I found Galena while on a trip to Florida back in April 2003. I had been looking for a sailboat and had pretty much
settled on the Westsail 32 as the one for me.
I had read a great deal about other people's thoughts on what makes a good cruising boat.
I had read that cruising boats are bought by the pound rather than the foot. i.e. The heavier the better. And that full keel boats track best and are unsurpassed at surviving groundings and other contacts with things below the waterline. Cutter rigs provide more sail plan options than standard sloops. Double-enders handle following seas better than the modern sugar-scoop sterns. Minimal equipment on board reduces opportunities for breakdowns. These are the axioms that guided my search. And as misguided as some might think that was, it's what I went with.
The decision to go with the Westsail was based on the above and the fact that it was the most boat I could afford. That decision was made easier after reading about the Satori. She is a Westsail 32 that was caught in "The Perfect Storm." She survived the storm without damage. And then she survived being washed up on a beach after her crew were forced by the Coast Guard to abandon her. Satori's story was contorted in the screenplay of the movie about the storm and she was mishandled by the Coast Guard (actual USCG video here). The real story as told here by her owner convinced me of the qualtiy of the Westsail's design and construction.
To date (2012) I have completed six significant voyages on Galena: The maiden voyage from Florida to Maryland, a four trips down the east coast with three out to the Bahamas, and a trip off shore to the BVI. Currently I'm on my seventh voyage. I'm not sure where this trip will take me, however I'm sure it will be an adventure.
Click on the Titles/Links below to see the logs/photos/charts that go with each of these voyages. Or you can use the voyage list in the box above.
Maiden Voyage, Spring 2003 (Follow this link to read the logs and view the pictures) Jane and I, along with a good friend from work (yes, I used to work), Greg Moyers, sailed Galena home. We sailed from Ft Lauderdale, FL to Beauford, NC and then up the ICW to Kent Island, MD. Greg and I were on a 2-week vacation from work. We therefore broke the first rule of cruising: "Never adhere to a schedule." That led to the violation of cruising rule #2: "Wait for a good weather window." With only beginner's luck on our side we headed off-shore. We paid for those mistakes with a couple of bad days. And out there a bad day can be pretty bad. Now I hope I know better.
First Season of Cruising, Winter '04-'05 (Logs and photos here...) As a first cruise my ICW-Bahamas adventure was just right: Not too long; not too extreme. I felt comfortable on the ICW. I had run the 200-mile section between Beaufort, NC, and Norfolk, VA once already. The rest of the coastline down to Florida was bound to be more of the same. I planned on a couple of overnight off-shore runs but after the maiden voyage in '03 I felt comfortable with that. I had studied the ink off the charts of the Bahamas and was comfortable with our marine preparations.
Second Season of Cruising, Winter '05-'06 (Logs and photos here...) As a second trip, heading off-shore to the British Virgin Islands sounded about right. I planned to run down the ICW, yet again, to Beaufort, NC. Then head off-shore to a point just south of Burmuda. There I would turn south on what is sometimes called "I-65." That would be 065° West longitude. I would follow that line from about 29° North down to the BVI at 18° N. That leg of the trip would consist of about 1400 miles of ocean and would take about 2-weeks. Following that, I'd turn west and cruise the USVI, the southern coast of Puerto Rico, the northern coast of the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas before returning to the US and the Chesapeake Bay. It was a good plan. It sort-of worked out.
Third Season of Cruising, Winter '07-'08 (Logs and photos here...) Last winter I stayed home and gave Galena some much needed TLC. Then I did a single-handed voyage through the Bahamas. I cruised the Exumas, Eleuthera, and the Abaco's. I started by travelling down the ICW with my friend Tom (s/v Evergreen). Then I traveled to Nassau and down the Exumas with s/v Stella Polaris (Tom and Joyce) and s/v Moonlight Serenade (Bill and Sarah). Then, on the return trip north, I visited Eleuthera and a good deal of the Abaco Islands of the northern Bahamas. Jane visited me and sailed from Nassau to George Town, Grand Exuma and then flew back home. The rest of the trip was a very interesting singled-handed voyage.
Fourth Season of Cruising, Winter '08-'09 (Logs and photos here...)
It's been a long summer on the Chesapeake. A lot has happened in my life but I really have not done much to prepare Galena for her fourth trip south. Mostly I've just installed a few more
bells and whistles, hauled and bottom-paint, and did a little bit of overdue maintenance.
This winter I'll do the same thing as last winter (is this getting boring or what?). Because of my recent change in marital status I'll be single-handing again this year. My plan is to finally get down to Key West by running down the Atlantic ICW. After a week or so there I'll head over to Nassau and back down the Exuma Island chain to George Town for the Cruiser's Regatta that starts on March 4th. After that, well, we'll see which way the wind is blowing.
Fifth Season of Cruising, Winter '09-'10 (Logs and photos here...) I moved galena's home port to Boca Chica Naval Air Station, Key West, FL. Mostly this was just the standard run down the ICW to Beaufort, NC. Then a bunch of off-shore hops south along the east coast to Key West. I had planned on cruising south to Central America. But instead just stayed in Boca Chica for the winter.
Sixth Season of Cruising, 2010- ???? (Logs and photos here...) Somewhat ashamed of myself for spending an entire year in Key West I headed off-shore to finally see some of the world. The plan is to head east to the Bahamas, then south through the Windward Passage (between Cuba and Haiti). Then a long 8-day run straight south to Catagena, Columbia. Then I started heading west. The plan was to get through the Panama Canal by mid-March 2011. But I missed that by about three months. Eventually I made it to the South Pacific Islands and spent a lot of time enjoying the part of the world.