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Cyclops Marine 2023 November - LEADERBOARD

Excess Owners Stories - Jeff B

by Excess Catamarans 28 Oct 2023 12:30 UTC
Jeff, owner of an Excess 11 © Excess Catamarans

Jeff, owner of an Excess 11, shares his most memorable experiences on board his boat. Discover the inspiring story of a cardiovascular surgeon who traded his medical gown for the helm of an Excess 11!

In this exclusive interview, he shares his incredible story, from when he first started sailing two decades ago: "I found that sailing was both relaxing and stimulating, as well as a good escape from the stress of my profession."

For his retirement 2 years ago, Jeff decided to opt for the Excess 11. Find out why he made this choice and how he customized his boat to turn it into the perfect ally for his solo adventures. You will also find valuable tips for single-handed sailing, as well as his favourite experiences on board his Excess 11. This interview is rich in anecdotes and advice, and will surely inspire you to sail away on an Excess!

Q: What can you tell us about yourself?

I am a 71-year-old recently retired cardiovascular surgeon. I started sailing around twenty years ago, as a way to escape and decompress. I found sailing both relaxing and challenging, as well as entertaining, in order to get away from the stress of my professional activities. I joined a sailing club in Berkeley, California, and began taking USSA certified sailing lessons on the San Francisco Bay. Over the years I progressed through Coastal Passage Making and Coastal Navigation, and began doing bareboat charters in places like the British Virgin Islands, Tahiti, Belize, and Greece. As I neared retirement, I decided to purchase my own boat, and after much reflection and research, I selected an Excess 11. I have owned this boat for about 2 years now, and have sailed along the California and Baja California coasts. It has been a great retirement hobby, a way to remain challenged and active, as well as a wonderful social activity.

Q: What attracted you to Excess?

I have always liked Catamarans because of their spacious volume and sailing characteristics. While there are some drawbacks, they are very comfortable under sail, and I find that many of my non-sailor friends accompany me on board, whereas they might hesitate on a monohull. After doing quite a lot of research, I settled for the Excess 11, based on a number of key points. I knew I did not want to deal with a refit and I wanted a relatively small cruising Catamaran. I realised that even if purchased new, the Excess 11 was still within my budget. The interior layout is very spacious and comfortable. The rigging design enables me to sail single-handedly with great ease and confidence. Moreover, for a cruising catamaran, it offers very good sailing performance. With 12-15 knots of wind, I can easily reach 6-7 knots for most points of sail. Upwind, I can point to at least 45 degrees without stalling.

Q: Where do you most enjoy sailing?

The Caribbean is probably the best place to sail. I love the climate, the predictable winds and the Caribbean culture. My boat is currently based in San Diego, and I'm taking advantage of the summer season to sail along the southern California coast, from Santa Barbara to Catalina. This winter, my plan is to sail my boat to the Sea of Cortez and explore this well-known area, much appreciated by sailors.

Q: What are your favourite sailing spots?

If I had to choose one, it would probably be the South Pacific. Having sailed around Fiji and Tahiti, I would like to discover new islands. Unfortunately, for the moment, it remains a bit too far from home for easy access.

Q: Can you share some tips on single-handed sailing?

For the last two years, since owning my Excess 11, I have done a lot of single-handed sailing. I spent the first year learning to sail single-handedly on my boat in the San Francisco Bay, with winds up to 25 knots. I sailed several times along the Californian coast, from San Francisco to San Diego, with just one crew member on board. In November 2022, I sailed alone from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas and back. I think, my first piece of advice would be to make sure that you feel sufficiently at ease to sail in your chosen area, in order to handle the sea and wind conditions there. Then, I believe it is essential to have a "safety plan" in case conditions become too extreme. It is essential to "know your boat", so you can manage it efficiently, even under more or less rough conditions. Finally, before purchasing your boat, it is important to think carefully about the rigging configuration and whether it will enable optimal single-handed sailing, taking into account your personal limitations (age, size, strength, mobility and skills).

Q: What was your favourite experience?

I have enjoyed so many things about boat ownership, that it is hard to select just one. It has given me the opportunity to learn so many new things. I have the luxury of time, now that I'm retired, so even general maintenance and repairs are generally pleasant tasks. I'm delighted to take people out to sea and share this sailing experience with them. I'm happy to share a little of my expertise when they show an interest. I love spending the night on board when my catamaran is docked in this quiet and peaceful atmosphere. I would say that my favourite experience was sailing along the Pacific Coast of Baja California. As it was in October, the weather was still relatively warm and sunny. I enjoyed a light northerly wind and a peaceful sailing zone, covering a hundred miles. This region has a rich marine life, including seals, dolphins and occasional humpback whales. It was a very peaceful and magical experience.

You can follow our owners' testimonies on our website in the Excess Tribe section.

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