Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Denver Boat Show

Yes, believe it or not, Denver does have an annual boat show.  It happens in mid January (yep, when the average water temperature is ICE).  Our local sailing school was able to hook us up with free passes, so we attended this year.

If you are looking for a super fast ski boat with a million watt stereo and neon light accents, this is your boat show.
Other than speedy toys, the other focus of the show is related to fishing.  Given our biggest bodies of water here are reservoirs, I can't blame them for this focus...Colorado just isn't a place for a large, live aboard yachts.

There were a total of 3 sailboats at the show.  One was a J/22 from our Colorado sailing school (and I'm pretty sure we did sail on it during our lessons).  The other two were from the one and only sailboat focused "dealership" in the Denver area.  Of those, one was a 24 foot or so day sailing boat and the other was a Hobie trimaran.

One interesting thing we saw was an inflatable kayak from Hobie that comes with their mirage drive and even has an optional sail package.  I wonder if we'd have enough room on a boat for it.

They have one and two person versions and if they were ocean worthy, might be an economical and fun option to a typical dinghy or for when you need a second option.

There were also a number of antique motor boats that were at the show and were interesting to see.  We missed seeing Twiggy the Water-skiing Squirrel but he was there as well.

So, while the show lacked much in the sailing category, and is a completely different type of show than the Annapolis one, it was still worth a visit...especially for free.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Good Book on Cruising in the Caribbean

There has been a book that has been mentioned on several blogs that I follow.  I finally got a chance to read "An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude" by Ann Vanderhoof.

The book chronicles the real-life two-year trip of Ann (a publisher) and her husband as they put their careers on hold and sail from Canada thru the Caribbean and back and how that trip changed their perspective on a great many things.  You are introduced not just to the locales that they visit, but the people they meet along the way and the challenges of making a lifestyle change like this.  At the end of each chapter you are also introduced to some of the local cuisine they encounter in the form of recipes.

It is not the typical travel book and is a very good read for anyone that is considering this sort of lifestyle.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Looking At Boats in Florida - The PDQ 36 LRC

10 days on two boats was most of our trip to Florida, but we did have a few more days before we returned to Colorado.  Since we think we'll be going with a catamaran, it would be nice if we could see a few before we left.  Thanks to some of my looking thru boat listings, I did have at least a very basic idea of what we should be looking at.

Since it is just going to be the two of us, our dogs, and some occasional visitors (I do hope), a large boat would seem to be much more than we need.  The 41 foot Maine Cat we took lessons on was home for 7 people for our class and trip.  It was way more than enough for a smaller crew and the added expense of a large boat goes against one of the reasons we are doing this.

The smallest catamarans suitable for living aboard seem to start just larger than 30ft.  The requirements (we think) we have for accommodations at this point are:
  • A queen size or better master berth.
  • Accommodations for two or more guests.
  • A boat that will be comfortable at anchor as well as at sail.
  • A shower I don't have to wear.
  • Low draft.
So, the boats that we think might fit this criteria were:
  • Gemini 105mc
  • PDQ 32 and 36
  • Fountaine Pajot 35
  • Lagoon 35 and 37
While you would think that Florida would be a good place to look at boats, we were only able to find one of the above boats that was for sale in the area and we could look at while we were there, a PDQ 36 LRC.

The PDQ 36 is a nice boat.  It's obviously well constructed with two queen berths at the front of the bridge deck just behind the trampoline, one accessed from each hull.

Photo courtesy of www.pdq36.com

Behind the large berth in one hull you will find a good size galley mid hull, with a rear compartment that has been apparently configured based on the original owner's specifications (It can be a double berth, storage, or I've even heard one case where it was setup as a mini dive shop with air compressor and everything).

Behind the berth in the other hull is a nav station with seating, a desk, and the usual electrical control panel.  At the rear of this hull you find the head with a separate shower enclosure (no wearing a curtain here).

The bridge deck also supports a large seating area or saloon behind the two queen berths and it can be converted to additional sleeping area if needed.  The interior has quite a bit of space that is very well configured.  There is also a lot of teak flooring and other wood accents that make the space warm and inviting.

Moving back from the saloon you exit to the cockpit.  The cockpit is covered by a hard bimini.  Unlike many catamarans, the cockpit is rather small and well enclosed.  Not very suitable for a party or dining al fresco, but might feel very secure while on passage.

Since this was the LRC version, instead of the usual outboard engines, this boat has twin diesels in the back of the hulls.  My understanding is that the outboards are lighter and can be swung up into the hull to reduce drag, but the inboard diesel engines are considered more reliable and are better for battery charging and auxiliary water heating.  I'm not sure which is the better choice...as they seem to say with all things boating...it's a compromise.

Other than the cramped feeling of the cockpit, I'm pretty impressed with this boat.  Of course, I don't exactly have a lot of knowledge of these size boats...having only seen a couple of them new at the Annapolis boat show.  I do think the PDQ's will likely be on our short list.