The best piece of boat-buying advice I received was this: buy the boat that suits your present needs, not the boat you dream you will need. We keep our big-boat desires in check by chartering in the Caribbean and New Zealand, but a trailer-sailer suits most of my needs. I don’t like boats that heel a lot, and shallow-draft trailer-sailers are notorious for that, so I looked for a multihull. Eventually I found Oz Goin’ Sailing, a Little Barrier Sprinter 20ft trailer-sailer that I keep in a slip on Lake St. Clare, Michigan, and trailer for a week once or twice a summer.
Weighing 2,400lb with the trailer, and drawing less than a foot, Oz Goin’ Sailing is easy to trailer and launch. The two hulls make her very stable. It’s easy to handle the loads on the halyards and sheets, and even with my gimpy back I can raise the 10lb Rocna anchor plus its chain. The Sprinter has a full-size rectangular bed between the hulls. Like all small boats, the downsides include tight accommodations and lack of stowage. Oh well, you can’t have it all...
Last year we towed her nine hours from Detroit up to Lake Michigan’s North Channel and spent a happy week exploring, sleeping aboard each night. Cruising on such a small boat is like camping. In the mornings we roll up the bed and use the space for gear. Then at night, we put the gear in the cockpit to free up the space for the bed, slide in the screens to keep the mosquitoes out, and flip on the fan.
Our 5hp Honda pushes us at 6 knots at ¾ throttle and uses a gallon of gas every two hours. Under sail, we’ve seen speeds of 8.5 knots.
Am I happy to have the flexibility to trailer to great nearby sailing areas for short trips? You bet! Is the boat fun for day sails? A blast! Would I like a bigger boat? I would love the space, but not the weight or maintenance. Will I still charter? Absolutely. Maybe you can have it all...
Photo courtesy of Neil Blavin