The Backstory

Kind of a big change, huh?  I’ve had a lot of questions, so here are at least some answers:

PicMonkey CollageThe boat on the top is our Tayana 37 Que Tal, which we owned from 2002 to 2010.  On her, we cruised full-time with no other home.  We spent a lot of time in the Sea of Cortez, and also cruised Pacific Mexico and Central American to El Salvador.  We loved it!

Towards the end of that time, Dave developed some medical issues that just weren’t getting fully diagnosed either in Mexico or on our trips back to the US.  Combined with a number of other reasons, we finally decided to move back “home” and sell Que Tal.  (By the way, now renamed Madrona and with a family of four aboard, the former Que Tal is now in the South Pacific.)

It took almost three years, but the medical issues were finally resolved.  And during that time, we realized that we really hated winter. We’d gotten used to warm weather and we disliked — no, I’ll say hated again — the annual bouts with bronchitis that lasted longer each year.  And with the cold weather and winter “crud,” we weren’t very active in the winter and every spring would have to get in shape all over again.

Combine all that with spending ten days this winter in the US and Spanish Virgin Islands with Denis and LaDonna (and Baguette) about their Lagoon 390 catamaran, and then coming home to be hit once more with the winter crud and bronchitis.  We decided we were going to be somewhere warm next winter!  ALL winter.

About the same time, Dave’s sister tried to talk us into getting an inexpensive condo in Florida near her.  Dave and I had always sworn we wouldn’t have two homes, but this snowbird idea was growing on us.

But a condo?  Us?  We discussed this for all of about 5 seconds. Dave looked at me and said, “Who are we kidding?  We don’t want to be near the water, we want to be on the water. Not ‘waterfront’ on-the-water, but ON the water.”

And with that, we started looking for a boat.  We’d really missed cruising and living aboard and wanted to do it again, but a little differently.

Our plan is to spend summers at our home in Illinois (we live on a small lake there, too — can’t get us away from water) and winters on the new boat in the Keys and possibly the Bahamas.  Maybe further in the future.

And so, while we had loved our Tayana 37, we know that wasn’t what we wanted in a Keys/Bahamas boat.  We wanted a shallow draft, so we could go pretty much anywhere we wanted in the skinny waters.  But we also wanted a boat that sailed well.  Our ten days on Beagle Knot at the end of January convinced us that cats could sail well (we’d previously been monohull snobs).

So we started looking at various ones, and decided that while there were several that appealed to us, the Gemini just seemed “right.” The bottom boat in the photo is a sistership to the one we’re buying (we don’t have a photo of ours under sail or even away from the dock).  That one is brand new; the one we’re buying is from 2000.

The Gemini has an 18″ draft with the boards up, typical great catamaran speed off the wind, and good sailing to weather with one board down. Only 14′ beam so she fits in a standard slip and will fit on most Travelifts.

We also liked the fact of no exterior teak on the Gemini, the shorter mast and smaller sails compared to Que Tal (we’re not getting any younger), the lighter weight of the boat and the wonderful living accommodations.  It’s so light inside compared to the teak cave of Que Tal.  The large cockpit is another selling point — Que Tal‘s was designed to be a safe place when crossing an ocean, the Gemini’s a spacious place to relax and entertain.

While some have sailed Geminis around the world and even around Cape Horn, they are really more of a coastal cruiser.  Back when we bought Que Tal, we really didn’t know where we might decide to go, and wanted a boat that could cross oceans.  Que Tal was perfect for that.  Now our plans are different and so is our choice of boat (our budget has played a big part in both choices, too).

Better yet, the new boat will provide lots of fodder for more articles.  A propane front-loading refrigerator this time.  A small stove with a minute oven will mean that the Omnia will get even more use.  A lot more attention to the weight of provisions.

And there’ll be a slew of outfitting posts as we outfit the boat with literally everything.  It’s pretty bare as is.  I’ll be writing about just about everything we choose, how we made the decisions and then later with more information on how our choices work in the real world aboard a boat.

We’re excited to begin this new phase of our cruising life!

Our first cruising boat was a heavy teak monohull. Our new one is a light plastic catamaran. Why both were right, and a bit about our plans.

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  • S/V Kelly Nicole
    Posted at 06 April 2014 Reply

    Nothing like a new boat to liven things up! The Cat looks cool

  • John Ahern
    Posted at 06 April 2014 Reply

    Congrats on your boat…You will love what the cat offers

  • Leigh
    Posted at 06 April 2014 Reply

    Congratulations! We have friends aboard a Gemini like yours – I love the layout and the natural light that comes into the salon. Can’t wait to read more about your new gal!

  • Jessica Hulse McCann
    Posted at 06 April 2014 Reply

    Can’t wait to read more!!!!

  • Bill Dixon
    Posted at 06 April 2014 Reply

    Congrats! Enjoy! You will love the keys and SW Florida.

  • Mary E Dixon
    Posted at 06 April 2014 Reply

    Since you will be cruising sw fl you may be interested in my blog

  • Mary E Dixon
    Posted at 06 April 2014 Reply

    What is the lake in Il?

  • Julie M. O'Brien
    Posted at 06 April 2014 Reply

    Congratulation on your new home.

  • Margaret Henry Bujnoch
    Posted at 06 April 2014 Reply


  • Judie Ashford
    Posted at 06 April 2014 Reply

    Many congratulations! So glad to hear your medical problems are behind you! Definitely leave the cold winters to people who enjoy them. Southwest Florida (and beyond) is a better winter venue.

    Very much looking forward to your new columns.

  • Ana
    Posted at 06 April 2014 Reply

    happy for the two of you – looking forwar to more adventures on your new cat – maybe you might convince us to go “cat” in the future.

  • Lori Steinbrunner
    Posted at 06 April 2014 Reply

    Congrats! Especially as a fellow Gemini owner, I look forward to reading future posts.

  • RichC
    Posted at 06 April 2014 Reply

    I’m still in the mono-hull snob mode, but am excited for your new boat and look forward to the posts ahead. Good luck and be fair with the pro’s and con’s. Congratulations.

  • Dan Thomas
    Posted at 06 April 2014 Reply

    We are looking to buy our third catamaran. “Once you go cat, you can never go back,” to a monohull we tried it and hated it.

    Welcome to the dark side, or once here you’ll see that it’s the bright right side.

    Dan Thomas

  • Soupy Sayles
    Posted at 06 April 2014 Reply

    A catamaran is not a boat, its a pontoon raft that looks & performs like a water skipper. ; )

  • Marisa Draznin
    Posted at 06 April 2014 Reply

    Congrats on your new sail…. Question, where is Paz?

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 07 April 2014 Reply

      She’s with us and will be on the boat with us (that photo is from the manufacturer’s web site, not our boat . . . we don’t have an on-the-water photo yet). She’s going to go on the sea trial tomorrow, too!

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 07 April 2014 Reply

      And your profile pic looks like maybe a close relative? Is that your boat dog?

    • Marisa Draznin
      Posted at 07 April 2014 Reply

      She will be… We are still in the process of rebuilding a 44′ Marine Trader Trawler from a classic to a sun deck design. The Phoenix. She, the boat, is not ready to be put in the water, yet. My Bella is a maltipo, so I love hearing about Paz’s experiences. I had seen both of you in the Key Lago pictures with your Gemini but had not seen that Paz was with you until just now. : )

  • Hilary Helkenn
    Posted at 07 April 2014 Reply

    I just love it!! Like I said in a previous post… I can SOOO see this size of cat being our “retirement”boat!! Can’t wait for the write ups!

  • Travis Gilbert
    Posted at 07 April 2014 Reply

    Perfect boat for the Bahamas. Hope to see you there in a few years as we make it from Ca to there!!!

  • paulag
    Posted at 08 April 2014 Reply

    Congratulations on your new boat! I look forward to reading about your new adventures. We are pretty die-hard mono-hull people, but understand that different times and circumstances in our lives can dictate different choices. We have friends with the Gemini, and they are very happy with it. I do hope your writings will not become totally catamaran-focused, so we mono-hull sailors can still relate. Good luck!

  • Estelle
    Posted at 08 April 2014 Reply

    We also changed to a cat after living aboard our monohull for more than 15 years. We loved our monohull but the cat is sooooo comfortable and spacious and my seasickness is a distant memory since we moved on to catamarans. We wish you lots of good luck and great sailing experiences on your Gemini!

  • Ellen Baird
    Posted at 21 April 2014 Reply

    Definitely following…. I’m even now considering a smaller cat.

  • Jan Kappes
    Posted at 21 April 2014 Reply


  • Owen Caddy
    Posted at 12 July 2014 Reply

    Well done. That certainly sounds like a good choice. The crew of Madrona says hello from Malaysia.

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