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A “JEM” of a Sailboat By Joe Hrobuchak


ver since my wife Jackie and I moved to Florida 25 years ago, we began to fantasize about life afloat. We knew that this would be a gradual process. We were still young (at least a bit younger than today), and our experience was limited, although Jackie had some. Jackie’s dad was a 20-year Navy man who loved sailing. As a young girl, she fell in love with sailing with her Dad out of Annapolis on the “The Bay” on his Islander 30. I had never sailed before. Then I met Jackie, then her Dad and then learned to sail—and the rest, as so many say, is history. We bought our first sailboat in 1989. It was a 1978 Hunter 30. This was a bare bones—nothing fancy—basic coastal cruiser sloop. We ended up living aboard for about 12 months—when we learned the meaning of “personal space.” Next, we acquired a 1978 Endeavour 32. Again a nice boat, but compact. I am sure that everyone planning to make a jump to the liveaboard lifestyle has different ideas and needs. In our case, we were coming out of a 2400-square-foot, 4-bedroom house with a pool—and a lot of closet space! An 80-footer was out of the question for obvious reasons, so we began our quest for a comfortable, sailable, liveable, affordable, safe and stout vessel. We found all of those basic requirements in the Gulfstar Sailmaster 47, which we named JEM. She has a LOA of 475”, LWL of 40’6”, and a beam of 13’10”. She displaces 38,000 pounds with 10,500 pounds ballast, which is quite helpful in stability, as the boat does have some windage due to the raised deckhouse design. She draws 5’6” on a modified keel. The mast height above the waterline is 54’5” (plus VHF antenna). The 47 was offered as a sloop or ketch rig. We preferred the sloop. Sail area is 873 square feet. Conceived by Dick Lazzara as a motorsailer, the


August 2009