I’m going through another one of those phases dreamers and planners go through. You know that phase where you allow the mind to wander off into the hinterlands of possibilities and then come back with a few good ideas? That’s the phase I’m talking about. The combination of a curious mind, hours of downtime, and access to ‘The Google’ means that I’ve been engaging in what is becoming known around here as ‘self medication’.
Usually that means I’m looking at boats on Yachtworld, Craigslist, and Sailboatlistings. Okay, well, yes, I’m doing that, of course, but one can only look at the exact same boats for so long before they begin to run together in one’s proverbial mind. So I started focusing on rigs to expand my search criteria.
Here’s the deal: I’m looking for a boat that can take us anywhere we want to go. Anywhere! It has to be comfortable, it has to perform well, and it has to be easy to sail. I am not getting any younger, as proven by my recent birthday. The steps we need to take in order to get this plan off the dock will take a few years, making me that much older when we start out. We want to sail places like down the coast of Chile, Easter Island, the Galapagos and beyond. By the time I get to do that, I’m probably going to be pushing 60. Yikes!
So it occurs to me that I should be looking for a boat that will be easy to sail not only now, but in the future as well. Otherwise, I might not enjoy it as much as I’d like to, and there will be too much of my relying on Mike and his man body (which is also not getting any younger, I might add.) In addition, it’s not so easy to sell a boat in ‘this economy’, so this makes it more important than ever to choose the right boat to begin with. So I’ve been doing some research on different rigs, particularly the cat rigged boats with unstayed masts, and the junk rigs, which also have unstayed masts.
Initially the idea of an unstayed mast filled me with trepidation. But as I began to educate myself more about them I began to change my mind. I like the idea of having less sailing hardware to worry about, and I’m reading that these boats are very easy to sail and do well in all types of seas and weather. The junk rig has not caught on in the U.S., but it’s making quite a showing in Europe where there is an active Junk Rig Association. Apparently they are now making sails that allow the boats to really give the Bermuda rig some stiff competition. And for sheer beauty on the water there is nothing to compare. Last year I bought the book Voyaging on a Small Income, by Annie Hill. The title says it all and I recommend reading this book if you, like us, are among the 99%. The Hills are definitely of the ‘go simple’ opinion. [amazon_image id=”1888671378″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Voyaging On A Small Income[/amazon_image]
Mike has always admired the cat rigged Nonsuch sailboats. Alex Kimball, the man who did the painting of Moonrise, owns a very beautiful Nonsuch and he and his wife live aboard the boat. They plan to take her down the coast of Mexico and through the Panama canal, then continue on to Europe. At a raftup last spring we were able to go aboard Alex’s boat and let me tell you: that is one beautiful vessel. The decks are completely clear of trip hazzards, too. When I heard they were planning to go ocean voyaging in the boat, my ears pricked up. I began to think outside the Bermudian box.
Then, on our recent ferry trip over to San Juan Island, I saw the loveliest boat on the water. It was a cat ketch rig and it was just beautiful. Maybe it was the Freedom 33 cat ketch that is for sale up on San Juan Island. Need to tack? Just turn the wheel. The sails tack themselves. Who knew?
I don’t know why these boats haven’t caught on around here. According to what I’m reading, they are simple to sail, well balanced, and economical. It’s not like these rigs are new. They’ve been around for ages. The junk rig has the added benefit of having sails that you can make yourself if necessary. In the UK, they race junk rigs alongside Bermuda rigged boats so I guess they are not exactly slow if you have the right sail shape. Alex Kimball’s Nonsuch beat the pants of lots of other boats in one of the Puget Sound Cruising Club ‘races’ this spring. I suspect the lack of popularity has something to do with boats being designed to the rules for racing or something like that.
So I don’t get why I’m not seeing tons of these out on the water. Could it be part of the herd mentality that keeps people from thinking outside the box? I’d really like to get on a few of these boats to find out. If you’ve ever sailed on one of these kinds of boats, or you know any one who has one, please post. I know just enough about this to be dangerous, but I’d like to know more. What else am I going to do while Moonrise is still on the market?