[Picture of John Santic's sailboat "Sunspot"]

Sunspot, John Santic's Sailboat 

Welcome aboard! This is Sunspot, my floating home. I live on the boat full-time year-round. I used to own a house but sold it shortly after buying Sunspot, so there's no other place I call home at present.

I bought the boat on January 31, 1998 in Annapolis, Maryland. The previous owner called the boat Almudena, and sailed the boat in Chesapeake Bay as a hobby. The owners before that were a Canadian couple who called the boat Barcasue III. They lived on the boat for a while and sailed extensively in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. They wrote a book about their adventures: Sailing In Search of Yellow Bird, by Harold V. Tipper, ISBN 0-9681470-0-3. I know very little about the owner before that, who was the original owner.

Sunspot is a Fast Passage 39 cutter, which was built in 1982 by Tollycraft in Kelso, Washington. The boat was designed in the mid-1970's by William Garden, a well-respected naval architect. Oddly enough, Tollycraft was mostly known as a powerboat builder, and they built very few Fast Passage sailboats. My boat is serial number 4, and I think they built a total of nine. Another builder, Philbrooks, built additional boats in British Columbia, Canada. Some of the Philbrooks boats were delivered as partially completed kits. Both Tollycraft and Philbrooks went out of business, and the Fast Passage 39 was out of production for a number of years. Recently, the Fast Passage Company (formerly called Noah Corporation) started building the Fast Passage 39 again, although it is a slightly different version (re-engineered for modern materials and gear).

The Fast Passage 39 is a well-respected "blue water cruiser", which is a sailing buzzword for a boat designed to be very sturdy and seaworthy, that can make extended voyages on the open ocean. In fact, in the very first BOC Challenge (a singlehanded round-the-world race), a well-known sailor competed in a Fast Passage 39 just like mine. The sailor, Francis Stokes, wrote a book about his adventures called The Mooneshine Logs, ISBN 0-924486-67-8. In fact, it is my understanding that after the BOC, Francis Stokes was a dealer for Fast Passage 39 sailboats and sold the boat I now own to its original owner.

The Fast Passage 39 has three cabins belowdecks: the forward cabin with a V-berth, the main cabin (also called the saloon) with a seating area and drop-leaf table, and the aft cabin with a double berth. The forward and aft cabins have doors to make them private. The boat also has a large galley (boatspeak for kitchen), and a small head (bathroom). There's a separate seat at a chart table for doing navigation.

I use the boat in two modes: traveling mode and staying-put mode. In traveling mode, I'm usually moving the boat to a different location, such as heading south for the winter. Traveling mode usually lasts one to two months, during which I stay at different marinas and anchorages. Once I get someplace nice, I enter staying-put mode. This can last from several months to a year or longer, during which I stay at a marina and rarely sail the boat.

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- John Santic
  Writer/Photographer



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