CRAIG AND BARBARA WOLF’S 43 SABRELINE TRAWLER Blue Heron absolutely gleamed ockside at Waterside Marina in Norfolk in May, but even this relatively new boat had been modified. “We bought the perfect boat, and then made it more perfect,” was how Barbara
described the work they had done by Virginia’s Deltaville Boatyard. With two large retrievers as
members of the crew, getting to, and off, the swim platform was an issue. The original transom
design of the Sabreline featured two tall steps from the platform cut into the transom to get up
and onto the aft cabin trunk, which were difficult for the dogs. The solution was to extend the
swim platform and add a third step, making each shorter and more gently sloped.
Aboard Karma, Ivy and Bob Neubauer, 18-year liveaboards from Coconut Grove, Florida,
showed off a simple, effective solution to a problem created by a shallow anchor locker. Bob,
a former TowBoatU.S. operator, rigged a self-aiming anchor-rode washdown out of PVC tubing
that allows one crewmember to be below in the forward cabin flaking the rode, while the windlass retrieves it. In engineer’s jargon, this is known as a “kludge,” a crude but effective solution.
“I’d like to add one or two more nozzles to make it more effective,” said Bob.
But one of the busiest boats on the Looper
Crawl hasn’t been modified at all. A brand-new
Beneteau 34 Swift Trawler embarking on a
Great Loop cruise this summer has made the
trip to Norfolk specifically for the Rendezvous.
Beneteau, along with numerous partner sponsors, is sending the boat around the Loop to
showcase both this new model, from a builder
known for quality performance and cruising
sailboats in the U.S., and to promote awareness of the Loop itself. With its distinctive blue
bow-wrap and NASCAR-worthy smattering of
logos, the sleek Beneteau Swift Trawler should
make an impression at waterfronts all along the
route. Follow the boat’s progress at
www.TheGreatestLoop.com. — M.V. a worker modifies the steps from the swim platform on Blue Heron, to give her owners and dog better access.
while many of their fellow Loopers elect for
larger aft-cabin yachts or trawlers.
No Right Boat
Other than the 19-foot, one-inch vertical
clearance of a fixed bridge south of Chicago,
and preferred draft of five feet or less, just
about any recreational boat can conquer
the Loop, provided it has sufficient range
for some of the more remote northern legs
(about 250 miles). But Loopers gravitate
toward trawlers, perhaps understandably,
with the twin desires of interior volume and
fuel efficiency. However, the Doyles wanted
a boat they could live with after they finished
their Loop, and so found ways to make the
Rinker work as a long-term liveaboard.
“I disassembled the boat,” says David,
“looking for unused spaces.” Under a seating console he discovered enough room in
the bilge to stash their full canvas enclosure,
after lining it with carpet. In the emptiness
behind another panel, he built a shelf to hold
nonperishable food items. David owns an
automotive repair shop, so he’s not intimidated by getting his hands dirty. But perhaps
the most important change he made to the
Rinker is in plain sight on the swim plat-
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