Archive for the ‘Travel Gifford’ Category.


sailing "wing and wing" in our new boat

The blog’s been quiet recently because I’ve been busy with my new hobby: sailing (I’ve also been busy at work).

About 6 weeks ago Christine and I bought a 1984 Catalina 25 sailboat.  Since then I’ve been spending a lot of time down at the dock doing repairs, cleaning (which seemed to be neglected for the last few years), upgrades, and of course, sailing.

1984 Catalina 25 with a tall mast and fin keel. We've named her "Lutra". The boat isn't a brown as it looks in this photo, it was just taken close to dusk.

I’ve always been intrigued by sailing since having a few day introduction to it in high school from a family friend.  I’m excited about the possibilities for slow and low impact travel (like cycling and kayaking), but with a bit more of the creature comforts of home.  We hope to take it up to the San Juans this summer, and farther north the following summer.  We both started with close to zero experience, so before buying a boat we took sailing classes at The Center for Wooden Boats.  Our instructor was great, the boats that they teach on were great, and the setting (Lake Union in downtown Seattle), was also great.

Christine completing her checkout sail at The Center for Wooden Boats. That's on a 20' Blanchard Knockabout, not our boat.

We picked this boat because it’s small enough for us to handle comfortably, but large enough for us to sleep on.  The interior has a main cabin with a little dinette and galley (kitchen), a tiny little head (bathroom), and then a front vee-berth that we can both fit in comfortably.  There is another second 1.5 person bed in the back called the quarterberth that we use for storage.  The cabin isn’t big (headroom is around 5′6″), but it’s cozy and much larger than any tent that we’ve camped in.  We liked this particular boat because it was in good condition (although dirty), the right price, has a reasonably good reputation, there is great support for it, and it was affordable.  There were about 6000 of this model made, an online store that specializes in parts for it (so I could get a replacement rudder in a week instead of making a custom one), and a great online forum with lots of helpful archives and members.  It’s not big, fast, or fancy (I think of it as the Ford Focus of sailboats), but it seems like it’ll suit our needs well.

Our boat's cockpit. I've refinished a good chunk of the teak, but there is a bit left to go.

Looking down into the interior of the boat from the cockpit. We had replacement cushions made.

The dinette (which reminds me of a fast food restaurant booth), the galley, and the quarterberth area that we use for storage (my folding bike even fits back there). The dinette turns into another small bed when the table is lowered.

The galley has a sink (we need to clean out the water tank though), and a little two burner alcohol stove, and a built in cooler in the corner of the counter. We also have a grill that sets up on the back of the boat.

Our cozy little "vee berth". It's about the size of a double bed with the front corners cut off.

We keep it on a small private marina that is on the northeast side of Lake Union. There are only about 15 boats kept here, but everyone that we've met there has been great.

We’ve named her Lutra after Christine’s favorite water critter, the otter.  We haven’t put the name on the boat yet.  She was previously named the great surprise, and before that appears to have been named Lwellyn.  Once we’re done cleaning it up well enough to remove the old names we’ll put on the new one.


Travel Gifford on a "Gravel Grinder" group ride. Those are the awesome Compass 26x1.75" tires and I think the bags are from Epic Designs.

For those who have no interest in boats, but come here for bikes, here is a minor update on the Travel Gifford.  It’s been painted pumpkin orange (an homage to the Bridgestone XO-1 and because I’ve never had an orange bike) and my friend Scott has taken it to Australia for a couple of weeks.  He’s putting it to great use and has been hanging out with the crowd from “Commuter Cycles” in Melbourne.  This bike is going to be very well travelled.

Scott and the Travel Gifford, in Melbourne Australia