” This next year we are dedicated to cruising the Great Loop, embracing the challenges and excitement of learning new skills, and seeing what each sweet day brings. “
Sweet Day, Camano 31’
Interview with the Captains – Kate and Tim Carney
Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to live onboard your boat?
Since backpacking Europe for a summer after college, our life together has been in motion. Tim’s work in tech has taken him across East and West Coasts, Canada, and Asia. Kate’s career in social impact has taken her from DC to Haiti to MD to NYC. We got married in 2019, and on our honeymoon read, Honey, Let’s Get a Boat. We were convinced doing the Great Loop was in our future plans. We thought with some planning, we might be able to do the trip within the next five years, despite being a little younger (we’re in our early 30s) than the typical looper. Little did we know 2020 would shake things up, and we realized the time was now. Taking a leap of faith, we moved out of our NYC apartment, put our stuff into storage, left our jobs, and bought Sweet Day. This next year we are dedicated to cruising the Great Loop, embracing the challenges and excitement of learning new skills, and seeing what each sweet day brings. Our full story is here.
Who first introduced you to boating?
Tim grew up spending his summers on the North Fork of Long Island where he got his boating license at age 13 so he could cruise around on his grandfather’s 21 foot Grady White. Kate, growing up in Silver Spring, MD, was never far from the Eastern Shore where she would spend time cruising around (as a passenger) on friends’ and family members’ boats. But it wasn’t until we got serious about doing the Great Loop did we really feel like we went from 0-60 in only a couple months. Before we bought Sweet Day, we did a 2-day powerboat training course and spent a night at anchor on a Grand Banks with a Gold Looper couple in North Carolina. Once we bought Sweet Day, we spent 4 days with two captains that taught us everything we needed to know on the water, and worked side by side with our talented mechanic turned friend, Mike, who taught us as much as he could about how Sweet Day operates.
About Long-range Cruising
Where have you traveled so far and where are you heading next?
We started the Great Loop on Easter 2021 from St. Petersburg, Florida and are now cruising down the inland waterways, aiming to cross our wake by the end of the year. We’re hoping to spend some time exploring the Keys, Bahamas, and then take the boat back up the ICW to the Annapolis area after we finish the Loop.
Do you have a memorable story to share from your liveaboard adventure so far?
Cruising the Dismal Swamp was one of our favorite parts of the trip. It is a 22 mile canal that runs through North Carolina and Virginia that is so narrow boats can’t pass one another and sailboats often have to look up when navigating to avoid hitting tree branches. The canal begins and ends with 2 locks that only open a few times a day, so many boaters spend the night tied up along a select number of docks on the narrow canal. Tipped off by a friend, we tied up at a remote dock along a small picnic area and bike path. Another boat also pulled up with us who we had never met before, but after sharing a camp fire (we have a portable campfire on board) and whiskey, soon became friends.
It also was one of the first times we realized how impactful the Great Loop is, when you take the time to learn the history of where you are. Being immersed in the beautiful wildlife is captivating, but the trees, chirping birds, and water take on new meaning learning about the swamp. The canal was hand dug by enslaved laborers over 12 years in the late 1700s to enable trade around the area. The swamp also served as a refuge for those escaping slavery and became home to maroon communities that used the swamp’s challenging environment to hide and build a free life. As we travel, we are practicing the act of being in the present, but also understanding the importance of taking time to learn and reflect on our past.
Most under-rated piece of equipment for long-range cruising?
Sourdough starter. Kate’s family had a bakery for 3 generations, we had bread centerpieces instead of flowers at our wedding, so you can say we’re big fresh bread people. For those times where you can’t provision or are in need of this staple food, having a starter makes it easy (and cheap) to have high quality fresh bread on board. If you’re really looking for a piece of equipment to answer this question, our “claw” has allowed us to grab anything and everything that falls into the hard to reach places on the boat, which is also pretty important.
About the Boat
Why did you choose to buy a Camano?
We wanted a boat with a simple operating system, one diesel engine, a flybridge (and outdoor helm), and generator. At 31 feet long, she would be cheaper to dock and could squeeze into places some other boats couldn’t. But with a larger beam and cabin surrounded by windows, it doesn’t feel claustrophobic during the times we have to hang inside. Plus she could go “fast” for a trawler if we needed (12-15 mph) and had the right dimensions to do the Loop. All of her details are here.
What other kinds of boats did you consider before buying this particular model (and how did they compare)?
We looked a little bit into similar sized Grand Banks and Mainships, but really had our eyes set on the Camano for all the reasons stated above.
How did you come to find/locate her before purchasing (and what’s the boat’s history if you know it)?
We started our search in the summer of 2020. Working with our boat broker, Murray Yacht Sales, we toured two Camanos in Maryland, where we were currently living, to get a sense of if this type of boat is one we could be comfortable on. It passed the test, but the boats we looked at weren’t quite the right boats for us. In October, our broker found one in Punta Gorda, FL that hit a lot on our checklist. So, we hopped on a video call and our broker gave us a tour of the boat. She was in our price range, in the right location at the right time, and there wasn’t a lot left on the market to choose from. So, we went forward with a survey (which we also couldn’t be present for due to COVID) and with a leap of faith said yes. We know she has a history that started in St. Michaels, MD and took her all the way up to Massachusetts before coming to Punta Gorda.
What are the features you like most about your boat?
In the 6 weeks leading up to our departure we did a ton of upgrades, but the first few months of the loop became an extended shake down cruise and we really learned how cruising is just fixing your boat in exotic places. Highlights of what we’ve done are below, and can read more about our upgrades here.
• Reupholstered the cushions; removed window tint and added blinds; increased storage capacity with hooks and shelves
• Installed AIS, replaced chartplotter and radar with a Garmin 942x, installed a new Pepwave wifi router, replaced VHF radio with a Standard Horizon Wired Remote Access Microphone Ram4; installed a new Lewmar horizontal pro 1000 windlass; replaced bow thruster solenoid/relay and added new breaker for bow thruster; Replaced house and starter batteries; Grounded house battery bank; Installed new bilge pumps
• Cleaned and repaired injectors and fuel injector pump; Replaced coolant hoses, Performed 1000 volvo penta service; polished fuel; routine oil/fuel filter changes
• Installed new propane regulator + solenoid + propane tank• Added a new dinghy (9.5 foot AB Lamina Inflatable) + motor
• Installed Olsson Davits to mount the dinghy• Cleaned and refurbished generator
• New Mantus anchor + rode (75 foot chain, 225 rope)• Removed storage crate and installed/mounted pontoon seating on the flybridge
Do you have any advice for those looking to buy a Camano like yours?
If you’re interested in Sweet Day, send us a note! We’ll be putting her on the market when we jump back into land life in 2022.
Do you belong to a yacht club or other boating/sailing organizations?
What boats have you previously owned?
Sweet Day is our first!
What is the biggest challenge you have in servicing your boat?
For those that own a boat, know this year everything boat related has been in extremely high demand, including quality mechanics. Often we were told there would be a 4-week wait when we needed mechanical help along the Loop, which doesn’t really work when you are a transient boater chasing the warm weather. This was especially challenging when we were still working out Sweet Day’s kinks on the first part of the loop. Sometimes we were lucky and could get someone in a couple days. But we really owe our ability to do this trip to our mechanic friend Mike who helped us get Sweet Day ready in St. Pete. He would always answer our phone calls to walk us through some tricky mechanical/electrical issues. We also did an online diesel engine course and have several of Nigel Calder’s diesel engine books on board. Most Camanos have Volvo engines, which sometimes require a boat yard/mechanic that specializes in Volvo diesel inboards.
What’s the story behind the boat’s name?
Sweet Day came to us without a name (at least by the previous owner). We wanted a name that was fun, reflected what we wanted to get out of the adventure, and was ours. We came up with Sweet Day—inspired by our first dance song, Ol’ Sweet Day, by AHI, about at the end of the day, all you want is to be with your loved ones. And also thought it would be a good reminder, that no matter what happens, any day on the water is a sweet one.
Click the gallery below for more photos and information about Sweet Day!