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  • Writer's pictureDamond Goodwin

Blue Water Cruiser to Trailer Sailer, Time For a New Boat.

A Perfect Boat Isn't a Perfect Boat if It Can't Get You Where You're Going 

"I will never sell this boat," I said to the person on the dock, who was ever eager for me to stop talking so they could tell me about how their boat was also perfect. See, their boat was perfect, but for reasons exactly the opposite of those that made my boat perfect. But that’s just the way this sort of thing works. My boat was perfect, and their boat was perfect, but only for our respective individual delusions. We were living different delusions, so it made sense that both of us would need different boats to be deluded with. The interesting thing about delusion, however, is that it has a funny way of getting dismantled by reality.

Now, I’m sitting in that very boat, looking around trying to figure out how much money she might be worth because she is no longer the perfect boat. I believe she is someone else's perfect boat, but not mine anymore. My delusion was shattered by reality. The reality is, that Mirage, my invincible little Cape Dory 28, is too big, too heavy, and too much of a pain to move on wheels. For most of the sailing season, we were stuck behind the Pinopolis lock in South Carolina. Something that I thought was a great idea turned out to be less than that. The great idea was to store Mirage over the summer of 2023 in Lake Moultrie, an artificial lake built in WW2. The Pinopolis lock that holds the water, is the largest single lift lock in the United States. Unfortunately, it was under maintenance from December 2023, onward.

The Pinopolis Lock is the Tallest Single Lift Lock in the United States. Image courtesy of

The plan for this sailing season was to take Mirage back to the sea through the lock, and then head south for sun and work. A two-month lock related delay, with no end in sight, left us looking for other options. In the end, another boat was found and purchased on the seaside of the Pinopolis lock. The new boat was a Pearson 30. It was not my first choice of sailing craft, but something I thought would suffice to get us down to the keys for sun and much needed work. Again, I was wrong. Bummer, two strikes in such a short period can be tough on the ego. We sailed the derelict Pearson 30 to St Augustine where I essentially gave up on that particular delusion; the reality was much too strong. The Pearson story is another story, for another time. 

Wheels are Often Faster than Sails

Interestingly enough, wheels have been proven to be faster than sails. I haven’t found a reliable source yet, but I’m very sure of this fact. The entire time I looked to get out of the lake, I considered trailering Mirage south, the boat can technically fit on a trailer, so it seemed simple enough. The problem is, she is just too big to do it without special equipment and a truck to pull her down the road, i.e. more expense. She weighs over 10,000 pounds with all of our things inside. Not only that, but the time it takes to sail from place to place is agonizingly slow if you want to spend any time in port. Last year I was at sea for over 30 days to go 3,000 miles. A car can do the same thing in 3 or 4 days. 

After so many failed attempts and efforts to get to the Keys by boat, something that can be done in 9 hours and 44 minutes in a car, I was ready to throw in the towel and live a life of luxury on land. The only problem is, that I am helplessly addicted to the delusion that sailing is a good way to spend one's time. No matter how much I get slapped around, I am still convinced that I like to sail. Perhaps someday I will be proven wrong, but thus far that hasn’t happened. So, for 5 minutes, I decided to sell Mirage and never sail again. It was a glorious 5 minutes, perhaps the most peaceful 5 minutes I’ve had since I first decided that sailing was something I liked to do. 

You Have to Know What You Want to Get It.

Alas, all good things must end, and I eventually began thinking of new ways to get back on the water. The trailer idea had struck a cord in me. Previously I was too in love with Mirage to see that a trailerable sailboat was a good idea, even though trailering Mirage may not have been. Luckily, this sailing season's trials and tribulations allowed me to see through that love, refocus, and figure out what I actually want from sailing. So what do I want? As it turns out, it can be difficult to find what one wants if they haven’t defined what it is they want. From day one I have wanted, above all else, to sail. The reality of my current boat is this: I spend every waking moment working to produce the money to upkeep, maintain, and outfit Mirage for bluewater sailing; it is a tremendously expensive process in both time and money. The rest of the time I spend polishing, varnishing, installing, chasing wires, and traveling to and from the boat. 

It has been exactly 1 year since I went for my last pleasure cruise to Tarpon Belly Key in the Keys. 

Over the last three years, I have averaged about 30 days at sea per year, or roughly 3,000 NM of actively sailing while living aboard. I do not care for margaritas or bikinis on the beach, I don’t want to live in the “Keys”, I don’t particularly love diving, I rarely swim, I don’t fish, and I’m not entirely fond of sitting in a boat at anchor for months on end. I like sailing, the act of making a boat move through the water via the power of the wind. So, why would I continue to live such an impractical life, if all I really care about is sailing and the ocean? For me, sailing is being at sea, and seeing the crazy world that exists in the ocean. It is an absolutely insane landscape, that has the power to both humble and inspire even the most dense of our species. I love being out there and being pushed to the brink of my sanity. 

If I were to get a smaller boat, that can be transported to and from my cruising grounds it opens up a new world of possibilities. I will be able to drive the boat wherever I want to sail at 50 Knots, UPWIND. This means a 30-day sailing trip can be shortened by 27 days. Allowing me to sail in the chosen area for 27 more days than I would previously, and break 3,000 NM less stuff on the boat in the process. In addition, I will have the boat in my future backyard, stored out of the toxic salt water, to work on at my leisure. The boat can be a lot smaller since it doesn’t have to transport everything I own at all times, and so much more. The amount I pay in storing Mirage for one year will cover the boat's purchase price, and then supply me with enough money for each year’s cruising expenses since the boat can be stored in my hypothetical yard for FREE. 

So, my latest delusion is this: I need a SMALLER boat, so I can sail more, with less expense and heartache. 

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