32RK Completes Passage From Florida to Guatemala

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Why Sailors Love Pushbutton Sail Handling

By: Nick Hake

Boaters like to say the sea never changes, but the way people sail today has changed dramatically. We want more convenience features on deck than ever – not just mainsail furling. As the sailing population ages, we want electric winches, electric anchor windlasses, self- tailing winches and bow thrusters, all at your fingertips. As an aging sailor myself, I’m all for it!

If you’ve been to a boat show lately, you’ve probably noticed that most new boats over 30’ have mainsail furling of one kind or another. We offer in-mast mainsail furling for our 32RK and 46RK models. We like them because they make sail handling easier. While some sailors worry about the mechanism jamming at inopportune times, we have found them to be very reliable, as have most sailors using modern furlers.

Another nice thing about an easy-to-furl mainsail is that you can sail longer before reefing. The downside of in-boom or in-mast furling is some loss of sail roach and power. Most sailors today would opt for convenience over a half-knot of boatspeed. And they probably will sail more because less work often equates to more fun. We don’t offer mainsail furling on our 26-foot boat because the size of the sail doesn’t require it, and we don’t want to add weight aloft on a light boat.

Bow thrusters can be a great help when docking in side winds and currents. We don’t typically recommend them for our 32 model and other boats this size. For most of us, they are pure convenience on a small boat. We like and recommend them for our 46RK. Like most of the convenience hardware on my list, a bow thruster puts a two-handed job into the palm of your hand.

Another convenience that makes cranking extra easy is self-tailing winches. They spare us from cleating jib sheets, and eliminate tailing the sheets while trimming sails. I have them on my boat. We’ve had great luck with Andersen winches and have been using them for years. Rather than the chrome-plated bronze that most winch builders use, Andersen’s are constructed of stainless steel and are a little lighter than the chrome plated models. When your boat gets some years on her, polished stainless ports and winches keep her looking new.

Electric sheet or halyard winches are a great convenience. But if you don’t mind exercise, you can live without them.

I recommend an electric anchor windlass for boats 30 feet and up. It’s almost silly not to have one. They’re like having extra crew that you don’t have to feed.

In summary, why not opt for the ease and simplicity of today’s innovation? Sailors have always sought ways to find that easy reach.

I look forward to hearing from you with your most challenging questions.

Annapolis Boat Show

Time to give winter the boot and celebrate the opening of the sailing season! We were at the third annual in-water Annapolis springtime show with a very well equipped 32’ RK – the perfect performance-cruiser combination. With all the features of the 46RK, including our cutting edge performance keel, the 32RK is the easiest sailboat to trailer for her size.

We were on Dock A, the main dock, which runs the length of Ego Alley. Nick Hake, the boat’s designer, welcomed aboard with a personal tour. This was a great opportunity to take a closer look at what is acclaimed by many sailors to be the perfect bay boat. We had such a great time meeting everyone who came out to visit us!

Let us know how you enjoyed the boat show by leaving a comment.

Retractable Keel Sailboats – How They Work

Last fall I sailed one of our 46RK models from the Southern Bahamas back to our plant in Stuart, Florida. We had the keel fully retracted, and the wind was generally off the quarter and blowing between 12 and 20 knots. I would have arrived about a half-day later if I had the keel and rudder down all the way, because if you lift the keel when you don’t need stability, you’ll gain speed. It was a good lesson in what eliminating unnecessary drag can do for a boat’s performance.

Because our keels lift, our boats are not just great in big wind and waves. They’re great everywhere – in serene shallows, in the too-shallow slip, and at the launch ramp on a trailer. Our moving keels adjust vertically to be at their best in every sailing circumstance.

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The keels are housed in a trunk, and move vertically with a 12-volt winch that’s mounted in a watertight box on deck. An ultra-high strength synthetic cable – 1.4 times stronger and 15 times lighter than comparable stainless cable – is routed from the winch drum through a series of stainless turning blocks mounted in recesses on the keel’s sides, to a termination point on the deck.

All components are designed to far exceed any load placed on them, and are durable and maintenance-free in a saltwater environment. Keel position is controlled with a toggle switch from the cockpit. All models have backup apparatus so the keel can be raised in the event of battery failure.

For best efficiency, immerse just enough keel and rudder to maintain a comfortable amount of stability and control on all points of sail.

Seaward’s Storied Past

If you like the idea of sailing without boundaries, you’re going to love the retractable keel advantage of Seaward Yachts. Not only are we celebrating our 40th year of building boats, we’re also in our 5th year under new ownership, and there’s plenty to be excited about!

Our company was born from humble beginnings back in 1973 when Nick Hake began building 17-19’ trailerable boats of solid construction with modern design and technology. Nick continued to make waves, building strong customer relationships and a dedicated team. He partnered with Heartland CEO – Ted Gelov, together they created a company building sailing yachts clearly in a class all their own.

With our new design team, we will continue to grow with new innovation. We have just added a new 46-foot retractable keelboat to our product line, resulting in tremendous growth. In the next few years, keep on the lookout for a new 19 and 40-foot RK! Rest assured, Seaward’s designs are timeless and preserve value for our owners. We remain committed to these design principles, preserving its dedication to sailing without boundaries. Welcome aboard!