Sea Casa is a 1985 Hunter 31. Admittedly, she’s not everyone’s idea of the ideal bluewater cruiser. But like many things in life, sometimes you have to go with what you’ve got, and I couldn’t be luckier to call the Sea Casa my home.
I initially purchased the Sea Casa from her third owner in June 2014. Being curious, I was able to get in touch with the previous owners to find out a bit of her history. She was built in Florida and immediately shipped to Lake Champlain, across the border in Quebec. The original owner outfitted her for cruising and sailed down the ICW with the intent of continuing on to the Bahamas. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the boat never attempted the crossing from Florida to the Bahamas, and she was put on the market, where she was sold to her second owner. She was then shipped to the West Coast where the Sea Casa lives today.
I was in college when I first realized I was going to live on a boat, and my most important constraint was my budget. I sought a boat that I could live on comfortably but was also small enough for me to single-hand to Catalina on the weekends. Sea Casa was the answer. It only took one visit to the boat for me to realize that this would be my future home. At the time, the idea of cruising didn’t even register as a possibility.
Now, three years later, I’ve begun to realize how lucky I am to call Sea Casa my own. She’s equipped with a B&R rig (racy double swept-back spreaders), complemented by her masthead jib on roller furling. She has a slight but pleasing amount of weather helm. At only 9700 lbs displacement, she is responsive and easy to handle for extended periods. Her light displacement allows for easy anchoring and she sails in a forgiving motion. I’ve enhanced her sail inventory with an asymmetric spinnaker and the ability to pole out the jib wing-on-wing while on a downwind run. I carry a spare main and genoa.
She holds 35 gallons of water (with an additional ~20 gallons in separate jerry cans) and 18 gallons of fuel (with an additional 10 gallons in jerry cans). Powered by a 13-horsepower, freshwater-water cooled Yanmar diesel (rebuilt in July 2017), she motors economically at 5 kts, sipping 1/3rd of a gallon of fuel per hour.
The Sea Casa is powered off the sun. I've installed 400 watts of solar, which for a 31′ sailboat is plenty to run everything needed on board, including our power hungry refrigerator and the watermaker (3 gallons/hour at ~13 amps). She is equipped with the necessities needed for communicating at sea, including VHF, SSB, EPIRB and AIS, as well as the necessities needed for navigating it, including multiple GPS chartplotters, radar, and autopilot. In the event of a solar failure, she carries a backup gas generator (Honda 1000). Her rigging was redone immediately prior to departure, and she carries copious spares for any unforeseen circumstances.
The Sea Casa also knows how to have fun and live comfortably. She carries dive gear, fishing equipment, and a library of books. Her galley feeds us with an alcohol stove/oven, propane BBQ, hot/cold pressurized water, and a refrigerator/freezer. She can sleep 4 comfortably, or 6 if everyone has showered recently.
To get to shore she carries a 8′ Porta Bote which stows comfortably in rail mounted surfboard racks (you can read another cruiser’s review here). She is oar-powered, but also planes quite well with the addition of a five-horsepower two-stroke Tohatsu outboard.
I’m proud of the Sea Casa. She’s not everyone’s ideal cruiser, but she’s perfect for me. She is my home, and I’m confident in her ability to take me to distant horizons.
Hull Type: fin w/ spade rudder
Displacement: 9700 lbs (does not include cruising gear)
Rig Type: B&R
Ballast: 4000 lbs
Sail Area/Displacement: 16.17
Builder: Hunter Marine