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The author’s Catalina 30. Photo by Gary R. Gray.

Switched From Sail to Steam:

A Sailing Couple Makes the Move to a Trawler By Gary R. Gray Camano photos courtesy Rhumb Line Yacht Sales

So goes the line in the Jimmy Buffet song, “A Pirate Looks at Forty.”


atty and I have enjoyed sailing a couple of sailboats together—spent part of our honeymoon aboard one. Lately, we’ve noticed that after a couple of days on the boat we were feeling kind of stiff and sore. I guess we’re getting older, though she would deny it. And when people see us together, I get comments about taking my “daughter” out for a sail. I always say, “Patty is not as young as I look old.” Still, we began to wonder if another kind of boat would be more comfortable. People often say, “Sailing is a lot of work.” Modern boats have a lot of features like in- mast furling and cockpit controls that can lessen the effort. Our problem was the bending and twisting that goes on to get in and out of the boat, climbing up and down the companionway to get “down below.” Speaking of down below, you can’t see much from down there. At anchor or dockside, you are really removed from everything going on. We were drawn to the idea of being able to sit at the salon table having a cup of coffee and enjoying the view. We also found that at this time in our lives we can’t really get much time off. Two-week trips are just not possible most of the time. Much more possible is a long weekend. Some of our favorite cruising destinations are about seven


November 2005


hours away by sailboat. If the wind is right, it’s nice. Otherwise….well, it’s seven hours just getting there. Some people say that trawlers are slow. It’s all relative. Most sailboats will do between five and six knots. A good day’s run of, say, seven hours would allow you to cover 35 to 42 miles. An 8-knot boat can cover 56 miles in a day. A