Sunday, December 8, 2013

Local Fall Sailing

Fall is generally my favorite time of year on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, and this year was even better since I now have a Cape Dory 27 at the dock and ready for local adventures.  As with any boat, I have a long list of projects planned that I'm still working on prioritizing, and haven't yet decided which will come first or where I'll do the work.  I've been weighing the pros and cons of doing it bit-by-bit in the boatyard near the marina or in the water at the dock, or moving the boat to my backyard on a custom trailer or hiring a local boat mover with a hydraulic trailer to do it.  One way or the other, I plan to decide on that soon, probably after the first of the year.  Here are a few photos taken in local waters since the trip home from Tarpon Springs in July:

This is the anchorage off of West Ship Island the first week in November, taken from my little 9-foot sit-on-top kayak after I spend a half hour of so diving under the bottom to clean the hull and prop.

That trip was Michelle's first time aboard the boat.  We had great weather, and the anchorage to ourselves.

Sunrise over West Ship Island.

These last two were taken by my brother, Jeff from his fishing boat, as I was sailing back to Biloxi from a solo trip to East and West Ship Islands.  They were taken with an iPhone, so not the best quality, but the only shots I have of the boat under sail.  I still had a reef in the main coming in, as it had been blowing a steady 20-25 knots a couple hours earlier.  This boat is really easy to singlehand, a very important criteria I had when I was looking for my next boat.  At this time I have two tiller pilots on board, but will eventually fit a self-steering windvane as well.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Kruger Sea Wind Canoe #175 is For Sale

UPDATE 10-12-13: Sea Wind #175 has now been SOLD and will be moving to the Chesapeake Bay area when the new owner picks it up in November.

I recently mentioned in the comments section of my post about The Kruger Sea Wind Canoe, that my boat, Sea Wind hull #175 is currently for sale.  I am updating here to let anyone who may be looking for a great deal on one of these boats know that #175 is still available.

It may come as a surprise that I am selling this special boat so soon after buying it, so I'll explain the reason now.  I had been in the market for a cruising sailboat to replace the Tiki 26 catamaran that I sold in August, 2012, and for several months I looked at boats from south Florida to the Texas Gulf Coast and still could not find what I was looking for.  So in March, 2013, when a friend sent me a link to a classified ad listing this Kruger Sea Wind for sale in Minneapolis, MN, I decided to jump on the opportunity to buy it, because these boats are rare on the used market and usually sell fast when they do appear.  At the time, I was ready to get out on the water, and figured it would be a long time before I found the right sailboat.  So, I drove to Minneapolis, picked up the Sea Wind and brought it back to Mississippi, where I have since paddled it on numerous day trips in rivers, lakes and the Gulf, and one three-day camping trip on Bay Springs Lake, on the Tenn-Tom Waterway.

Naturally, not long after buying the Sea Wind the perfect deal on a sailboat came along, and I bought a 1980 Cape Dory 27 in Tarpon Springs, Florida, and sailed it home with my friend, Scott Finazzo, as described in my previous post here.  Of course, a 27-foot sailboat that has to be kept in the water all the time requires a lot more in the way of maintenance and expenses than any canoe or kayak, not to mention all the upgrades and additional equipment I would like to add, so I made the decision to let the Sea Wind go at this time so I can devote my full attention to the sailboat.  Owning a Kruger Canoe, even briefly, fulfilled a long-term dream of mine I've had since first reading about Verlen and Steve's Ultimate Canoe Challenge expedition back in the 1980s.  I'm sure I will own another one at some point, as the boat has lived up to all the hype and is everything the avid paddlers who own one say it is.  But for now, the limited time I will have to use it doesn't do it justice, so I'm hoping to find a serious paddler who will be able to use it to its potential.

Sea Wind #175 is ten years old, built in 2003, and there were two previous owners before me.  It is in excellent condition for its age and has not been abused or likely even used hard.  There are a few of the usual dings and scrapes any boat of this type will sustain in normal use, but overall, the boat still looks great and performs like new.  It comes with the optional spray skirt that encloses the large cockpit for paddling in rough conditions in open water, as well as a waterproof travel cover for the cockpit, and the cockpit canopy that Verlen designed for paddling in hot, tropical conditions.  I'm selling the boat with all these extras as a package deal, and whoever buys it will save a significant amount of money over the cost of a new Sea Wind, not to mention getting it now, rather than having to wait several months depending on the builder's backlog.  You can find current pricing of a new Sea Wind and these accessories here on the Kruger Canoes website:

Email me directly for the price and answers to any questions you may have about this boat.  It is located in south Mississippi, but delivery or shipping may be possible depending on buyer location.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sailing My New (to me) Boat Home

Long-time readers of this blog have probably been disappointed in my lack of regular posting, but those of you who still check in from time to time will likely see a lot of new material here in the near future.  I have been on an intensive boat search for the past year, since selling my Wharram Tiki 26 catamaran project, and though I could have posted about the various ups and downs of the search, I decided to wait until I actually found a boat first.

That search has led me to a 1980 Cape Dory 27, a Carl Alberg design I have long admired that is just the right size and displacement to meet my current needs in a cruising boat.  I will be posting extensively here as I upgrade and refit this vessel, at the same time as I use her for local daysailing and cruising.  Taking my time to find the right boat paid off, as she was mostly ready to go and only required four days of preparation and outfitting to get ready for the 450-mile passage home from Tarpon Springs, Florida to Biloxi, Mississippi. Here she is at the dock in Florida:

For the trip home, I had the competent help of my friend, Scott Finazzo, who I am co-authoring a book with at the present time.  Scott is also the author of the excellent adventure and travel blog: Lure of the Horizon, and along the way he spent far more time than I shooting stills and video, mostly with his phone.  Here is a short compilation of the video clips that he put together:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Kruger Sea Wind Canoe

My most recent boat acquisition is a Kruger Sea Wind canoe. While at first glance it may look like a kayak or hybrid of some type with its fore and aft decks and foot-controlled rudder, it is in fact a solo canoe and is paddled with a single blade paddle from the middle of the boat.

The Kruger Sea Wind was designed by the late Verlen Kruger - a product of more than a 100.000 miles of paddling experience (more than any other man in history) and was his ultimate expedition boat after more than 40 prototypes.

Unlike a sea kayak, the Kruger Sea Wind has a long, open cockpit and a comfortable seat that adjusts up and down to suit conditions and type and length of paddle being used.  With its high peaked decks and raised coaming, it's a dry ride in all but the worst conditions and when needed there is a custom fitted waterproof fabric spray deck to seal the cockpit completely.  At 17'2" long with 28" of beam, the boat has a lot more volume than the typical touring sea kayak as well.  With no bulkheads or hatches, gear can be shoved fore and aft under the decks in large dry bags.  The seat can be quickly removed to clear the cockpit floor for sleeping aboard, if necessary.

I've always wanted to try one of these Kruger-designed canoes since back in the 1980's when I was planning my own big kayak trips that were partly inspired by Verlen Kruger's exploits, particularly his 28,000-mile Ultimate Canoe Challenge and his 20,000-mile Two-Continent Canoe Expedition:

While I still like sea kayaks and feel that they are the most seaworthy small boats available, particularly for nasty surf conditions and the like, the Kruger Sea Wind would have many advantages on trips like my journey from the lakes of Canada down the Mississippi River.  For one, it's much easier to portage than a kayak, with a special portage yoke built into the bottom of the seat, that can be quickly deployed by flipping it upside down in it's rack.  Then, it's easier to quickly get in and out of than a kayak, useful for pulling over shoals, logs and other obstacles and landing on muddy riverbanks.  It can carry much more in the way of gear and supplies, allowing you to easily travel a month between resupply.  And finally, it's more comfortable than a kayak, with room to move around and change position, rather than being shoehorned into a narrow cockpit with no options.   The long cockpit also allows for setting up a camera tripod in front of the paddling position - great for wildlife photography - especially from a stable platform like this boat is.  It's also easier to access camera gear, change lenses, etc. than in a kayak.  Most of the video clip at the end of this post was filmed with my Nikon V1 on the tripod in front of me as I paddled.

The main reason I waited so long to try one of these boats was price and availability.  All Kruger Sea Winds are custom-built one at a time by Mark Przedwojewski, who learned the craft directly from Verlen.  And all are super-strong lay-ups of 10 layers of Kevlar, making for a lightweight, yet almost indestructible boat.  A new Sea Wind will set you back around $5500 with no accessories such as the spray deck.  Every once in awhile, a used one does show up, but most owners keep their Krugers for life.  Mine recently came up for sale by a friend of the prior owner, after she passed away last year.  I snatched it up as soon as I found the ad on a paddling classified site, then drove to Minneapolis, Minnesota to pick it up.  Getting it used, I saved a good deal and got the spray deck, bimini top and cockpit cover.  It's got a few character scratches and dings, but it's Kruger and these boats are built to be paddled, not looked at.  Still, it does look good to my eyes anyway, even if it's not perfect.  I really love the lines of the hull and decks.  It is certainly one slippery boat, and moves through the water with less effort than any canoe I've paddled.

Here's a short video I put together from a recent three-day paddling and camping trip with Ernest Herndon on Bay Springs Lake, which is part of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in north Mississippi.  Ernest was paddling my Necky Tesla sea kayak most of the time while I put the Kruger through its paces.  He shot the scenes of me paddling the Kruger from the bank during a short break, while the rest was shot from the cockpit while I paddled:

To learn more about these fantastic boats, visit Kruger Canoes.  To read the Verlen Kruger story, check out the book:  All Things Are Possible: The Verlen Kruger Story: 100,000 Miles by Canoe.   Look for updates here too as I try this boat out in a variety of conditions and environments.  I'm still in the process of getting it set up for travel and thinking about where I might like to take it.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Assembling a Big Wharram Catamaran

Part of the appeal of building a Wharram catamaran is that the hulls and other components can be built individually and then moved to another location for assembly and launching.  With the smaller sizes, this can be done without much mechanical assistance, but once you get up to the size of the Ariki 47, it gets a little more involved.

Here's a video clip Boatsmith posted showing the delivery and partial assembly of the first pro-built Ariki 47 delivered to the customer, who will complete the fit-out and rigging himself.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Interviews With James Wharram (Three)

James Wharram continues his story of his early voyages and talks about meeting sailing legend Bernard Moitessier in Trinidad:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Interviews with James Wharram (Two)

Here is the second of a series of interviews with legendary catamaran designer, James Wharram and co-designer Hanneke Boon.  In this conversation with David Halladay, James recounts his early seafaring life:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Interviews with James Wharram

This is the first of a series of interviews with James Wharram and his co-designer, Hanneke Boon, talking with David Halladay of Boatsmith, Inc. in his shop in West Palm Beach, Florida.  In this first video, James discusses his early influences that led to his legendary catamaran designs:

"A boat is freedom, not just a way to reach a goal."
Bernard Moitessier - A Sea Vagabond's World


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