Recently we’ve been lucky enough to be able to go sailing twice on our friends’ Whitby 42 ketch, sv Mary Christine. When we were originally boat shopping, 15 years ago, we compiled a cruising boat necessities spreadsheet. One of the highest priorities on the list was multiple sail handling options. Since David had never sailed a ketch, he was reticent to go with anything other than a sloop or cutter rig. So we chose our Passport 37 sloop and never looked back.
BUT sailing sv Mary Christine was somewhat of a revelation. David really LIKED it. He liked the way the boat felt under sail, he liked the way all the different sail combinations worked, he liked the fact that the sail area was smaller in every case than ours and he liked the lower mast height. All of which mean more flexibilty. We have a very sturdy boat that doesn’t heel excessively, but in 17 knots of wind, the ketch performed well.
We even liked the center cockpit — shocker! We’ve never sailed in center cockpit before and had just always assumed that our aft cockpit design was the only one we’d really like underway — too much windage on the hull with a center cockpit. Well that’s not exactly what we thought after two days on the water with Peter and Jody.
Which brings up the fact that Peter and Jody are my kid’s ages, have quit their jobs, sold everything to go cruising for awhile. They have two big dogs – family – who seem to be adapting amazingly well, at least to life aboard at the dock.
We’re very happy for them and thrilled that they are sailing off into the sunset sometime in the next month or so — first south through the Keys & Bahamas, then the Caribbean and who knows. I’m almost jealous because I remember the anticipation and even a bit of the anxiety we felt as we were getting ready for our first extended cruise across the gulf stream to the Northwestern Caribbean, starting in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. What fun they’re going to have – if you’d like to follow their adventures, click here: “Where The Coconuts Grow”
On the other hand, we haven’t been down the Eastern Caribbean and can’t decide where we’re going next. Maybe we’ll be lucky, since Prez Obama shook Castro’s hand, we could go to the south coast of Cuba next winter. That’s where we wanted to go when we returned to the US from the NW Caribbean, but never got the right wind and weather to get there.
But for this winter, we’ll stick to our “plan” of sticking closer to here and my 92 year old Dad. Next winter might be a different story.
Certainly sailing with Peter and Jody was an eye opening experience. If you’re boat shopping and have the chance, be SURE to actually sail as many different rigs as possible before deciding what’s right for your cruising dream. You never know, you might be surprised to find you like something far different than your original expectations. 🙂
Life is good, enjoy every minute. Anyone have comments about the fun of sailing a ketch rig sailboat? Or experienced info to pass on to Jody & Peter? They’ll be reading. Please leave a comment and share! Cheers. Jan