The boat is just like our last one. A Macgregor 26'.

It was a good boat but had a centerboard and water ballast. It handled poorly in heavy winds. I love sailing in winds over 20 or 30 knots. This is not the boat for that type of sailing.

Below deck our boat had a galley, a port-a-potti, a queen bed. We'd spend days sailing and nights hanging off of the stern swimming, barbequeing (a propane bbq was attached to the aft railing) and watching the stars traverse the sky.

After a day of sailing we anchored the boat in a quiet little bay where the waves were gentle enough to rock you to sleep.

We'd wake in the morning to a flock of pelicans who were swimming around the boat. They would be there most mornings. Apparently they were as fond of the little bay as we were.

The morning would continue with coffee consumed on the deck, breakfast rolls and listening to a San Francisco jazz station on the boat's radio.

It doesn't get any better than this.

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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States