Planning Big Modifications And Small Cruises

After really thinking about it, I’ve decided not to go through with my plan to downsize to a smaller boat. I’ve done way too much work on the Turtle to start over from square one.

No matter how small and simple a boat is, there is always going to be work to do on a new boat. There are always going to be changes you’ll want to do, to make the boat you own. That time would be much better spent working on the boat I already have.

And this way Sparky won’t miss his little windows.

Planning Big Modifications And Small Cruises

Getting Off The Rock

By not downsizing, it means it’s going to be a little longer before I really get to go cruising. In the meantime, I have a few small trips planned, over the next few months, which will at least get me out of town for a few days, and help me keep my sanity.

I’m still going to the boat show, to check out boats, and all the other new toys, even though I’m not buying anything. I also have a few other trips planned, but I’ll save them for a future post.

Part Time Cruising

Even without selling the boat, I’ll be out of the hole by the end of this season. So, after the season winds down here, I am going on a short cruise. I already talked to my boss, and she’s ok with me leaving for a few months, since it will be a ghost town here anyway.

I’ll probably leave right after Labor Day, and return right before Thanksgiving, when things start to pick up again. That’s almost 3 months! Plenty of time to take off to the Bahamas, or maybe cruise the Gulf Coast, which I’ve never done before.

Part of it depends on if I get the work done on the boat this winter, or if I plan on doing it during my time off.

Where do you think I should go?

Launching the Turtle for the first time
Launching the Turtle for the first time


One of the reasons I need to haul out is to remove the last few old thru-hulls. After that is done, I’ll have a boat with no holes below the waterline.

The bigger issue is the centerboards are in really bad shape. I can sail the boat with them the way they are now, but they’re pretty much non functioning.

I was originally going to build new ones, then to save money, I decided to repair the old ones, completely saturating them with epoxy and then laying fiberglass over them. Now I have different plans.

Doing The Unthinkable

I met another Gemini 105 owner a few weeks, who’s centerboards were removed by the previous owner. The captain who helped him deliver his boat, who had experience with Geminis, was impressed by how well it sailed, even without the boards.

Then just a few days ago I read another Gemini 105 owner’s review of the Gemini Legacy. He was very impressed, and said it performed pretty similar to his 105. So, instead of repairing my boards, I’m going to replace them with small stub keels.

No more maintenance, one less thing to deal with when sailing, one less thing to bump into inside the cabin. It will only increase the draft by about one foot, and may actually make the boat a little lighter.

Now the question is wood or composite?

8 Responses to Planning Big Modifications And Small Cruises

  1. Hey, Captain. I just read your article about “Planning Big Modifications And Small Cruises”. I;m glad you decided to stick with The Turtle, I really like that boat.
    About the small cruises, that is a great idea and of course, you don’t want Sparky to be without his window.
    Great article, mate!

    • Thanks Peggy! Yeah it really would be strange to be on a different boat, especially a smaller one. Most people go the other way and eventually get a bigger boat. Of course there is always the possibility of eventually selling and buy that beach down in paradise.

  2. Chris I have often wondered the same thing about glassing in a stub keel. I think if I were going to do that I would first glass the opening to the centerboard trunk so the hull is solid and closed. Then I would form the stub keels out of surfboard foam and lay them up with glass and heavy matting. I would make the glass thick and strong to withstand reasonable impacts. I’d also want them to be strong enough to beach the boat. The nice thing about a setup like this is if they do get torn up in a storm or bad grounding there is no impact to the integrity of the hulls. Good luck and keep us posted. I’m sure there are many who are curious to see how this turns out.

    s/v Nauti-Girl

    • Jeff,

      The foam would definitely keep the weight down, but I don’t think it would be structurally strong enough to support the boat. A closed cell foam or a composite would be stronger. This is one of the materials I’m considering, although it isn’t cheap. Or maybe foam with a wood core, to keep costs down.

      My rough plan is a 1′ keel, with a total height of 2′, and the top half actually going inside the trunks, for greater stability. I’ll glass around the connection on the outside, and pour a few batches of epoxy down the top of the trunks, for more strength, and to be sure there are no air gaps. Then fill the rest of the trunks in with 2 part closed cell foam.

      I’m thinking I’ll build them 4″ thick, based on what another owner has on his boat. I’m going to the Miami Boat Show in February, though. I’ll see if I can get at least rough specs on the Legacy keels, and maybe some other smaller cats (PDQ 32, Mahe 36).


  3. I’m glad you decided not to down size. I love your boat, its absolutely gorgeous! Plus Sparky has more room to run and play in a bigger boat. I am so jealous, I’d love to be able to go on adventures to the Bahamas..

    I’m happy for you. I wish you the best for your future and your adventures.

    • Thanks Amanda! He does have more room, than he would if I downsized, but he hates being left alone. I think next season, it’s time to start my own thing again, so he can come to work with me.

      I guess you’ll just have to come visit us then. This year I think it’s going to be the Gulf Coast, though, to get the work done on the boat. That will also make it easier to do a few short trips I have planned around Florida again, and easier to hop on a plane for another possible trip.

      Although if I am starting my own business again, I won’t need to be back for Thanksgiving. Depending on how the season goes, maybe I can do a shorter cruise in the Bahamas too.

  4. nice article on planning cruises, I have always have the interest to go on a cruise. Some place sunny and warm with sandy beaches and blue clear waters, this is my long term dream.

    People do not realize how much work is involved in repairing and planning for cruises, you did a fine job with this article I can tell you have experience and knowledge in this field.

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