Tag Archives: sugar shack

What’s Inside Sugar Shack?

We have posted bits and pieces of our beautiful home in each blog, but I am not sure we have ever dedicated a blog post to showcasing the interior of Sugar Shack.  So, why not now?  As Matt loves to say “pourquoi pas?”  I will try to explain as much as I can without putting you to sleep so if you have any questions, please send them in the comment sections.

You board Sugar Shack by either the port or starboard sugar scoops.  A sugar scoop is the nautical term for the aft (transom) which has “swim steps.”  It is easiest to board on the starboard side as we have hand holds and cleats to tie off guest dinghies.

On the top step is a hatch that leads to each engine room.  The engine room is large enough for Matt to work all around the engine (front, back, sides).  The front is a little challenging to get to as he has to lay across the top of the engine to get to it, but he manages.

The Cockpit

We can operate all of the lines and sail the boat from the cockpit.  The only time we have to go forward, while underway, is when we launch or take down the spinnaker.  Most of our life is spent in the cockpit: happy hours, passages, reading, dining, and hanging out. 

The beautiful teak table opens up and doubles its size easily seating 8 people for dinner.  In addition, the table itself is storage for most of our fishing gear and tackle.   

There is also storage in each of the floor hatches.  The one under the table has a spare outboard, spare anchor, drogue, and lots of other “stuff.”  The other hatch has all of our snorkel gear, cleaning products, boat towels, and drinks.

We have “pockets” installed to hold miscellaneous stuff that tends to muck up the cockpit (lines, hoses, scrub brushes, etc…).  You can see here that all the lines come to the cockpit.  The main electric wench, main halyard operates back stay, 3-foward reefing lines, 3 aft reefing lines. The two smaller wench handles operate the dinghy lines and main sheets.

Of course, we have our two helms on port and starboard.  The starboard helm is the “main” operating helm as it has the engine controls. However, both helms have instruments, autopilot controls, and a steering wheel to operate the boat.  We take lots of photos from the helm looking out and at the helm.

The Salon

There is a large glass door and glass window that remain open 98% of the time. The exception is when we are away and/or asleep.  This lets the outside in and brings the two areas into one. (upper right photo).  The salon has super soft alcantera seating in a U shape that allows for fun movie or game nights.  There is lots of storage under each of the settees (cushion seats) for our house batteries, canned goods, pots, pans, inverter/charger, etc…

The inside table also flips open and doubles its size.  This is a great place to do our sewing projects.  Under the table is another storage unit for glasses and a few select liquor bottles.  And below that is a large drawer for large, paper maps and charts.

Navigation and Control Center

The nav station where we set our course, monitor conditions, and operate the boat while underway.  It is the heart of the boat while navigating.  However, the heart of the monitoring is our CZone control panel which tells us everything from battery state and amp usage, to controlling “everything” electronic on the boat.  It is the main control panel.  We have it in triplicate.  You can access the control panel here or on Matt’s ipad or on the small control panel in the master suite.

The Galley (Kitchen)

The galley faces aft (back) which is great as it allows the chef to chat with guests in the cockpit.  We have a decent oven (smaller than U.S. ovens), which allows me to bake until my heart is content.  We have a 3-burner propane stove, a 200-liter refrigerator (which can also operate as freezer) and a 100-liter freezer (which can also operate as a refrigerator).  Storage above each counter and below the sink.

Portside Hull

The port side or guest side, has two cabins and a shared head (bathroom).  The hall is full of tons of storage on each side of the hallway.  We have one tool cabinet, one towel cabinet, one foul weather gear cabinet, 1 tupperware cabinet, and two pantries. 

The port head is rather small but functional.  We usually have our guests shower in the master head or off the back of the boat.  The shower in this head is the sink faucet which pulls out.  It just tends to get everything wet.  Not a big deal as it is meant to be all wet, but really its just easier to have guests shower in the large head or off the back of he boat.

The aft cabin is a special option by Catana where it is called an “office/cabin.”  You can set it up as an office with a double bed or you can fold up the bed (to twin size) and use the cabin as an office.  It too has lots of storage behind the bed, under the floor boards, under the bed, and to the side of the bed (another pantry behind the curtain).

The forward cabin is the most comfortable guest cabin as it has a huge escape hatch that lets in tons of air, another large window, a closet, and a storage shelving unit for clothing.

Starboard Hull

The starboard hull is the “owners’ cabin” which means it only has one cabin, lots of storage and a huge head (bathroom).  It is another option Catana offered.  This is where you can clearly see I have “nested.”

Most of the décor is from the islands, but some I brought with me from the U.S.  Yes, I have put double sticky tape on most of the items so they don’t fall over while we are underway.  We are a catamaran which means that we are more stable than monohulls, but we are still a sailboat and $hit can go flying.

The hallway leads to the master head which is large and airy.  We have a full stand up shower (which is separated from the toilet and sink by a curtain).  This is a luxury as most heads are one space (like our port side).

The hallway has tons and tons of storage.  We have 3 cabinets for hanging clothes, set of shelves for Matt’s folded clothes, another cabinet for my folding cloths, 2 cabinets for electronics and a washer/dryer.

Under all of the floor boards is more storage.  We keep our medical kit, emergency evac bag, dried goods, spare liquor, milk, juice, filters, here.  In addition, the water tanks can be accessed from the floor boards.

Exterior Storage

We also have lots of storage on the outside of the boat.  At the mast, or the center of the boat we have 4 compartments.  We have two fuel tanks (one for each engine) and two large hatches.  We store our dock lines, spare fuel tanks (gasoline and diesel), extra anchor chain, main anchor chain, exterior hose and more in these two areas.

Each bow peak also has storage.  The starboard bow peak stows our 3 spare spinnakers, 2 lounge chairs, 2 bean bags, luggage and noodles. The port bow peak stows all of our fenders, anchor “pearl” floats, passerelle (gangplank), spare cushions, spare ceiling panels, and life jackets.

Sugar Shack

Our beloved Sugar Shack, a Catana 471 has been an amazing sail boat and home for us.  We have enjoyed being her 3rd owner for the pat 10 years and look forward to many more years and tons more miles under the keel.  I’d say the reason I love her most is because she is a sturdy, well-made, strong, safe boat.  This boat makes me feel safe while underway and comfortable while at anchor.  Sugar Shack offers tons of storage, wonderful air flow, and modern conveniences without compromising her performance.  She points well into the wind, she handles big seas amazingly, and she still looks great for being a 20-year-old broad.

More fun photos

Sugar Shack looking down

Looking down Sugar Shack 

Lounging on the bow tramp

Lounging on the bow tramp

For more photos of Sugar shack visit this link.

We are blessed to be able to have this experience and to live on Sugar Shack.  Thank you for coming along our journey with us.  Stay tuned for more fun adventures.

You can check out other Catana 471…most of these are newer than our boat, but still gorgeous.  These are friends of ours.

A Mother’s Day Celebration in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is absolutely beautiful, green, lush, and full of friendly people.  We have enjoyed walking around the various towns (Jaco, Quepos), meeting “ticos” (locals), and seeing the wildlife.  It has been a fun adventure. We are thrilled we could share it with Matt’s mom, Monica.

Mother’s Day – 13 May 2018

We met her at the Croc’s Casino and Beach Resort and enjoyed some chat time before we headed to Poseidon Restaurant.  Matt and I had made reservations the day before so we were all set to enjoy our Sunday brunch.

Costa Rica celebrates Mother’s day in August. As a result the place wasn’t terribly crowded. It’s a cute little place with the seating and bar inside and the kitchen outside.  Very tasty food!  We ordered a chicken Caesar salad, Tropical salad and eggs Benedict with mimosas of course.

Our yummy meals from Poseidon

Our yummy meals from Poseidon

The day Monica left, we enjoyed a nice lunch by the pool along with some frothy drinks.  I had a Miami Vice, have you heard of that before?  It is 1/2 strawberry margarita and 1/2 pina coloda.  Perfect mix.

Cocktails by the pool to celebrate with Monica.

Cocktails by the pool to celebrate with Monica.

Matt and I found this beautiful bowl made out of Brazilian wood that has become our fruit bowl on the boat.  Important to realize, I bought this in Costa Rica and they were bragging about it being Brazilian wood.

My beautiful bowl bought in Costa Rica made from Brazilian wood

My beautiful bowl bought in Costa Rica made from Brazilian wood

They have several of these stores around town which just crack me up – Fruity Monkey Poop.  Obviously, it is a cafe that sells tourist items.

I forgot to post this photo during one of our tours.  They have wonderful art like this all around Costa Rica.   This is a beautiful bus stop.

Costa Rica art at its finest

Costa Rica art at its finest

In Costa Rica they make fences using cut down trees.  After awhile, the trees start to grow again.  The horses and cows eat from the tree fence while being confined to the pasture.  I took these photos from a moving van on the highway, can you tell?

Little blurry, but tree fences are prevalent all around Costa Rica

Little blurry, but tree fences are prevalent all around Costa Rica

We had many lovely sunsets while anchored at Bahia Herradura.  The top image is the sunset and the bottom is the view of the Los Suenos Marina at night.

Sunset at Bahia Herradura and a shot of Los Suenos

Sunset at Bahia Herradura and a shot of Los Suenos

Coming up Next

Sugar Shack was struck by lightning while we were celebrating Mother’s Day with Monica.  We will be working on repairs for the next several months. With this in mind, we will not be posting about the incident until it is 100% resolved and behind us. Thank you for being patient.

Big Cats, Monkeys, Birds and Waterfalls: La Paz Nature Preserve and Waterfalls

Our tour continued after the Doka Coffee Plantation.  Oscar, our driver drove us an hour to the La Paz Waterfall Garden and Nature Preserve.  Originally, we were all excited about the waterfall tour, but as we entered the facility, our interests quickly shifted to the animals.


The tour started in the bird aviary where toucans, pavas, scarlet macaws, grosbeaks, and many others fly freely.  This aviary is a refuge for wild birds that have either been captured illegally by hunters and confiscated by the government or donated by owners.  Many of the birds lack the basic skills to survive and the wild on their own.

La Paz Water Garden and Nature Preserve

La Paz Water Garden and Nature Preserve

Butterfly Observatory

Is an enclosed structure that allows over 20 different species of butterflies to soar freely.  We mostly saw the blue monarchs, but they were all gorgeous.

Butterflies surrounding me with joy

Butterflies surrounding me with joy

Flora everywhere

There were an assortment of breath taking flora around the park as well.

Flora at La Paz

Flora at La Paz

Hummingbird Observatory

La Paz boasted of a monkey, hummingbird, and snake sanctuaries as well.  The monkeys were just not as exciting as the ones we met in the wild, but still fun.  The hummingbird Garden was beautiful and offered a rare chance to see these skittish creatures in front of your face.

Can you see the beautiful green breasted hummingbird below?

Beautiful Hummingbird Enjoying Nectar

Beautiful Hummingbird Enjoying Nectar

Casita De la Paz

Is a reproduction built using only the tools available to the average farmer a century ago.  Inside they offered fresh cow milk cheese and hot tea.  Matt joined me for a photo op with an ox-driven cart, even though we passed on the joy ride.

Casita La Paz

Casita La Paz

Jungle Cats

One of my favorite stops was the jungle cat exhibit.  This is the newest exhibit and it is considering temporary at the moment.  We saw Ocelots, jaguardundi and Margays.

Big Cats at La Paz Sanctuary

Big Cats at La Paz Sanctuary


Monica and Oscar took the van and drove around to the bottom of the falls where they met us after our hike.  The walk down the waterfalls was a 45 minute walk down hundreds of stairs which would have been too challenging for Monica.

As Matt and I began our descent, we quickly came across the first waterfall called Magia Blanca Waterfall which was 120’ tall.  This trail took us through the La Paz river along the rainforest showing the diversity of the plant and wildlife.

The other two waterfalls are Encantada Waterfall at 65’ and Escondida Waterfall at 10’.  They were beautiful and refreshing.    We had a little fun with each of them.

Waterfalls at La Paz

Waterfalls at La Paz

It had been a really long day.  It took us 2 hours to drive back into town where Oscar dropped Matt and I off at La Puesta Del Sol and took Monica back to Croc’s.  We had a quick beverage, caught our water taxi back to the boat and were unpacking as another boat stopped by.

Manu Kai is a beautiful 56’ catamaran that is part of the Panama Posse.  They invited us over for a cold drink to share stories. Super nice family, Thor and Tanya with a 16 year old son, Tristan and 12 year old daughter Sienna.

All Day Tour Included:

  • Transportation (2.5 hours each way)
  • Breakfast
  • Doka Coffee Plantation
  • Lunch
  • La Paz Water Garden and Nature Preserve
  • Stop at a tienda to buy fresh strawberries, local cheese, and blackberries