We purchased “All In” in December of 2015 after a two and a half year search for the “right” boat. Because we were to be traveling with two little girls, many of our requisite criteria involved safety and accessibility for the kids. Other items on our list had to do with our intended cruising grounds and the type of cruising we planned to do. The boat wasn’t purchased for offshore passages, but humble intracoastal and nearshore cruising. And certainly some criteria were budget related (for example…a monohull vs. a catamaran). We’ve now been cruising for almost 2 months (minus our little road trip while the rudder was replaced) and thought it would be a good time to post an overview of our boat. This page will give specs on the boat and the general layout, but all from the perspective of what we’ve found that we really like about the boat and some things that we’ve found that we do not like.
As a side note, some of this may seem more like a justification for keeping what we have, learning to live with it the way it is, but we’ve found that cruising on a budget forces you to do this to some extent. There is always some more advanced system that is more awesome, or more automatic, or easier on the back, but all of this stuff costs money so you have to draw the line somewhere. And since you can’t live your life pissing and moaning about what you don’t have, you have to remind yourself of the benefits of what you DO have. Woah…did I just stumble across a lesson of life? A philosophy of happiness? A mentality to be universally applied? Anyway, welcome aboard!
“All In” is a 1994 Hunter Legend 37.5. She is a fractional rigged sloop with a wing keel. She is 37′ feet long and measures 12.75 feet across the beam (width). The bottom of the boat’s keel is 5 feet under the water and the top of the mast is 59 feet above the water. There are two separate cabins for sleeping, a main salon with a U-shaped dinette, a galley and a head.
As a kind of walk through, here is a list of things we love about “All In.”
Two Separate Cabins
Before we moved aboard, we thought it would be important to have two distinctly defined areas for sleeping. One for the kids, and one for us. In addition, we didn’t want a modular setup where one of the beds serves as our couch during the day or something like that. We wanted two beds in two separate rooms from the main area. The V-berth at the front of the boat is the little girls’ room. Laura put a lot of effort into making it cozy and colorful and fun. I think she succeeded in every way.
Because of the 37.5’s high freeboard, we enjoy headroom for tall people and space enough under the cockpit for a full aft cabin across the entire beam of the boat. Our bed lies athwart-ships and boasts a full 8 inches of foam that gives us a more restful sleep than the decade old mattress we left behind at home. There is nice closet space and shelving in our room and in two spots, Bryan can even stand up straight!
The Table and Common Area
We really like the U-shaped dinette in our boat as it allows us to all sit down and eat comfortably. In addition, this more permanent setup for eating and sitting and talking doesn’t intrude into the walkway forward to the V-berth. We can sit at a full table and still have easy, clear passage forward and aft. If necessary, the table can be lowered down, an additional foam pad added, and you have another full size additional bunk in the boat.
Companionway steps with a midway platform
The steps that lead to the cockpit have a landing halfway up. We’ve found that this area helps the girls to feel secure in their ascent, as opposed to hanging perilously from a continuous ladder all the way up. It also works as a great place to stand while under sail when the boat is heeled over or waves are knocking the boat around but allows you to see over the deck.
We didn’t know this until we actually went and looked at the boat, but All In has shuttered windows in the two bulkheads fore and aft. These can be open or closed according to your preference, but we generally just leave them open (except when the girls create some game or play scenario in which the must be closed and opened hundreds of times in a row.) In addition to simply creating a larger, more open feeling when down below, this increased visibility helps us to keep an eye on Avery and Leslie wherever they may be in the boat. You can sit in the aft cabin and actually see all the way through to the bow of the boat, nearly unobstructed.
Lunch counter style galley
We feel the galley with its spiffy L-shaped counter is a nice size for a 37 foot monohull sailboat. There is a 3 burner stove and oven, a fair amount of storage space, a stainless sink with two basins, and a deep fridge that is effectively cooled by a 12 volt cold plate. The longest section of the counter is adjacent to the seating in the main salon, so the girls can stand there and access they counter top. Whether we are eating a simple breakfast, having a lunch of finger foods, serving dinner plates to be placed on the table, or drying dishes, the girls can be involved.
Swim platform (open stern)
Whether tied to a dock stern to, using our dinghy Al, or going for a swim, All In’s open stern with steps makes boarding and disembarking easy on all of us, but especially the little girls. This was something we really knew we wanted from the beginning. At the dock, it’s an easy step off the stern platform to shore. We motor our dinghy right up to the bottom step for easy on and off while at anchor. And if we go for a swim around the boat, the ladder and swim platform are easy to use. Many cruising families do without this feature I’m sure, but we didn’t like the visual of returning to the boat in a swell on the dinghy and trying to climb a ladder over the side rail.
I’m not talking about sailing without a motor simple. I don’t mean oil lamps for lighting simple. I’m not saying we use a bucket for a potty. But the systems on our boat are simple enough that I understand them, which becomes very important when it is time to fix them.
We don’t have an inverter, so the AC and DC electrical systems are completely separate. When we want AC power, we either plug the boat in at a dock, or we fire up the generator (a small, quiet 2000w Generac) and plug the shore power cord into it. Basically, AC power gives us the use of our wall outlets, which means charging computers and phones and, most importantly this summer, plugging in our air conditioning unit. We have even contemplated going all out and purchasing a $10 coffee maker to use at the dock or on the generator, but so far have not gotten the courage to pull the trigger. For now, we’ll continue to use the French press, which makes a pretty great cup of coffee by the way.
Our toilet is manual flush with sea water. On-board heads get way fancier and more convenient than this, but my hope is that we avoid a large number of issues with this essential system by keeping it manual and only using raw water to flush (even though this type of system has many issues of its own).
We don’t have an electric windlass for raising and lowering the anchor. Seemingly, the only drawback to not having an electric windlass is that I have to go forward and muscle the anchor up every time. However, I have come to view even this as a benefit in that I get a strength workout each and every time we anchor. Adding an electric windlass would create an enormous number of issues for our boat, including increased battery requirements, redesigning the anchor locker, and increased complexity when securing an anchor correctly. For now, I’m happy using MANpower.
Double lifelines with netting
The previous owner installed the netting around most of the boat (I think they had a dog) and we like the extra security it provides as the girls move around the boat. And two lifelines help to keep their little bodies from slipping under the rail as well.
Because of the wing keel and spade rudder, the boat can turn around in very tight spaces and she behaves very well in reverse. I’ve already had several proud moments backing into a marina slip with other boaters out to watch, only to settle into our spot with no drama whatsoever, even receiving compliments from the onlookers a time or two. And with a draft of only 5 feet, which is shallower than most monohulls of this size that we looked at, we’ve been able to travel through skinny water with less concern, a great advantage on the ICW.
Stern rail seats and our new cockpit seating
There isn’t a better seat on board while under sail than the two stern rail seats. You’re out over the water and have a great view of the sail set. And while we were on the hard in Southport, NC we made the decision to trash the old seat cushions in the boat and installed two captains chairs and a love seat. This seating is comfortable, supportive, it stays where you put it, and you can move it anywhere!
The Name — All In
We are both graduates of Clemson University and the football team’s current slogan/motto under the direction of Head Coach Dabo Swinney is All In. The phrase has really caught on across the university and alumni as a whole. When we found the boat online and it met all of our needs and wants so well, the coincidence with the name was too good to pass up. We are currently designing a new “All In’ sticker to replace the current one….one that utilizes orange and purple of course…as well as a matching sticker identifying our home port of Beaufort, SC.