Yes, you read that right! A very lucky buyer is about to get one special boat! This news may come as a surprise to followers of this blog but you can believe us when we say this is good news and all four of us are really excited about it.
If you are lucky enough to be able to spend a season in St. Martin, be sure to join the St. Martin Yacht Club. Dues are very inexpensive, you get a discount on food and drinks and, best of all, the proceeds of your dues go to training the next generation of local sailors. Another major perk: you get to take out the Club’s dinghies! They have excellent trainers like the RS Zest I have been taking out, in addition to other other offerings like Lasers.
I’ve gone out sailing in the lagoon three times now, each time in gusty winds ranging from 0 to massive 30 knots gusts (seriously – the breeze here is really up and down)! It’s terrific practice and instantly brough me back to that giddy, child-like excitement one feels when a dinghy accelerates in an instant and hops up on a plane. The sea state in the lagoon is also very flat, making for an excellent training ground.
We have been based in St. Martin for the 2022 winter season since early January, and holy cow, does the Hylas 54 shine bright here. Unlike our New England summers, for the first half of the season we have been primarily living at a slip on Simpson Bay in St. Martin, having taken two one-week cruises to see St. Barts and St. Kitts / Nevis, respectively. For the second half we will be traveling much more consistently and will mostly be at anchor or on moorings. But our cruising so far has shown me that a winter in the Caribbean is literally the perfect environment for these big Hylas boats. With a “town water” hookup and three air conditioning zones, life at the slip is easy and divine. But down here these boats really shine when you leave the dock!
I hate to have back to back negative posts but my readers know I love 1980s Sabres and I have a particular affinity for Sabre 42 since I owned and loved one for several years. These are beautiful, well made boats that will easily live 50, 60, 70 years with a minimum level of care. In my estimation they are halfway between products and works of art.
Last week I got the awful news that the J/29 I loved and cared for from 1996 through 2002 was abandoned by its owner in the Ferry Point marina. The marina took over the title of the boat and discovered that she had filled up with rainwater while sitting on land, destroying the interior. When boat yards are in a situation where they have taken title to a worthless boat, they cut them up and have them hauled off to the dump to free up space for paying customers. That is what happened to my poor baby.
I found out because over the years I have kept in touch with the guy who owned her before the last owner. As it happens I had travelled to see her a couple of times in recent years and I knew she had fallen into neglect. When I saw her in 2018 right after we sold Le Saberage she was in the water and had obviously not been sailed in many months or even years. I asked Peter to put me in touch with her owner to see if I could help fix her up and get her sold. The owner, who was reputed to be in poor health, never responded to Peter.
I spent my first weekend back in Annapolis doing the Annapolis Yacht Club double handed distance race! I was back on Moondust, the Beneteau 36.7 racing with Tim again. As usual the best way I can tell the story is to step aside and let a pro writer (Tim) tell it for me by linking to his blog article here. His narrative is perfect – I would only add a couple of details from my perspective:
I got an email from a reader with the following questions about living and working aboard. I thought I would post my email response here in Q&A format to help any other readers that may have similar questions:
Question: What’s been your experience trying to work while living about your boat? Have you had significant issues with connectivity or power while cruising nearshore? Do you end up spending most of your workdays docked in marinas or are you able to anchor out and still effectively communicate with the outside world? How about sharing a space, even with separate cabins, with someone else trying to do their thing? Would having to listen to another person’s phone or video calls end up driving your shipmate nuts?
Yesterday we arrived back in Annapolis to close out our 2021 New England cruise, and when I updated my log book I realized I had just passed 15,000 passage making miles! Over a third of those have been aboard Rover and almost half have been aboard Hylas sailboats. Not bad!
I have been moaning for years that “they just don’t make them like they used to” when it comes to modern cruising boats, especially when it comes to comically bad keels they are putting on them these days. While anchored near Shelter Island yesterday, I noticed a late model cruising sailboat trying to beat to weather in the 15-20 knot breeze that had kicked up. The boat was being sailed close hauled with both jib and main well reefed down. Initially, I had a view of the boat’s port side, but when it tacked I had an almost perfect view from astern. I was so astonished at what I saw that I pulled out my cell phone and captured this video:
In disbelief I wondered if this boat wasn’t being swept to leeward by the current. So I pulled out Navionics and checked the chart. The current was running strong FROM RIGHT TO LEFT as seen from the perspective of the video!
Yes folks, they really are building boats that sail this badly. It’s no wonder that production boat I lined up against years ago in my Sabre 42 wound up sliding a mile to leeward of me by the time we cross the Chesapeake near Annapolis. But I guess as long as people do all of their research at the boat shows and choose boats based on interior accommodation instead of sailing characteristics, they’ll keep building boats like this and people will keep buying them.
How about that! We had ideal conditions for a mid-day sail from Nantucket to Edgartown today: Winds starting in the upper teens from beam apparent that built into the low 20s with gusts to 28 or so. We did some really fantastic double-headed beam reaching and then tightened up to a close reach where we had to douse the staysail and reef the genoa well in to stay on our feet. What a ball!