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Voyages: Zuma

Doug and Bobbi Wilson (dbwil@global2000.net) describe a 3500 mile tour of the east coast on Zuma (#960).


Zuma is back on Lake Champlain after a 3500 mile tour of the East coast from the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York to the beaches of Florida. Every day provided a new experience for this pair of lake sailors as we made our way down the Champlain Canal to the Hudson River, down the Hudson to New York City, past New Jersey in the Atlantic, through Cape May and up the Delaware Bay to the C&D Canal, down the Chesepeake Bay, then down the Intracoastal Waterway through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. We left the lake on September 18,1997 and arrived in Florida during the first week of December, having experienced some serious delays along the way caused by some nasty El Nino weather and a death in the family.

Tides and currents, bridges to open,  big ships and barges,ocean sailing, salt water, canal locks, monitoring depths on the ICW (we learned all about going aground), provisioning, dealing with all those home matters (mail,bills.etc.) that don't go away while you're traveling, were some of the new things we experienced. Zuma handled it all very well. Even a big boat will get smaller on a 9 month journey, but a 34 is a good sized vessel for this trip. The M25xp diesel never quit on us (it did overheat a couple of times-junk picked up in canal locks), but still seems a little too small for the boat for this kind of cruise. About halfway through the trip I switched from the two bladed folding prop we left with to a three bladed cruising prop that I had re-pitched to 15x10,and our motoring speed improved.

We spent most of the winter exploring the Florida coast. Even though we didn't get over to the Bahamas (El Nino created seemed to create some havoc offshore when we had the opportunity to go), we thoroughly enjoyed our first winter without snow, the southern wildlife, and the great boat people we met along the way. The variety of boats and people, the historic and scenic places to visit,the challenge of navigating offshore and through bays, sounds,  rivers, crowded harbors and the ICW made this cruise one of the great experiences of our lives. Hundreds of people make this East coast trip every year in an amazing variety of boats, big and small, over-equipped and little equipped, electronically navigated and road map navigated (really!), big crews and single-handlers, power and sail (and some interesting combinations thereof),and it was great being part of it all.

The return trip was more enjoyable because the weather was warming as we returned north and we were familiar now with the areas we were traveling through. After a very rainy trip up the Hudson (and some delays because of high waters in the canal locks), Zuma brought us safely back to the waters of Lake Champlain at the end of June. There is so much more to show and say about our trip that I hope to set up a web site to tell about it all and show some of the many photos we took. If anyone has questions they would like to ask about our voyage,our e-mail address is dbwil@global2000.net .

                                           Doug and Bobbi Wilson
                                             Zuma -- Cat34 #960

Last modified by Phil Imhof, Monday, August 09, 2004 . Copyright 2001 by Catalina 34 International Association.  All rights reserved.