After getting married in 2019, Kate and Tim Carney started their newlywed life in a New York City apartment, managing busy careers. But they couldn’t shake the adventures that both had read about on their honeymoon in Honey, Let’s Get a Boat...A Cruising Adventure of America’s Great Loop by Ron Stob. They gave themselves five years to go on their own cruising adventure, but when 2020 (and Covid-19) changed the world, they knew the time was right and they purchased the 31-foot Camano Sweet Day.
Current boat: Camano 31 Sweet Day
Home port: Washington, D.C.
Years owned: 1
My husband, Tim, spent his summers boating on his grandfather’s 21-foot Grady-White on Long Island, N.Y. I spent a few afternoons a season on friends’ boats in Annapolis, Md. So when we decided to leave our jobs, buy a boat and embark on the Great Loop after 2020 shook things up, we knew we had a lot to learn. Our first steps included joining the America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association, as well as getting time on the water staying on a Grand Banks via Airbnb and enrolling in a powerboat training course. Once we bought our boat, we trained for a week with captains, as well as working side by side with a mechanic to get her and us ready to Loop. The first four months of the trip was an extended shakedown cruise, where we learned how to troubleshoot electrical, mechanical and other issues on the go. While Looping as first-time boat owners was daunting at times, we got the hang of it, and wouldn’t trade anything for the experience to see our country from the water together.
We knew we wanted a Camano for the Loop. At 31 feet long, they are relatively inexpensive to dock and could fit almost anywhere. They have a spacious flybridge and the salon is surrounded by windows. One of our favorite upgrades are the pontoon seats we added to the flybridge, creating a perfect space to host guests (or take a nap). It is easy to cook in the galley, and the propane system requires minimal power to use underway. With a single diesel, a 200-hp Volvo Penta, it also is relatively simple to operate and maintain. While we typically cruise around 7 knots, we also liked to have the option to go “fast” if we needed (10 to 13 knots). Plus, she had the right dimensions to easily maneuver around the Loop.
We did a ton to get Sweet Day Loop-ready. We installed new electronics including AIS, a new bow thruster solenoid, anchor/rode and windlass and reupholstered the cushions. On the Loop, we replaced the alternator, starter, batteries, fuel injectors, high-pressure fuel pump and refurbished the generator as well.
We would love to install solar panels to charge our house/starter batteries so we would not have to run the generator or pull into a marina after two-plus days at anchor.
It’s the moments that make up the cruising lifestyle that we feel so lucky to experience: sitting on the bow while at anchor, hearing the water ripple along the hull and surrounded by nothing but the occasional fish jumping or bird flying between trees; meeting strangers that quickly become friends after sharing an impromptu meal at a marina; staring up a 100-plus-foot wall, feeling small as you float down a lock; and the shouts of joy at dolphins that decide to cruise along your bow for a few minutes.
After crossing our Great Loop wake in St. Petersburg, Fla. we are taking Sweet Day to the Keys and then will follow the sun up the East Coast to land in the Chesapeake Bay area this spring/summer. Follow our adventure at lifeonsweetday.com and on Instagram @lifeonsweetday
My husband has been caught daydreaming about a Fleming 55 for the very distant future.
This article was originally published in the April 2022 issue.