North Sails LOFT NEWS

Story Contributors: Drew Mitchell


New Life To 1976 Catalina 27 Tall Rig


Krizia Marban and Doug Hampton share a glimpse into their sailing adventure aboard their 1976 Catalina 27 Tall Rig with their two pups in Vancouver.

How Did You Get Into Sailing?

Krizia was born and raised in the desert, but always knew that she loved the water! The very first time she got into a dinghy was a high school field trip to Jericho Sailing Club. A few years later she was invited to race on Thursday Nights with a rowdy crew on a Schock 35, named Fancy Free, skippered by the legendary Ian Lloyd. 

Doug grew up on Vancouver Island, and has always grown up by the water and boating. This year is his first year of sailboat ownership.


Word around RVYC is there is a real nice-looking Catalina 27 getting a big refit on the West Walk, when did you purchase it?

Doug and I purchased the boat August 1, 2019, so we are still reeling from that boat ownership high. The conversation of owning a boat only amounted to window shopping in January that year, until a friend made an offer we could not resist. When all documents were signed, we went down to celebrate on the boat, only to find that the lock on the hatch was seized! So, we literally had to break into “our” boat on day one. The hull and deck is a faded banana yellow hull, with green accessories, so the boat stands out a bit.

Why did you choose the Catalina 27 design?

The influence of purchasing a Catalina 27 was mainly due to the popularity of the boat and the 4KSB lifestyle. I’ve raced, shared, and leased a few Catalinas around the bay. They are the perfect starter cruiser, easy weeknight racer and have very comfortable accommodations. The supplier of parts and the online owner forums are also all very active. There is nothing like racing in a regatta with the BBQ on.

Since the purchase of the boat what are some of the projects that you have completed?

Even though the boat is 44 years old and has had 3 previous owners, it was well kept and dry inside. The first week of owning the boat though, we gave it a deep clean inside and out. We also wanted a boat survey completed to have a sense of expectations to what we really got ourselves into. The list of recommendations was expected, so it was a great base to prioritize which project we wanted to tackle first. There was some struggle with planning and organizing with the global pandemic shutting the city down in the spring, but we just patiently worked on some minor tasks, like bringing a few pieces of teak home to strip, sand and varnish. Some of the major tasks we have accomplished the last 7 months include a haul-out to power wash the buckets of mussels at GIBY; contracted Skookum Yacht Services to repaint the bottom, replace through-hulls, and keel bolts inspection; and rewiring of all electrical by A-Sea Marine Electrical Ltd. One major unplanned upgrade was the gutting of the galley.


What is the next project on the list?

Each project is a mushroom project, so there’s always something new. We replaced the halyards and sheets recently, so we are looking forward to purchasing/replacing deck hardware… to have her race ready, haha. We held off on replacing the interior upholstery, since we’ve always been fascinated with the grooviest decade! We are currently loving the original yellow retro wool in the cabin.  We also scrubbed the mildew green Dacron jib and main sails, a true test to any relationship. The sails work okay for the cruising we do but purchasing new North Sails is on the horizon.

Have you ran into any issues with the boat since having it?

Since replacing the old, oversized halyards and not having a halyard restrainer, we had issues with the jib halyard wrapping around the forestay, which could potentially be a very serious problem out on the water. Luckily, we had Chris Walter from the Vancouver loft of North Sails as a boat neighbor at the yacht club most of the summer. He assessed our issue, added a strop at the tack to raise the sail, and get it dialed to furl, it worked wonderfully! Shout out to Chris! He knows there’s always a beer or more for him on the Gidddy Up.

I’ve noticed you go cruising with two smaller dogs. How do you accommodate them when on the water and what are their names ?

Dude (white/fawn), he’s 8 and the swimmer, and Opie (white/black), he just turned 6, he’s the sinker. We may look into getting lifeline netting since Opie’s a bit of an explorer on the deck. They both wear lifejackets, and instantly go to nap mode under sail. At first, Opie wasn’t really into the motion of the ocean being down below in the cabin, but it sucks down there on a choppy day. “Boat” is a now trigger word, so it only means beach, boat rides, treats, sun, and good times!


Your partner Doug is fairly new to sailing. How is he enjoying it?

Doug is loving it! Doug went on his first cruising trip to Gambier Island; summer of 2017 and he loved every bit of it. We live downtown, so it always makes sense to wanting to be elsewhere on the weekends. We have spent almost all our weekends taking the boat out, tinkering and or having dinner out in the bay this past year. We do a lot of land camping, so cruising is just another way for us to go camping, this time on the water. Thinking back to our first test sail out in the bay, hoisting the mildew sails for the first time. I had him on the tiller, so he could watch what to do in the cockpit. There wasn’t much breeze at first, but we turned off and lifted the motor, I told him to ease his gorilla grip on the tiller, let the sails flop and fill and just feel the wind in his hair. Once he got the hang of it and we were heeled over and moving, he smiles and says, “Where do you wanna go?”, to which I responded, “Ahhh, we forgot to bring in the fenders!”…Phew, no one was around to see that!

Doug’s a professional photographer, other than taking surreal pictures while cruising, what else does he enjoy about being on the water?

Doug’s got a busy work schedule, so time spent on the water is always peaceful, but can also be stressful for him. He’s mastering taking the boat in and out of our slip and I’m very proud of how quickly he’s learning it all. At the same time he’s been burning through film with a few of his cameras, and so keeping with the retro theme, he’s managed to develop and process film by turning the cabin into a dark room!


What type of cruising did you get up to this summer?

To celebrate finishing some of the projects and our first anniversary owning the boat, we booked the last week of August for our first family cruise around Howe Sound. The plan was to stop over on Bowen, Gibsons, and Keats but with pandemic restrictions in mind, we decided to just spend 6 days on Alexandra Island (RVYC Outstation). Alexandra is a small but quaint island located in Centre Bay of Gambier Island. By the 6th day, all the ice had melted in our cooler, so we decided to sail home, it was a nice slow reach to Jericho.

Do you have any plans to go cruising this fall? If so, where do you plan to explore?

Fall is surprisingly our favourite season! Crisp sunny fall days, foggy mornings, rain, as some would detest! We’ve re-attached the windows on the dodger and patched up the vinyl with clear sail repair tape, so it’s ready for one more season. We are monitoring the pandemic restrictions this fall, and hoping to be able to do some weekend trips to Bowen, and to Wigwam Inn (another RVYC outstation) at the end of the Indian Arm. The previous owner installed an oversized Dickinson propane heater on the boat, so just firing that up to warm up the cabin and ready to dunk some cookies in some tea will be top notch.




Story Contributors

Lifelong Water Love Leads to Sailing Adventure headshot
Drew Mitchell

Sail Expert — Vancouver, British Columbia

Drew Mitchell grew up sailing at the Lunenburg Yacht Club in Nova Scotia. He has raced on and coached high performance one design for nearly 20 years. Drew races in the Melges 24, Farr 30 and the TP 52 PNW...

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