Midway through the hunt for a boat I stumbled on a SunCat for sale in northern California. These are a modern take on a traditional boat form. At 17 feet and about a thousand pounds, this beamy, charming (and yes, fiberglass) boat had a lot going for it. It has just enough brightwork to be pleasant, not enough to be a chore to maintain. It also can be rigged pretty quickly, from what I hear. With a short shoal keel you could park it in two feet of water; its compact cabin was big enough to cozily sleep four; plus, it was trailerable. This boat seemed like a pretty good candidate.
That is, until I realized that our little car would barely tow it. And our driveway was just a little too small to store it. And according to Andy Boat, you can’t row it. But I was smitten. I would have given up the rowing option for it. I couldn’t stop imagining the fun we would have: the boys and I hanging out on deck while my wife lounged contentedly in the cabin with her novel (a vision no less compelling to her). Caught up in these fantasies, I was strangely willing to ignore the SunCat’s shortage of sail area, and to overlook the conviction that I was probably too young to own a “comfort boat” like this, where the chance of spilling beer while sailing was so small, and the fact that the resale value of the boat would likely be half of what I paid for it.
My wife, oldest son, and I all wanted this boat in a bad way. You don’t see many catboats on the west coast and I’d never found this model out here. We considered a dozen permutations of ownership, storage, and towing. My wife maniacally called four different car dealers, hoping that one of them would tell us to ignore the owner’s manual and just tow the thing!
Eventually we had to face the reality that this just wasn’t the boat for us. Regretfully we let the catboat go.
(Guest editing and editorial contributions provided by my literary wife.)