AfterBlue Sailaway

Northstar 500 - Hughes 25´ sloop


One morning I was scanning the internet for boats that I knew I can't afford - just to amuze myself, I guess, when I found an ad for this inexpensive 25´ sloop. I set the meeting up and there she was. it was the love from the first sight... Somewhat blind, as love so often is. Nevertheles, we closed the deal and I was a proud owner of my first sailing vessel. It was cold January morning, she was covered in snow, resting on the cradle in Ashbridges Bay in Toronto. I started to work on her right away. I wasn´t quite sure what I was getting her (or myself) ready for yet. Never straying away from the Lake Ontario in her life she was up for a salty surprise...

About The Boat

I knew very little about boats when I got her, still she was a good place to start as any. Naturally I discovered soon that every sailboat owner thinks and talks about "my next boat...".

Hughes 25 was designed as a lake racer and a weekend cruiser. It handles nicely and spins on the dime. It is a perfectly suited vessel for a weekend outing or day sail. She is easy to manouver and quick to get ready to go out. Her flat deck provides ample space to tend to the sails but that comes at the cost of limited headroom in the cabin.

For it´s small size, only 25´ LOA, she has a deep fin keel and draws 5´. She was designed to be a very beamy vessel, some 9´ wide displacing some 3500 lbs. Her average sailing speed is about 5 knots and tops at 6.4 kn. My boat´s Genoa, jib and main are hanked on and her seven winches would make it easy to carry a shute if I had one.

This particular vessel was somewhat unlikely choice for an extended cruise that I did. Her water tank and galley was removed by previous owner. He also removed existing inboard engine and replaced it with an outboard. Stove and some lockers were removed to make extra bunks. No electronics, never mind: no electric wiring was in place when I got her. I've done quite a bit of work on her before, during and after the trip. Like many other cruisers who actualy left their home ports, I chosed to go cruising with the boat I had on hand, instead of waiting for million dollar boat in the future. Having somewhat limited budged I equipped this boat with bare essentials to make the trip. Got myself a camping stove and got several portable water containers that allowed me to store almost 20 gallons of fresh water (used strictly for drinking.) I designed and wired sufficient 12V system with an extra battery and an array of small solar panels on my bimini that gave me maybe 15W of output. It was just enough to power my depthfinder, VHF, CD player and LED lights (cabin, anchor and running). Can´t praise LED enough for their amaizingly small draw - they are extremely kind to your batteries. On my request my next crew member, Tobi, came baring gifts: handheld VHF radio. My main unit was in the cabin, impracticaly away from the cokpit.

As you can see my equippement is very basic. I had no refridgeration onboard. I attempted to implement some cool storage with an electric 12V cooler, but it's impact on the batteries was too great to run it for prolonged periods of time.

As far as navigation goes I have a good compas, some old paper charts and I carry handheld GPS. This boat is not equipped with radar or self-steering. I carry basic safety gear like life jackets, flare gun etc. I also tied up a safety line on the starboard toerail to hook myself in if the weather deteriorates, or when sailing at night.

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