The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

Sailing South

Eric Carpentier & Karoline Monkvik

Catalina 34
November 9th, 2017

We are Eric, Karoline and Kona (a brindled Doberman cross). We escaped the rat race to sail our 34’ 1988 Catalina Blackdragon down the Pacific Coast to distant shores, at the beginning of Summer 2017. We lived aboard, prepared the boat for offshore cruising, and learned to sail only one and a half years before we took the big left at the entrance of Juan de Fuca Strait. So you see, anything really is possible!

While we lived aboard, Karoline worked her full time corporate office job in order to save money for boat repairs and the upcoming cruising fun. As much as she would love to retire, she will need to find a source of revenue. Karoline hopes to do this by way of creating websites, managing social media accounts, writing, and blogging, among other ideas. Eric was originally in the web development industry, but shifted gears and decided to work full time on Blackdragon, with a never-ending list of projects. Kona only joined the family as a 3 month year old puppy in January 2017, and has adjusted well to the motion of the ocean.

Blackdragon has made it to Mexico before, with its prior owners, so it was quite seaworthy to begin with; but we still had some projects to complete before we could set sail into the proverbial sunset. We installed a Spectra Watermaker; a new SSB ICOM radio; re-embedded chain plates; installed a new Autohelm; re-embedded the keel; replaced all the hatch lenses and port lights, fixed all the other things that broke along the way, etc… you know how it goes! We have heard these words of wisdom and will repeat it; plan to only complete 50% of your list before you leave home port, and the rest when you arrive in Mexico.

Although we have made it to southern California, we are still learning so much about sailing and the general cruising lifestyle. We talk to a lot of fellow sailors; watch YouTube videos; read, read and read. More importantly, we find we are “learning on the job”, which seems to stick pretty quick!

We plan to participate in the Baja HaHa leaving from San Diego at the end of October (along with approximately six other BCA boats). The HaHa is a cruising rally that will take us into Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with stops in Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria.  We look forward to being surrounded by friendly salts in warm weather, and the inexpensive tacos and margaritas! We plan to spend the holiday season in the Sea of Cortez, as friends and family will fly out to join us to celebrate. Follow our blog to stay posted on our adventures.


  1. George says:

    Good for you guys, I also have a Catalina 34 mark 1. What kind of dog and how does your dog handle the companion way? My boat is called the Sand Pebble out of Alamitos bay next to Long Beach Ca.
    George and Denise

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