Introducing Sea Sharp
01 September 2008
Thought I'd introduce you to Sea Sharp our sail boat and home for the next half year or so. I expect this blog will be read by both boaters and non-boaters so I'll keep it mid-range in terms of details....
Sea Sharp is a 1994 Legend 37.5 built by Hunter Marine of Alachua Florida. She is our fifth boat and third Hunter. Hunter boats are known as "production boats"; think about them as the Chevy of boats. They are commodious, inexpensive (boaters will know what this means; non-boaters will gasp at the price of boats and boat parts). We love our boat ad while I would not take her across the Atlantic, she is comfortable and easily handled.
We purchased Sea Sharp, then Blown Away from Tom and Lisa Schlagel from Mystic Connecticut in 2004. Tom and Lisa purchased her new (in 1994) from Sailing Specialities, a large Hunter dealer. They took great care of her and when we went looking for our new boat in 2004, with intentions of getting ready for the cruise we've ultimately embarked upon, we knew they were responsible and careful owners.
Sea Sharp is 37.5 feet long and 12 feet at the beam (the widest part of the boat). She is a modern, sloop rigged, fibreglass boat. She carries two sails; a mainsail and a jib. We also have a spinnaker (the large, colourful, balloon like sail which you use for down wind, or off-wind sailing. We did not bring the spinnaker as it takes up too much space. She has a diesel engine (35 horsepower) which propels the boat when the winds are not favourable and for negotiating difficult places. Actually we expect to do a lot of motoring on this trip because much of it is in protected waterways where it is impractical to sail. In addition to propelling the boat, the motor charges the batteries and heats of the water for domestic purposes.
We like our boat because:
It has a huge aft-cabin; a rarity for a boat of this size
It has a walk-through, swim platform; Judy is a fish
It has lots of space below
It is easy to sail (for sailors, it is a fractional rig with a smaller jib relative to the main for easy handling
It is bright and airy (built for the tropical/sub-tropical market, there are many ports and hatches
It is affordable (won't go into details)
We bought her with the full intention of cruising and have spent countless hours (and dollars) getting her ready. As I mentioned when we bought her from Tom and Lisa, she was in beautiful shape but didn't have that much gear. That was fine for me because I wanted to equip her with new stuff and to my specifications. So over the four seasons that we owner her we did numerous improvements. For those interested here are a few of the things we did:
Inverter (turns 12 volts into 110 so we can use household appliances)
Two large battery banks (Judy thinks we are connected directly into NBPower)
Bimini and full enclosure; this would be the household equivalent of the back porch. Dave Martin from Flyer Products of Fredericton built this for us and we are so pleased. It offers us so many options to close up the cockpit (rear part of the boat where you steer) and shelter us from heat, cold, rain, etc. We highly recommend Dave.
Electric windlass; this is a very powerful motor and winch which launches and brings in the anchor and chain. I installed it this year; it was a formidable task but the results are great. We'll be anchoring most nights and pulling in up to 100 feet of chain and 200 feet of rope (rode) is a daunting task even for macho guys like me.
Solar panels; we use a lot of power. We have great electronics, lights, and other accoutrements which consume lots of power. While we have two large banks of batteries which are charged by the engine, we are indiscriminate in our use of electricity. The two solar panels, mounted on top of our dodger (the canvas enclosure covering the entrance to below) produce up to 10 amps when it's sunny; free power!!!
Upgraded electronics. For non-boaters we have about as many instruments as a Boeing 747. For boaters, we have Raymarine/Autohelm integrated instrumentation. We have two redundant sets of electronic navigation gear; a Bluetooth solar GPS receiver pushing to our laptop, running Nobletec navigation software. At the helm (the steering station) we run a Raymarine radar/chart plotter using c-map cartridges; beastly expensive but tiny chips which each contain multiple charts and amazing detail.
Entertainment gizmos; as you would expect from a boat named Sea Sharp (with a cat named Chopin) we love music and you'll always hear some refrain from our boat. So we have a great stereo system, iPod and portable hard drive with something like 25,000 songs. I don't think we'll run out! Our faves are, of course Jimmy Buffett but we also like Stan Getz, Gypsy Kings, Michael Buble, Chet Baker and just about anything else. Douglas Harbour neighbours will attest to Judy and I dancing on our foredeck (the front of the boat) on Saturday night at the end of the now-discontinued Danny Finkleman's 45Ls.
Watermaker; while Sea Sharp has a sizeable water tank that we refill at marinas, it is sometimes difficult to get potable water in the Bahamas. So we've installed a water maker. Essentially this is a high pressure pump which forces salt water from the sea through a membrane which removes the salt and any other impurities.
Dinghy and Motor; like virtually all cruising boats, we tow a dinghy in order to get us ashore when we stop. Ours is a 10 foot inflatable boat with an 8 horsepower outboard. She'll zip along and Judy loves to take it for spins.
Heater/Fireplace; We have a small cabin heater, fuelled by propane which doubles as a fireplace with a tempered glass door allowing you to see the flame behind.
We love our Boat - our home for the next while!