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Krogen 58: Smells Like Team Spirit

A husband and wife build a plan to circumnavigate, one small adventure at a time.

March 26, 2010
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It’s been a decade-long odyssey for Karyn and Ron Rothstein. Their quest has taken them from an 18-foot runabout to a 58-foot Kadey-Krogen; from Chesapeake Bay to the first forays on a journey ’round the world.

They’ve had seven boats in 10 years. Every boat was slightly bigger but, as they approached retirement, they started thinking about longer voyages, maybe even a circumnavigation.

“We wanted a seaworthy boat that could take us long distances in comfort,” Ron explains. Solidly built was key, but liveability was important, too. And it was crucial that they be able to handle the boat as a team.

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The Rothsteins looked at a lot of trawlers but decided on a Kadey-Krogen 58 that they had built three years ago.

“Kadey-Krogen customer service is phenomenal,” raved Ron. “They’re so excited when customers love their boats and they build few boats per year, so they are in a position to make it a really personal experience,” he continued. “They were very receptive to all of our ideas and suggestions and very open to changes during the process.”

Ron wound up retiring before he had planned to, which turned out to be a good thing. The Rothsteins had more time to spend aboard, getting to know Equinox, as they named her. Their last boat had been a 56-foot Carver and the systems on their new trawler were a lot more complex.

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“We went to Passagemaker University programs for a few years,” Karyn says. “And we took free classes from Trac in California, for captains and owners, on the feeding, care, and maintenance of hydraulic and stabilizer systems.”

As the Rothsteins became more familiar with every aspect of their vessel, they also expanded their cruising range. This past summer, they went to Bermuda-their first really long, offshore passage. Ron did some fishing and landed a 60-pound tuna.

“We loved it in Bermuda,” remarks Karyn. “We have friends there and, with their local knowledge, we were able to go into Castle Harbor-somewhere we never would have ventured otherwise because of the reefs.”

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The return from Bermuda, however, was rough. The couple agrees that this might have been their biggest sea challenge, so far. They were monitoring the weather and were supposed to see six-to nine-foot seas. Instead, there were 15- to 20-foot seas.

“We were never scared for our safety,” Ron notes. “The biggest challenge was staying rested and sharp with just the two of us. We didn’t get much sleep and what we did get wasn’t restful, we weren’t eating well. But we knew the boat could handle a lot more than the crew.”

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When they built the boat, the Rothsteins went “one step up with everything.” They overbuilt it, and duplicated systems for total redundancy. “We have two engines-and full engines, not a main and a get-home, wing engine,” Ron explains. “We have two generators, two radars, two full nav systems, even a redundant AIS.”

The Rothsteins particularly liked the layout options and the comfortable feeling of the Kadey-Krogen over some other builds they’d investigated.

“We went with what Kadey-Krogen calls ‘the office layout,'” explains Karyn. “We have two cabins with en suite heads-one with day-head access-and the third cabin is an office instead, with bookshelves, lots of stowage, and it’s nice and open.”

The Rothsteins circumnavigation dreams are coming together, but they’re not quite ready to go. Right now, they have a daughter, Ally, who’s in her last year of high school. Ally enjoyed living aboard the boat in Baltimore and bringing her friends for vacations whenever the family cruised. She has the diving bug that runs in the family and which is the main impetus behind the Rothstein’s plans.

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“We both love the tropics and love to dive, so we eventually want to do a circumnavigation that’s close to the equator,” remarks Karyn. But in the meantime, the Rothsteins are getting to work out every kink in advance.

“Communications have been a challenge,” says Ron. “We typically turn off the cell phones and rely on Skype and e-mail to keep in touch. We also started a blog because it’s such a great way to let all your friends and family know where you are and what kind of adventures you’re having.”

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But a recent adventure was not so much fun. Karyn and Ron were heading out to dinner in the Bahamas with friends. It was a cool night and she was sitting on the rear seat of a golf cart with her hands in her pockets when a tight turn tossed her off the back. Unable to get her hands up quickly enough, Karyn sustained a head injury that was troubling, but could have been much worse.

Naturally, their normal communication routines went out the window as they conferred with worried friends and family. The $3,000 cell phone bill was a shock, but the Rothsteins can at least regard it as another lesson on preparedness. Karyn’s noggin, meanwhile, seems to be on the path to a full recovery, though diving is off-limits for now. “And I don’t have a very good sense of smell,” Karyn adds.

“Hmmm,” muses Ron. “Guess who will be cleaning the heads and bilges?”

One of the biggest challenges for Ron has been learning to relax. “I’m a total Type A,” he admits. That was great while the boat was being built and as they improved their skills and knowledge base. But Karyn made Ron promise to “chill out” once they got underway. “If we’re cruising and we get to a place we like, we’re going to stay a while,” Karyn clarifies.

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Ron readily agrees and admits he’s finding a lot of enjoyment in slowing down and “smelling the roses.”

“Don’t rub it in,” Karyn jokes.

10 Tips For Partners at SeaHalf a cruising couple shares her secrets.1. First and foremost, boating/cruising has to be a shared passion…it can’t be just his dream or just your dream, it has to be shared! Then you both will love it, and love sharing it.2. Share the helm. No yelling by the more experienced spouse…offer quiet tips and let skills and confidence grow, little by little.3. Get familiar with as many systems aboard as you can…it’s your boat too, and while you might not care for some of the tasks, being able to assist with oil changes or other maintenance items will make the jobs easier.4. If you’re worried or afraid about conditions/route/whatever, voice it up front and put the topic out for discussion. Sometimes being the voice of reason is a good thing.5. Take time before you anchor or dock at an unfamiliar marina to get lines/fenders/anchor bridle ready, and discuss what lines should be attended to first and in what order, so you each know what the other is doing.6. Don’t micromanage: His way of handling lines might be different from yours, but if they both work well for each of you, that’s fine.7. Try new things together, whether it’s a popular local cuisine, or local tradition. That’s a big draw for cruisers, having the time and the inclination to get to know a place a bit better than the “typical tourist.”8. Don’t keep tabs on who’s done the laundry last. It will all work out in the wash, so to speak!9. Again, no yelling! Disagreements happen, but don’t make them personal and don’t take them personally.10. And…take time alone. Read a book, walk the beach, have a little quiet time-time apart is essential when you’re together as much as you are aboard a boat. -Karyn Rothstein|

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