Sailing towards power…

I have owned sailboats for most of my life and have always loved the feeling of being under sail. In recent years, I’ve discussed moving to larger sailboats, or changing the entire substrate to something different to allow me to do more with my work with tech on boats. After spending the last 3 years on Grace focused on systems integration and projects, I’ve come to the decision that moving to a bigger platform is the best way I can continue my projects.

Grace for Sale!

To that end, I’ve put Grace up for sale – you can see all of the details, specs, equipment, photos, videos and more at Grace – 2000 32′ Beneteau 311 Sailboat for Sale.

Grace has been an amazing part of our family, and I’ve poured a lot of time and effort into improving just about every system in the last 3 years. I’ve learned so much about modern power systems, been able to investigate integration of tons of instruments on my crazy NMEA 2000 network, and built a fully integrated Raymarine system that virtually runs the boat while moving.

Wonderful graph from a spectrum analyzer looking at 2.4Ghz WiFi

My favorite area of projects has been around networking and WiFi, and love the response from the communities who have read and reacted to those articles. I want to continue expanding this area – there are so many new technologies and products that I think boaters could benefit from.

I want to continue integrating, building, and testing everything technical that I can put on a boat. If anything, this choice has made my desire to do tech on boats increase, knowing that I am entering into a new world with more possibilities.

Motor Yachts

As a result, I am moving to the world of motor yachts! Some people call this “going to the dark side” and I can see how die-hard sailors could look at it that way. Heck, even a few years ago I looked at it with a fairly negative attitude. But I have started to see the appeal.

It’s not something that I just decided to do on a whim – I’ve discussed it before with my significant other, even around the time we purchased Grace. We had thought that in 5-10 years, switching to something like a trawler would be perfect. The reasoning behind it was mainly around health and comfort – that by that point we’d be more comfortable on a boat that did not require as much physical work as a sailboat. I am aware that there are larger sailboats which are just as comfortable in many ways as a motor yacht, but the requirements we had talked about would have required a much, much larger sailboat.

My crew also surprised me when I started discussing this change with them – they all love sailing, but would rather have more room and more comfort in a similarly sized vessel, and they all seemed really interested in the idea.

Not having sails is definitely a big decision, and not one I took lightly. In the last 2 years, I have motored almost 80% (likely higher in many cases) of the time on longer trips. Motoring on a sailboat is nowhere near as comfortable as a motor yacht. I love sailing, but I seem to love playing with technology and going from place to place more…

The Tipping Point

In the last year, I have had the opportunity to visit a number of other yachts in the Seattle area – sometimes just with friends and other times folks I have met through SailBits who were in need of help. The majority of them were power boats of some sort, ranging in age from the 1970’s up to brand new deliveries.

The main thing that kept resonating with me was the amount of space available for not only comfort, living, sleeping, and enjoyment, but more importantly for technology and gear.

The author on Sea Bear with … Izzy the cat! Photo courtesy of Steve Roberts

On my recent trip to Princess Louisa Inlet, I followed a 62′ Angel named Sea Bear and spent almost every evening aboard after being on the water in Grace during the day. I learned a lot more about yachts of this type and vintage, and really fell in love with the idea of a motor yacht.

Space also would be great to have for tools and even a small work bench. I have had to do some crazy things with Grace and Jammy as I live in a condominium and have no other suitable work areas.

After spending 5 days aboard Sea Bear on a recent cruise around the San Juans, I realized that instead of waiting 5-10 years, maybe it was time to look at something sooner. I really enjoyed the overall experience, and realized that not only would it give me more space for tech stuff, but a more comfortable experience overall for the type of cruising I want to do.

The Platform

I have some very specific goals for the next platform, and they seem to be met by what can generically be called a trawler. In general, I’m looking for something along these lines:

  • 40-46 foot LOA – this seems to be the most popular size of slips in the area I want to cruise. While I definitely want to anchor as much as possible, having a slip is always nice after a long day. Going any larger and I would worry about complicated wait lists, and of course higher fees.
  • 2x diesel engines – for some level of redundancy, I would like to have two engines. I could be convinced to go with one, but it seems there are few choices for that beyond 45′
  • 8 – 10 knots cruising speed – I don’t need anything faster – I like enjoying the view, and am used to 5-6 knots from the sailboat world. It would be nice to have the ability to burst beyond 10 knots, but it is not required.
  • 4-5 gallons per hour max consumption
  • Generator & decent sized inverter / house bank
  • Decent sized diesel, water, and holding tanks for 1-2 week trips
  • Queen island berth for master stateroom
  • Decent second berth for guests
  • 2x heads with showers in both
  • Large salon for entertaining/living
  • Frige, freezer and ice maker
  • Diesel heat
  • Flybridge driving station

There are a lot of other nice-to-haves, such as air conditioning, bow thruster, etc. but the core items above would be the start of a very good platform.

DeFever 44 – image courtesy of

Based on my research, my favorite brands are DeFever, Tollycraft, Island Gypsy and Ocean Alexander. I particularly prefer the DeFever 44 which has a fantastic layout, great stability, wonderful lines, and a rare stand-up engine room, among other things.

I seem to like both the styling (and the pricing) for models made from 1980-1995.

If you have other recommendations, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

New Challenges

I’m curious to see the work I’ve done for 20+ years on my own sailboats from a completely different viewpoint – that of the motor yacht.

I’m also really interested in new areas to explore that I would not have had exposure to on a smaller sailboat – larger engines, multiple engines, generators, and the complexity that comes with a bigger vessel.

Most of all, I’m interested in trying something new both as a platform to work on, and a cruising boat!

The Future

What does this mean to the future of SailBits and to the type of projects and reviews I would be involved with?

I believe this change will even further grow the site and the exposure, the types of articles I’ll write, and the depth of my experience and testing. I have no intention of changing what SailBits does, or reducing the amount of focus on DIY projects and technology. In fact, if anything, this change will drive even more new ideas and articles in the near future. I’m very excited about the future, and can’t wait to share the journey to power with you as well!

Subscribe to SeaBits News

Get all the latest & greatest posts delivered straight to your inbox

Please check your inbox for a confirmation email!

Something went wrong.

Related Articles

  • You may notice that this article is quite short. After a few comments (scroll down) and a number of email discussions on the side, I decided to remove the content of this article and replace it with this info.

  • Crew members on the sailboat expect to use their USB devices no matter where. Adding USB power throughout the boat is easy to do, and useful for the captain too.

Leave a Comment