KatieKat 2003 Cruise Chapter 22

- KatieKat Year-End Musings -

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26 December 2003 Year-End Reflections
27 December 2003 Year's Highlights and Lowlights
28 December 2003 Boat Perceptions Update
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This is the twenty-second webpage of our cruise covering the year 2003, which simply means that I jabber way too much. Following the format that I had established in past years, I'm including some reflections on our cruising this past year, some of the year's highlights and forgettable events, and an update on my perceptions of our Seawind 1000. Joe Siudzinski

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26 December, 2003 -- Year-End Reflections

[Map OzNZ] Map of our cruising area. We cheated and did an extensive late-summer tour of both New Zealand islands by car. Then, from the northeast corner we only sailed about a third of the way down the east coast of the North Island before being told by the locals to forget about going further south as winter was approaching. We returned home for the northern latitudes summer. In September we sailed from NZ to Fiji, then to New Caledonia in October, and ended up in Brisbane, Australia, at the beginning of November.

By now we've covered over 15,000 nautical miles (GPS) on KatieKat and I have another 1000nm under my belt on other SW1000's. This year saw some interesting open-ocean passages and finally gave us a chance to assess the Seawind's open-ocean seaworthiness (last year's Tasman Sea crossing to New Zealand was placid). With the exception of our scariest experience (the prolonged lightning storm), these challenges helped further develop our confidence in both ourselves and our boat. Although resulting in rather lengthy passage times, our very conservative approach to passagemaking on our ten-metre catamaran paid dividends in terms of peace-of-mind and less discomfort than if we had been forging full steam ahead. We had numerous opportunities to hone our stormy frontal passage defensive tactics as well as trying out a variety of heaving-to techniques. We even got to deploy the para-anchor with its trip line attached to the boat, which proved to be a very successful experiment. Although being pooped (due to my improper tactics) was an interesting event not to be recommended, the boat shrugged it off with aplomb. Most of this is detailed in the New Caledonia -> Australia Passage Reports.

Our cruising plans are still being influenced by events back home - for example, I had to rush to California just before Christmas and take care of a myriad of administrative matters. We are still finding that factors back home outside of our immediate control are what cause us the most concern while we are cruising.

Since so many of your questions ask for Kathy's perspective, I twisted her arm and finally elicited the following, which was reluctantly divulged:

The planned life change for me came in quick succession within a period of three months:

Regarding cruising: Regarding the sailing itself:

We continue to recognize how incredibly fortunate we are to be able to live our cruising lifestyle and are most thankful for that.

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27 December, 2003 -- Year's Highlights and Lowlights

Here we go again, for this year -

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28 December, 2003 -- Boat Perceptions Update

Looking over each of the December Perceptions Updates of the last three years, there's little I would change. We certainly gained a lot of open-ocean experience this year, and the unique layout of the Seawind 1000 I consider its distinguishing feature that sets it ABOVE other boats. My personal confidence in the boat's seaworthiness continues to be cemented, and I especially appreciated its almost 20-foot beam in rough weather; nevertheless, I need to reiterate what I'd written on the FAQ page and our Passage Reports: in open-ocean confused seas, the SW1000 (like most lightweight multihulls in this size range) can be downright uncomfortable when beating or beam reaching. Because the boat is so wide, think of it as two connected boats fighting with each other - the resulting jerky motion is not pleasant. What never ceases to amaze me is that in those conditions a cup of Cappuccino sitting on the main saloon table or the galley counter will NOT topple nor spill a drop! Happily, confused seas are usually a small portion of an ocean passage.

Ooooh, we are not alone: in the latest Australian Multihull World there's an article about a lovely15.2m (50-foot) cruising catamaran by a well-respected designer which sailed from New Zealand to New Caledonia. I quote: "The amount of boat movement suprises me... no rolling or pitching, but an unpredictable, constantly shifting response to a confused seaway." Hmmm, maybe it's the ocean in this part of the world that isn't multihull-friendly. :-)

After 3-1/2 years and over 15,000nm we are still very pleased with our decision to buy the Seawind 1000. The few times we've been bounced around has been more than compensated for by our wonderfully protected everyday living and sailing comfort, which we consider unrivaled by any multi in this price range.

Engines -
The 9.9 Yamaha four-stroke engines each have over 1000 hours on them, with each engine having an overall average fuel consumption which has now gone up to 1.2 litres/hour because of some heavy motoring we did this year. The only problem we experienced was fuel starvation in the starboard engine when the fuel hose got pinched by the boat's motor locking mechanism - easily remedied by simply re-routing the hose. I love my Yammies!

Feedback Request
I continue to realize that I jabber way too much way too often, but still rationalize it by thinking that our families are interested in hearing about our travels. I promise to cut down on the jabbering this coming year, and I realize that I need to re-visit the FAQ pages and restructure this entire website to make it easier to retrieve information. I'm sure that there are things that I can do to make your visit to my website a better experience for you. Please click here to send me an e-mail, as I'd appreciate hearing your suggestions.

Hope y'all had a wonderful Christmas and we wish you a Happy New Year!

Joe and Kathy Siudzinski

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