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Small-Boat Nostalgia and Big-Boat Comfort

Everyone dreams of having a bigger boat — right? In a world where we’re told bigger is better, it’s always refreshing to find folks who appreciate sailing regardless of boat size. In fact, most large-boat owners started out small and hang on to a nostalgia for their early boats even as they move up to the increased comfort, accommodation and range of larger boats.

We’re often reminded of this by readers like John Griffith, who sent in the photo below of his Lido 14, which he keeps on Lake Superior. John sent in the photo, saying, “Managed to sail several times in our ’66 Lido 14 on Lake Superior this summer — sweetness …)”

Lido 14
Over 6,000 Lido 14s were built in Southern California by W.D. Schock. The boats brought many people into sailing, and, over the years, have helped many people to continue sailing.
© 2021 John Griffith

John went on to say, “The Lido is kinda timeless, and such a spacious and pleasant daysailer.”

We did have to ask about his larger boat, the 1989 three-cabin Catalina 42 Splash, which he’s owned in Southern California since 2004. He keeps her docked at Yacht Haven Marina in Wilmington (in the Port of Los Angeles), adding, “It’s a great little marina, and only three and a half hours from Big Geiger Cove at Catalina, including 45 minutes motoring out to Angel’s Gate. The hailing port is Alamitos Bay, CA. Though it’s never been docked there, it’s a tribute to where I grew up and learned to sail.”

Catalina 42 Splash
The Griffiths’ Catalina 42 Splash sports all the comforts and accessories of large boats.
© 2021 John Griffith

Griffith goes on to say, “Like all boat owners (I think), I spend a lot of time looking at boats for sale, looking for my ‘next boat’, but so far haven’t seen anything that fits us better. Those two solar panels above the davits power our large 12V DC fridge-freezer, induction cooktop, TV, stereo, phones, computers, and all house needs (‘electrify everything’). And they keep the starting battery topped off. I have 660 amp hours in reserve and have never dropped below 580Ah, even using everything. We like Splash, with a very comfortable interior, and love the open transom. We’re hoping to spend December through February aboard at either Catalina or points south.”

When not sailing his Lido 14 on Lake Superior or his Catalina 42 in Southern California, Griffith is a bird conservationist. The Bay View Boat Club has helped recently with access to their Bradford Island property in the Delta, where Griffith is protecting some endangered Bell’s vireos. He also manufactures the FlopStopper to make sure rock ‘n’ roll is only something you dance to, and not something you have to try to sleep with.

Are you nostalgic for a small boat from your past?

4 Comments

  1. John Thorne 4 days ago

    My wife and I raced our Lido 14 for several years, mostly in Southern California. We also raced in other parts of California (including the mountains), Arizona and Oregon. All but once or twice we finished behind David Ullman. Not a comfortable boat to race but the competition was great, and we enjoyed the post-race gatherings.

  2. Jay Lambert 4 days ago

    Some of my fondest memories are sailing my Sunfish out beyond the reef between Koko Head and Diamond head in Maunalua Bay. Blue water, flying fish, spectacular views of the east Oahu Ko’olau…

  3. Pat Broderick 4 days ago

    A Melody. Sort of a 10′ grown up El Toro. My first boat with lots of learning to sail & race on Santa Rosa’s Lake Ralphine with the Santa Rosa Sailing Club. I have the plans and rig and if I had the skills and the years I’d build another. I began with a catboat and it looks like I’ll go out sailing another one.

  4. John Callahan 15 hours ago

    The almighty El Toro, on Lake Merritt in Oakland, was my introduction to 60+ years of pleasure on the water.
    Learning the coordination of tiller/sheet/heel – and acceleration in a puff – still a joy. Continuing to this day as I write from a mooring at Avalon aboard my 40 footer. What a wondrous sport for we lucky few. I feel obligated to share it – and do what I can.

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