The end of an era: we sold our Catalina 22.
This photo was taken the first time that we saw her—still sporting her Maryland registration and docked in Baltimore. We started looking for boats immediately after our introductory sailing class in the summer of 2009, which quickly escalated into light obsession. Neither of us really knew much about boats or sailing, but I’d done some reading and was trolling the sailing forums pretty hard. When the price of a certain Catalina 22 that we’d been following ticked down into the top end of our range, we enlisted the help of a stranger from the forums who had volunteered to help people look at boats. This was our first experience with the generosity that we would see time and time again from the sailing community, and he gave us his blessing on the boat. From there, we forged ahead with the sort of brazenness that only genuine ignorance affords, and we lucked out in a lot of ways. Fortuitous (I) has been a great boat.
I thought it would be fun to look back and highlight some of our favorite and most pivotal times together.
Why Sailors are Superstitious
I had never imagined that moving the boat from Baltimore to Barnegat Bay would be such a tribulation. Our truck died about 15 miles out of Baltimore on our first attempt to take delivery, resulting in a fairly ridiculous tow truck ride back home. The seller was eager to get the boat out of his marina, and we were nervous that he was going to think that we were flaking out on the deal. We eventually got the boat back to our house with help from Jen’s parents (even though I impulsively bought a truck that day) and then the only remaining tasks were to get her registered and moved from our house to the shore. I say “only” jokingly, since that turned out to be a series of mishaps so convoluted that I felt that I needed to write them down—which became the basis for this boat log.
The Cattus Island Beat Down of October 2010 was a defining moment in our sailing careers. We had sailed up to Silver Bay with our club, which was a big sail for us at the time, and got caught coming home in a storm that brought 30kt winds and substantial chop. We had never seen anything like that and were somewhat concerned that we might die, but the fact that we didn’t was a rallying point for future sails. We would literally say things like “It’s not Cattus Island-bad out there…” It was slow to develop, but Cattus Island gave us a lot of confidence. It’s often said that a boat will take far more abuse than her crew, but it’s hard to believe until you witness it.
Sailing with Friends
We have tons of great memories of sailing with friends, sailing, bobbing around at anchor, swimming, making Daiquiris (the mixed drink, not that frozen nonsense), and just hanging out. One time that stands out for Jen was when we were anchored with Tim and Andrea, I broke out the boat guitar, and we sang a rousing rendition of The Old Crow Medicine Show’s Wagon Wheel. We had too many fun afternoons to mention them all, but we were always happy to have folks aboard.
Cruise to Atlantic City
In contrast to Cattus, our cruise to Atlantic City was amazing. We faced a lot of technical challenges: tidal currents, navigating unknown waters, and sailing farther than we ever had before. Sailing to a more urban location was certainly a first for us, although being in Atlantic City wasn’t necessarily the highlight and we weren’t there for very long. We cut the vacation short to take advantage of a good weather window for the return trip, and wound up sailing the entire way back. As we silently jibed our way through the winding channel behind Brigantine we were mostly alone with the sedge and the shore birds, with little evidence that humans had ever been there. We even saw a sea turtle. More than any other cruise, I think that trip lived up to the romantic ideal of sailing for us.
Some Settling May Have Occurred
The vast majority of our boating is comprised of daysails to nowhere, and although it doesn’t always make for the most compelling log entries, it really is an excellent way to spend a day. In August of 2013, we set out on a daysail to Toms River when the wind was a little stronger than predicted and we got tossed around a bit. I wrote about it here. While it was nothing special in the grand scheme of things, I felt like something was different that day. There was a time when those conditions would have made us nervous and we might have doused the sails and motored home, but we didn’t even consider it—we very calmly eased the sails and made a plan to rectify the situation with a reef at the next convenient time, which worked flawlessly. For whatever reason, it struck me that we had actually accumulated some skill, and that we might be ready to move on to a boat that would allow us to face even bigger challenges and more exotic adventures.
Fortuitous (I) has been a fantastic boat, and we’ll always have genuine affection for her. Although I obviously have no basis for comparison, I can’t imagine a better boat on which to learn. She got us safely through every screwed-up situation that we put ourselves into (often with far more grace and dignity than her skipper), she allowed us to grow tremendously as sailors, and we had an incredible amount of fun together. We’re sad to see her go, but we’re looking forward to the next chapter of our sailing adventures.