Meet Casita!

Our first sail aboard Casita

So, we bought a new boat!! One thing our summer cruise up to the San Juans and down the coast taught us is that a toe rail just isn’t enough to feel secure going forward in rough conditions. Two inches isn’t much to keep you from slipping overboard if the deck is slick with seawater and the boat is pitching and rolling, so we knew we wanted a boat with bulwarks (a short wall or border around the deck) for cruising. And, although we were enjoying living aboard there were some changes/improvements we wanted to make, like adding refrigeration. Realizing that ‘Imi Loa was not going to be our ultimate cruising boat it didn’t make sense to make substantial investments so we started looking for a new boat.

After lots of internet research we decided the Hans Christian 33 would be a really great boat for us. We looked at two HC33s that were for sale in California but ultimately we found our new boat in Sydney BC. Buying a boat outside the local area makes things a little more difficult and it certainly adds to the expense, but buying a boat on an island in a different country definitely made the process a little more complicated. Just getting up there to see her meant taking a plane, and renting a car or catching a bus, and taking a ferry. And then doing the reverse to get back home. But in the end it all worked out and we took possession of Casita (Shenoa at the time), in Friday Harbor. As a condition of the purchase we required the boat to be moved to the US before we took possession. The sellers were a very nice couple and had no trouble accomodating us. They even paid for an extra night at the marina in Friday Harbor when they learned Devon was planning to stay aboard after the deal closed. Devon then moved the boat to Anacortes where I met him so we could prep her for shipping (we toyed with the idea of sailing her down but we didn’t have the time and it didn’t seem like a good idea in a boat we didn’t really know yet).

Casita being loaded onto the truck

We had arranged for the transport with a trucking company (Dudley Transport) but we were going to do all the prep ourselves. The initial plan was to keep everything onboard with some things secured on deck and others stored in the cabin. This is the normal way of doing this sort of thing. Due to highway height restrictions almost everything had to come off the deck including the pulpit with the anchoring platform (very heavy!) and the stanchions. We also had to take the headsail furler off the forestay and boom off the mast. As we took more and more stuff off it started looking impossible to store everything on and in the boat. I could only stay for two days, then Devon had another day before we were scheduled to have the mast unstepped at a nearby boatyard and then load the boat onto a truck. We were afraid that if we rushed we would end up damaging something (like the beautiful teak interior, its amazing what eight hundred miles of road vibration can do).

Casita waiting to be offloaded at Svendsen’s in Alameda.

After a long morning of disassembly we decided the better option was to rent a truck to transport most of the big stuff. After some iphone internet surfing and a few phone calls we had a truck reserved in a nearby town, we picked it up and were loading things by early afternoon. It was a lot of work lugging everything down the dock to the parking lot in the heat (our slip was all the way at the end, of course :)) but it was definitely the better option. Less that a week later we had our new boat on the hard at Svendsen’s boatyard here in Alameda!! Before splashing we took advantage of the opportunity to replace all the thru-hulls and seacocks below the waterline. It was expensive (of course) but well worth it for the peace of mind that the water would stay on the outside of the boat. Once we had her in the water and here at the marina we moved aboard!!

For the next several months we were very busy simultaneously getting organized and starting projects on Casita (she was in great shape but considering she is 30 years old there were things to be done) and prepping ‘Imi Loa for sale. We moved aboard Casita in early August and we didn’t get ‘Imi Loa listed on craigslist until late December but she was sold and we had money in the bank within 24 hours of publishing the listing!! We were sad to see her go but it was great to have her sell so quickly and for a good price. The guy that bought her had been looking for an E31 for a while so he knew what he was looking for and knew she had been well taken care of. He had been living on a Flicka 20 so he it was a nice move for him.

‘Imi Loa’s deck, notice the low toe rail

‘Imi Loa was great and we loved our time on her, but comparing her to Casita is like comparing a Toyota Camry with a Lexus (not only in amenities but in price too, we paid a lot more for Casita but to us it was worth it). Casita is 33 feet long on deck. ‘Imi Loa was 31 feet. When I told my one of my sisters that we had bought a new boat 2 feet longer than ‘Imi Loa and that it had way more room she was a little skeptical. How much difference can two feet make right? Well length doesn’t tell the whole story of course. Casita is also wider and carries that width much further for and after making for a lot more room. She also has a very well designed interior maximizing use of the available space. Here are a few of the things we gained (in addition to bulwarks): a pullman berth instead of a v-berth, a small aft cabin, a bathroom with a separate shower, and a large fixed table (not the fold up kind).

Casita’s deck with bulwarks

 On ‘Imi Loa we had a v-berth, it was decent size but can’t compare with a pullman (though some prefer a v-berth we much prefer the pullman), we had no aft cabin (not even a quarter berth), no shower, and a fold up table. We also have much more room on deck and a really comfortable cockpit. Oh, and she feels really awesome under sail. Casita is built like a tank so definitely not a light air boat but she is great in a stiff breeze and amazingly stable. Though I don’t think she would be as much fun on the Columbia River as ‘Imi Loa, she is great on the Bay and we look forward to getting her out into blue water one of these days.

Here are a couple of interior shots showing part of the main cabin and the pullman berth.

An interior shot – we did not keep the southwestern motif!

The pullman berth, very comfy!

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One thought on “Meet Casita!

  1. Congrats on The HC33! Hope to see you guys on the sea one of these days. You’ll love the boat, and she keeps us moving in almost no wind so fear not! Get big sails!

    Cheers,
    S/V Prism

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