Charles and Marjie Gentry went to the 2008 Miami International Boat Show looking for a powerboat, something around 34 feet with a traditional feel.
And just a few more things. It had to fit in their condo slip at Marco Island, Fla., as well as on a flatbed trailer for transport to Maryland for a passage to the Great Lakes.
You can learn a lot spending time on a boat — how comfortable it is, how seaworthy, how it rides.
You also find out if it just “feels good.” Mike and Charlotte Hechler and their extended family spent most of last summer, as usual, cruising and day-tripping on their 36-foot Egg Harbor Sedan. But the Massapequa, N.Y., couple didn’t learn anything they didn’t already know.
According to Dr. Stuart Miller, “medical research has demonstrated that repeatedly placing a child in a boat produces a lifelong boater.” And the good doctor should know; he’s living proof.
Sailors, as a rule, don’t always take kindly to powerboats.
When the time came for a couple of lifelong sailors — cruisers and bluewater racers, at that — to make the switch, they had their misgivings.
It was the trip of a lifetime, a cruising couple’s dream: 46 days out of New Bern, N.C., on a 32-foot sloop; 854 nautical miles, round trip, into Chesapeake Bay and back; 45 nights anchored, moored, rafted or tied — and only three nights at a marina.
Pamlico Sound, Kitty Hawk Bay to Albemarle Sound, the Dismal Swamp Canal and Norfolk, Va. — and then the whole of the Bay to play in. Karl and Elaine Mielenhausen call their 2008 odyssey “an excellent adventure.” It was just what they had in mind when they bought their 2000 Catalina 320 in 2005, hull No. 690 of the popular design (more than 1,200 built).
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