Sunday, April 8, 2007
The Sunshine story begins....
Sunshine is the name of our new baby, a PDQ 36 LRC cruising catamaran. The photo shows her during the haulout for her survey, which she passed with flying colors. We bought her a few days ago and she is currently docked on Grand Canal near Melbourne, FL. The only problem is that we live, for the time being, in Indiana. We are in the process of becoming fully retired and our sailing experience is limited to a three day charter in the Abacos several weeks ago. We plan to make several trips to Florida in the near future in order to become better acquainted with Sunshine and her various systems and, after we have mastered some basic motoring and docking skills, we will find a wide open area and slowly and carefully raise the sails and see what happens.
We appreciate all of the help, advice and encouragement that we have received from the cruising community. They are an amazing group of people who truly delight in helping one another. We are proud to be new members of their family. We have yet to meet a cruiser who wasn't willing to help us in any way possible and we would not be undertaking this adventure unless we knew that we can rely on the safety net that they provide.
Within a few weeks, we hope to have motored up the Intracoastal Waterway as far as the Georgia coast where we will stop in the Savannah area and catch our breath for a while before heading farther North. Once we find a good semi-permanent stopping place (probably at the base of the Chesapeake Bay), we will spend the rest of the summer exploring that area while we refine our sailing skills. When fall arrives, we plan to head for the Bahamas and spend the winter exploring that amazing part of the world. Then, when spring rolls around again, we will most likely head back up the East coast of the US and, then, repeat the cycle. At some point, we'd like to venture farther South into the Caribbean and maybe, some day, through the Panama Canal and beyond.
Sunshine is very well equipped and, once we figure out what we are doing, she should be very easy to sail. For the sailors out there, she has electric winches, a self-furling mainsail, a self tacking genoa, twin 18 hp Yanmar diesels, solar panels, a wind generator, radar, autopilot, watermaker, freezer and so on. It will take us a while to learn to operate and maintain all of these bells and whistles, but we are looking forward to the process. Her overall length is 36' and her beam (width) is 18'3". She only draws 3'8" which is perfect for the ICW and the Bahamas.
Are we crazy? Maybe, but - as Jimmy Buffett says - only time will tell.
Please check on our progress from time to time as we begin this new chapter in our lives. We will post some better photos of Sunshine and keep you updated as we inch our way up the ICW into the unknown. Once we have an idea about what we are doing, we hope to have many of our friends and relatives join us for cruises. For now, we really can't blame you for wanting to stay on shore.
Phil and Margaret McGovern