By: Jorge Hastedt
First and foremost, a boat must have character. Seaward’s 32RK is elegant and timeless, yet hides her most important feature of a retractable keel. The more I sail her, the more I appreciate her performance. My wife values her comfort, and the fact that she is so well equipped for our longer trips.
Our new Seaward 32RK, Nena has the flexibility to sail well in deep water, yet we are able to explore shallow coves and inlets, which are so abundant in our area of Guatemala. It was reassuring to have over 6’ of draft during our passage, because the deep ballast provided stability in rough seas.
We left Manatee Pocket in Port Salerno the morning of May 2, 2011, and motored smoothly down the ICW. Early on May 3rd, we set out to the Atlantic through Palm Beach Inlet. With the sails up, we were mostly reaching, sailing due south, parallel to the Florida coastline, down to Key West
and arrived in Conch Harbor Marina, where Nena was admired by a crowd of curious boaters.
We left the next day for Havana to pick up another crewmember, arriving at Hemingway Mar
ina at 1100. The pause there allowed us to get everything back in order and take on a few more provisions. On May 8th we cleared out of Hemingway at 1130 and sailed due West. At 2100 that night, we rounded Cabo San Antonio, the westernmost tip of Cuba into the Yucatán straits. We confronted the dreaded Southeast wind, well over 20 knots against the strong northbound current, secured ourselves with a second reef in the main, and very little genoa until sunrise. I set the storm jib and continued on a starboard tack due east to get away from the grip of the currents. Eventually the wind turned to NE and we ran with it, a huge following sea behind us. As we neared the Belizean waters, the wind gradually died down, and we motored the last leg into Livingston, Guatemala on Saturday, May 13th.
We exceeded 800 miles on this most unforgettable passage.
One of our most memorable moments with Nena was around the Belizean atolls and keys. So very different than our deep water passage, this was what the 32RK is really all about. A flotilla of five boats – all larger than Nena – set out from Livingston to Belize. While underway, Nena was able to keep up with them on the long hauls, especially on the strong upwind legs, not to mention reaching in light winds. We visited Glovers Reef, Lighthouse Reef and the beautiful blue hole, Turneffe Reef, as well as several keys inside the Barrier Reef. We drew so little, but always felt secure sailing through those shallows. We were able to anchor closer to shore for protection, with easy access to the restaurants and bars. That was a great bonus!
I would do this again in a heartbeat, and dream of another passage from Florida aboard perhaps a 40 RK? Stay tuned!