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1987 Catalina 30 Mk II Standard Rig Rhombus By Fred Braman


long U.S. Navy deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy ended in June 1982. JFK had crossed two oceans, the Mediterranean Sea, and transited the Suez Canal, all twice, stopping in Australia on the way home! It was a LONG trip, but, now I was home and the planets were finally aligned. I was headed to shore duty at last, and to a place where they do a lot of sailing, Norfolk, VA. My young family was game for a new activity, so I did the logical thing that anyone who had spent five of the last seven years on a ship would do. I bought a boat! She was a Columbia 8.7, and I kept her for 22 years. Monilou, named after my daughter Monica and wife Louise, was to be my life’s boat. My family grew up sailing her, as did my friends and their families. Lots of memories. Somewhere, sometime during my ownership, I was invited aboard another boat of about the same size—a Catalina 30. My Columbia and the

Catalina differed in overall length by only two inches. Then I went below in the Catalina—WHOA! Length is where the similarity ended. So big she was; the Catalina looked like my living room! She looked nice, and I filed away the image. In the fall of 2004, Hurricane Frances ended any hope that Monilou would be my life’s boat. The Catalina image was recalled, and the search for Monilou II, began. In search of my “new” boat, I whittled down my wish list to a few makes and models between 27 and 35 feet; big enough for grandkids, small enough for single-handed sailing. On a boat-search trip to Tampa Bay, I stepped aboard a very nice Catalina 30 that looked nearly new, belying her then 17 years. By the way, I was a high school geometry teacher at the time. Sitting in the cockpit, liking everything I saw, I asked: “What’s the name of this boat, anyway?”


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