MHS Cat People

Articles, Cruising Lifestyle

Written by Ali Wisch.




We began our sailing adventures while living and working in Dallas, Texas, cruising the Bahamas three to four weeks a year back in 1985 on Oh Kay, otherwise known as the (Not) Oh Kay, a 36ft Island Trader ketch. We wrote a humorous eBook about our adventures, (Island Sailing Is NOT all Rum and Bananas). We sold the worn-out boat in 2006.

In 2009, we were both approaching the midlife crisis stage while working 70 hours a week in our Mom and Pop oil business. I came home one night to find that Jan had quit. Without Mom, there is just Pop and that does not make for a fun business environment. Jan wanted to buy another boat and go cruising again. There are not many husbands who are lucky enough to have a wife who demands that they buy a boat and go cruising. I was smart enough to listen to her (for once) and bought her a Beneteau 473 which she named Wild Thing. We cruised from Texas to the Bahamas to the Chesapeake twice. In 2012, we left the protected waters of the Bahamas for the rough and wild Eastern Caribbean, cruising Wild Thing from the BVIs to St Maarten to St Lucia.

Here’s how we crossed over to the dark side and bought a cat: Compared to the Bahamas, the Caribbean is rough. Anchorages are not always fully protected and it is common for a swell to appear without warning. Murphy’s Law dictates that the anchored sailboat will always lay parallel to the roll, on our monohull, this resulted in a roll so pronounced that bananas flew off the shelf across the cabin. We called it the “banana roll” and it was beyond annoying. Reading was impossible. Sleep was sporadic. Tempers were short. Unhappy wife meant unhappy life. One evening while I was rowing around in the dinghy trying to set a stern anchor to back Wild Thing into the swell and save our marriage, Jan noticed that the nearby cats were not rolling like we were. In fact, the cat people were having boat drinks in their spacious cockpits while being entertained by my dinghy rowing stern anchor setting antics. That night, I told Jan that she could start looking for a cat.

We knew we wanted a 44ft cat with the galley up and an owner’s layout. However, we figured out that Jan’s Imelda Marcos sized shoe and wicker basket collections would quickly overwhelm a 44ft cat. After months of looking, we ended up buying a custom-built Lagoon 570 in St Maarten. It is ridiculously big for just two people, but it has enough room to throw some great parties. Our record number of people onboard for sundowners currently stands at 18.

Jan and I have sailed Wildcat on four round-trips from the USVIs to Grenada or Trinidad, stopping at every island and rum distillery in between and making dozens of cruising friends along the way.

If we have one important message for people who want to go cruising, our recommendation is do it! Don’t wait. Do it now. If not now, soon. The younger, the better.

This article was originally published with Sail Magazine. To read the original, click here.

This article was originally published in Sail Magazine and is being used with express permission from the publisher.