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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone here have a sailboat, and if so, how big and do you take your lab(s) on it? Any recommendations?

My husband has wanted a good-sized sailboat for years, and we finally took the plunge, got rid of the powerboat, and got a Catalina 387 sailboat. It will essentially become our regular weekend destination, and so I want to be able to bring the dogs with us. Toby loved the motorboat (but he's a total ride-whore and will go for a ride on any/everything he can), Chamois wasn't completely convinced the few times we took her on it, but did OK. But the sailboat will be completely different, and I'm just wondering if anyone has experience with dogs on sailboats and can offer advice. We'll have it at its new marina in a couple of weeks so I want to be prepared.

Oh, it has a "sugar scoop" stern with a low and easy-to-access swim platform and cockpit entry, but I do still plan on getting the puppers life vests.
 

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That's a nice boat. At nearly 40 feet long, it should have plenty of room for the pups. When I had my 21 foot sloop, my friend brought his golden retriever on board and there was no problem on my small boat. I think it all depends on how used to boating the dogs are, not so much the size of boat. I see dogs aboard all sizes of sailboats here on the coast. Be sure to post pictures!
 

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We have a power boat, friends have a sail boat - both dogs like either, but Morgan esp likes to lay on the top of the sail boat - gets PO'd whenever the sail moves his shady spot! Other than that - and the fact the mast can be mistaken - in times of need - as a giant pee tree - they love sailing too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh. I hadn't even thought of the mast issue... makes sense though. Hmm. I wonder how Mark will feel when his darling boy lifts a leg on his pristine new boat!

How do they do with the heeling-over motion of the sailboat? The power boat really didn't do that, the trim issues were up-down of the bow depending on speed, so a different axis of rotation. Also, was there canine temptation to chew on lines?

I'm going to take them to try on life jackets this weekend, I'm leaning toward the Ruff Wear vests, but will be glad to take recommendations on those, too.
 

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Does anyone here have a sailboat, and if so, how big and do you take your lab(s) on it? Any recommendations?

My husband has wanted a good-sized sailboat for years, and we finally took the plunge, got rid of the powerboat, and got a Catalina 387 sailboat. It will essentially become our regular weekend destination, and so I want to be able to bring the dogs with us. Toby loved the motorboat (but he's a total ride-whore and will go for a ride on any/everything he can), Chamois wasn't completely convinced the few times we took her on it, but did OK. But the sailboat will be completely different, and I'm just wondering if anyone has experience with dogs on sailboats and can offer advice. We'll have it at its new marina in a couple of weeks so I want to be prepared.

Oh, it has a "sugar scoop" stern with a low and easy-to-access swim platform and cockpit entry, but I do still plan on getting the puppers life vests.
Holy Boat Batman! :eek: I'll tell you what...if the pups don't like it, give me a shout. You won't even know I'm there! :D
 

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I've taken both the Labs I've had sailing (I've sailed and raced many, many years.)

Bess L-O-V-E-D to sail -- so much on the boats we owned then (15 1/2 ft Snipes; 20 ft C-scows) that my wife and I had to spell anything related to the L-A-K-E or S-A-I-L-I-N-G or Bess would get too excited. Since we had boats before we got Bess, she adapted to sailing on them very quickly. She liked the C-scow's rougher deck much better than the slippery FG (fiberglas) surface on the Snipes' decks -- plus the C-scow having only a single sail (no head sail) meant Bess could park herself on the bow, moving to the high side as we tacked, enjoying the ride 10X more than any dog with its head sticking out an open car window ever did. Both type boats had low enough freeboard that it'd be no problem hauling Bess back in. You're fortunate in having a sugar scoop transom making for an easier getting back on board; I wish mine had one.

My present boat is a 22'/6.7 m. long S2 6.7 (link: http://sail-s2.org/6.7home.php ) and Puff had the handicap of being six years old (last summer) before her first sail. BUT, since she cannot stand being separated from me, she comes along and has been enjoying it progressively more with each sail.

She wears a Ruff-Wear PFD (personal flotation device) whenever aboard (highest price; highest quality -- get them individually fitted). They have a strong strap on the backs that could be used to lift Puff out of the water IF she ever became overboard. And we carry a Forespar 4:1 crane (or davit lift) that can be quickly put in place to hoist her back onboard if needed.

I love to sail at night so, at those times, she also wears a small MOB device attached to her PFD that automatically starts a blinking light when immersed in water to make locating the overboard person or pooch more easily located. (Other guests on nighttime sails wear the same thing along with their PFDs.)

On a boat the size of your Catalina, I doubt that your dogs will take long in adapting. Just be sure you train (or keep) them away from any dangerous places such as, when tacking, deck sweeping headsails or in the path of vangs or wherever their legs could get ensnared & possibly amputated by whizzing lines. I strongly suggest you keep them both in the cockpit until you get several years experience with sailing -- there are certain places and times that sailboats can change from being perfectly safe to becoming suddenly, instantaneously, extremely dangerous (e.g., especially tacking & unexpected jibes; sudden wind shifts; fronts coming through). And ask for & listen to the advice of long experienced sailors who've also sailed with dogs. Your cockpit is big enough to provide safe room for you, them, and guests.

I lined the seats of my 8' long cockpit seats with SOPAC rubber cushions (about 1 1/2"/ 3 cm?) thick and put industrial strength Velcro on their undersurfaces that mate with matching Velcro attached on the hard FG surfaces of the bench type seats. These provide excellent traction for Puff 's toenails, do not mar or get holes punched in, get removed after use, and she likes reclining on them. (People's butts also like them. :) )

re: the very crucial issue of peeing/pottying.

I thought ahead on this and Puff's initial pee/potty training was inside the house, using a Purina Second Nature X-Large potty tray (about 18"W x 24"L x 9"D) the bottom of which was lined with newspapers. My intent was to train her to use that so it could be put on the cockpit sole to serve as a canine "loo" with a minimum of retraining.

BUT, recently someone PM'ed me for suggestions on this and, in turn, I posted the question on a sailing forum I participate on and got (IMO) an even better solution.

The recommendation is to get a piece of artificial turf of a size that fits your dog's needs and place it on the cockpit sole. In a corner, attach a grommet large enough to fasten in it a 1/4"/6 mm dia. line. Train your dog at home to use it; some pet stores have scents that can be applied to encourage peeing over them -- you can always also smear a bit of dog poo near an edge to encourage the idea.

After learning to use it at home, take it to the boat so it can be used there. After use, tow it a few minutes behind the boat when underway to "flush" their doggy toilet.


 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Awesome advice, thanks, Bob.

Re the dog toilet - I doubt we'll be out so long during day sails that it becomes a problem but the astroturf is a great idea. On weekends we want to go further afield and maybe overnight on the hook - or even multi-day sails - it will be a long time (if ever) before we take the dogs on those trips. Those weekends they'll stay with friends or at their "camp" (boarding facility / daycare). Most weekends will be day sailing for a few hours or half-day, and staying at the marina where they have nice facilities, lawns, and even designated doggie areas and provided poop bags. So we can potty them before sailing, when we get back, and before bed.

My husband has been a sailor for many years and is certified to bare-boat charter anywhere in the world. But he hasn't sailed with dogs. I have my basic keelboat certification, but am very much a novice sailor in all respects. We plan on going out several times with professional captain friends of ours (who have basically offered "instruction" in exchange for a day on the new boat!). But finding someone with experience sailing with big dogs will be very helpful as well.

Thanks!
 

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thanks, Bob.
You're quite welcome.

My husband has been a sailor for many years and is certified to bare-boat charter anywhere in the world. But he hasn't sailed with dogs. I have my basic keelboat certification, but am very much a novice sailor in all respects.
My apologies -- I misunderstood. I thought you (especially he) had many years of experience with powerboating but far more limited experience under sail.

I'm on my 11th sailboat (1 Comet, 3 Snipes, 3 C-scows, 1 Pearson Ensign, 1 Ericson 26, 1 S2 6.9, 1 S2 6.7). I think US weather forecasting now is FAR better than in prior years -- but only IF one meticulously checks it and stays connected with S.A.M.E. weather radio. (I have an Icom marine band radio with an option that intrudes SAME bulletins as an override and I take it to our weekly LabFests whenever weather is iffy).

A slight digression on this thread gives me the great pleasure of reminiscing.

In earlier years, I loved sailing in strong winds [25 mph in my Comet (appropriately named "Blow ye Winds") and in my C-scows -- a former racing crew member of mine, a classmate from Florida, visited me when I had a wooden C-scow which had bilge board trunks fully open on their tops. Don was only here for a few days so, for kicks, we took out the scow in westerly winds about 25+ mph and blowing so that we had reaches going both N & S in a lake that also lay that direction. We had rooster tails spurting up through the BB trunks about 25 feet in the air on both sides!

And I enjoyed another memorable afternoon sailing (reefed) my Ericson 26 in 30-45 mph.

The 2 most dangerous times I've ever experienced were when unexpected fronts came through. At those times, winds can change speed and directions within a second or two from, say, 7 mph to 50-70 mph and 180 degrees or more.

One time I was taking a VERY desirable (IMO) divorced mother I was dating along with her 4 year old son for a gentle afternoon sail in my Snipe in winds about 5 mph. A front suddenly came through and we instantly had winds in the >30+ range. Carolyn clutched her frightened son tightly (quite appropriately) and was unavailable to help as crew. We weren't awfully far out and I managed to bring the boat in safely so that people watching ashore could grab us and help Carolyn and her son get safely on land. I doubt that that experience doomed our relationship -- our 25+ age differences might possibly have inappropriately counted more, but who knows? :D

Another time I was sailing under full sail (main & 150 genoa) with a longtime partner in my Pearson Ensign (22.5' keelboat) in gentle, early evening breezes. Suddenly, we were hit by 70+ mph winds (so recorded at the local marina -- several larger boats sank) from a cold front and it instantly heeled us 90 degrees, slapping our sails on the water.

When our boat somewhat righted, Karen was able to make her way forward and pull down the genny while I was magically able to get our 6 hp Merc (its first & only time ever) started on its first pull. We made it back to our slip under awful conditions and probably somewhat glad we were alive -- (but, maybe, it was later that evening I experienced that? :D)

At any rate, in many years of sailing, those were the 2 most unexpected events I've had.

But it's taught me that, in sailing, the unexpected rarely, but unexpectedly, always happens.

Oh!, back to your Catalina -- your companionway steps/ladder may take some revising.

Those on on my S2 6.7 are far too steep for Puff to climb so she leaps on a side berth, then uses that as a springboard to leap through the hatch; she reverses that to make her way down. But our's is surely a lesser distance than on your MUCH larger Catalina.

Your steps may take some modifying to make egress from/ingress to the cabin easier for both Labs.

While my Bess would've climbed or descended even a ladder (or maybe even a rope) if it got her to what she wanted, my Puff is much more a girly-girl in that respect.

Here's to many years of delightful sailing experiences with your Labs!


 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Cool. I did my BKB on an Ericson 24. In rough conditions. I bruises, well, where one shouldn't. Ever. No matter how much fun it was. But it was a great boat to learn on and an all-woman crew that was truly kick-you-know-what (even if it was bruised!)

I also know a bit about watching weather from my 10 years experience flying hang gliders. But I do know how things can change too fast to properly anticipate. Once again, I appreciate the input. we just heard back from another captain-friend of ours, so we'll be booked for another day with someone expert - another good thing in my book!

And, yes, the steepness of the steps/ladder into the cabin concern me a bit for Chamois. Toby will go up and down anything (he taught himself to use the pool ladder in Libya), but Chamois is a bit more cautious. Maybe I can rig a ramp for when we're docked at the marina. We'll see.
 

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Morg responds to heeling by moving to the other side of the boat with a loud put out sigh....Haley finds me and cuddles for a minute or two. MOrgan just deals with the ladder---Harley took several hours at dock to figure it out and is now fine with it - however, her 1st trip down a floating dock is one of my favorite memories. HAHAHAH
 

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her 1st trip down a floating dock is one of my favorite memories. HAHAHAH
I know that sight!!

Puff was slowly walking, half crouched, not at all happy BUT NOT willing to be separated from me so she persisted.

 

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OOH Ursula,
Did I ever mention I know how to sail? :):):)
I use to have a share in a boat in Destin FL but lost it in Hurricane Opal.
 
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