Re: V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N

Gordon (
Sun, 28 Feb 1999 11:19:29 -0800

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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John B wrote:

>Hi All, This is a really long message, but I have questions, so many
>I have this whirlwind, month-long, drag-the-Potter-all-over
>Trip (actually, if she says “yes” – and if I can “Screw my courage to
>a sticking place” - it will be a honeymoon, but that’s a different
>story…) planned for this summer:
>to Erie PA;
>to Niagara Falls;
>to Toronto (3 days);
>1000 Islands;
>Lake Champlain;
>Lake Winnipesaukee, NH;
>A week in Southwest Harbor (Bar Harbor), ME;
>Portland, ME;
>E. Falmouth/Nantucket/Vineyard (3 days);
>Newport, RI;
>Mystic, CT;
>Pittsburgh (to go to the IKEA store, of course!);
>and finally home again, about a month later.

Many years ago, my bride and I went on a traveling honeymoon, with a
Porsche but no boat. At each stop, my bride would say, "Oh, let's stay
here!" But I didn't get it, and the next day we would be back on the road,
heading for the next sightseeing wonder. I loved to travel and see what was
over the horizon and assumed that everyone else did too, even on a

I only suggest you talk this plan over carefully beforehand and be sure
that you both have the same concept.

> I've looked at some navigation software, and even some chartplotters,
>but it all seems way overpriced. However, because Andrea and I are both
>looking for new teaching jobs somewhere south and coastal, I may be able
>to rationalize the expense – meaning both cartridges for this trip,
>which I’ll probably never use again, and new disks for the area where we
>eventually live. Jeez, I think I just talked myself out of it…
>Anyway, I’d be interested in some reviews and more info on this type of
>One option lets me have a laptop on-board (which appeals to the geek in
>me), but then I’m back to something difficult to manage in the cockpit,
>and there’s the added worry of it going overboard or getting wet…
>For safety’s sake, I really like the idea of having a GPS – even if I’m
>never out of sight of land.
>Is any of this truly better and worthwhile, or is it just another
>too-expensive toy?

I would forget the laptop and software, but a small GPS is wonderful and
not very expensive. I have a GPS II+, but the GPS III+, with its chart
display would be very useful for both the driving and the sailing, I think.
It's a little more expensive and the map software is extra. Keep in mind
that the boat will be crowded and sometimes wet, and just sailing will keep
your hands full. On the other hand, how will you keep up with the mail list
without a computer?

>Our sailing experience consists, so far, of a few day-rentals at a very
>small local lake (that rented us the skiff the first time even after we
>told them we had NO experience – what an adventure!), and a week-long
>level I & II ASA course that we took in Florida last August. Without
>practice since, I feel everything we learned there slipping away… Now,
>we’re hoping to get in some substantial experience on our recently
>acquired WWP15 before we leave for this trip in Mid-June, and we’ll be
>getting more experience along the way in progressively bigger waters,
>before we head out into the ocean, but, still, the idea of open water
>is giving me the nagging doubts…

>For example, with such limited experience, would we be foolish to
>attempt the 10 mile (?) crossing to Nantucket Island, let alone the
>three mile crossing to Martha’s Vineyard – even if the weather is
>perfectly cooperative?

You may be trying to squeeze too much into one trip, especially a honeymoon
trip. But it depends a lot on how adventurous and energetic you and your
companion are. You'll probably find more than enough adventure on lakes and
bays, especially since you are unfamiliar with both the boat and the waters.

>We’re (I’m) planning on saving some money by sleeping on the boat in
>rented slips about 10 or 12 days (though never more than 2 nights in a
>row) of the approximately 24 we will be gone.
>Now, having spent five years in the Navy and twenty years climbing,
>camping, and going on extended unsupported road and mountain-bike tours,
>I can sleep in something as small as a bivvy almost indefinitely, but I
>wonder is ten days, total, on the boat realistic for “normal” people?
>I’m not worried about boredom, but I am worried about “claustrophobia.”

I find a P15 pretty comfortable to sleep in, although I seldom do so. With
two people, one problem is that your bunks will be full of stuff that will
have to be moved into the cockpit or somewhere to make room to sleep. The
other problem is that the P15, with its centerboard and compression post is
not designed with honeymooners in mind, although, if you get desperate
enough, a brief encounter is possible.

>I’m curious about the terrain in the Northeast; I’ve been to CT and Cape
>Cod, and I seem to remember that area as pretty hilly. I imagine N.
>Vermont and Central NH are more so. My tow vehicle is a four cylinder,
>four door car with a transmission oil cooler, and it did a good job
>pulling the boat from Milwaukee home to Cincy, but mostly flat Indiana
>(the bulk of that trip) is maybe no test. I can borrow a
>much-less-economical six cylinder vehicle for the trip Northeast; should

A P15 is easy to tow with most any car. You don't need a six cylinder. Out
here in the vast mountainous West, I've hauled my P15 with a variety of
4-cylinder and rotary-engined cars. One of my current tow vehicles is a
Toyota Chinook, a camper built on a 75 Toyota 4-cyl pickup chassis. It can
hardly pull itself up a grade, but it's not any worse with the boat behind
it. I also use an 84 Mazda RX-7 GSL-SE, which has more than enough power.
I've previously used a Saab V-4, a 4-cylinder Ford Fairmont, an RX-2, and
an RX-4. They have all had manual transmissions. Your automatic with the
transmission cooler should be fine.

>And last, but not least, some non-sailing-related questions: Our
>Mountain bikes will be on the roof rack, and our golf clubs in the trunk
>(I confess: I’m a funhog); anyone have recommendations for the areas
>where we’re headed?

I may be wrong, but you may not use that stuff. Again, for a honeymoon, a
more leisurely approach is suggested. And the more stuff you carry, the
more that you have to secure against theft.

On the other hand I found you can carry a mountain bike, probably two, in a
Potter cabin. I carried my son's mountain bike on a sail to a boat-in
campsite. (We never took it out of the boat.)
>Ok, thanks for letting me take up so much server space with these
>detailed and idiosyncratic questions – it was the only way I could think
>of to reach a wide audience.
>If you feel like the answers to any or all of these questions are not of
>general Potter-list interest, please click the “reply to sender only”
>option when responding. Thanks again!
>John B

I'll leave the rest of your questions to those knowledgeable about the
northeast area. My wife and I are actually considering a similar trip cross
country, possibly to the Potter get-together in Muncie in May, if we can
get the boat, trailer, and tow vehicle prepared and still have enough money
for the trip itself. I'd also like to tow the boat up the Oregon coast,
exploring various lakes and bays I've seen on previous trips. August or
September is best in that area. Sometimes the sun even shines.

Hope you have a great honeymoon or whatever. Don't sail too close to the
Falls. (But think of the fame! I can see the headlines: "Honeymoon couple
first to sail over Niagara Falls in a West Wight Potter.")

Harry Gordon
P14 #234, Manatee
Mountain View, CA.

P.S. When you use curly quotes and apostrophes in e-mail, they come through
as little boxes. I recommend turning off your "smart quotes" feature.