Craig and Sharon are digital wizards. Craig holds a Ph.D. in computer science and spent most of his career building and designing software for high-performance computers. Sharon is also a retired software engineer.
Craig and Sharon came to sailing later in life than many in our Balance family. They were invited by a few friends to go sailing on the Chesapeake Bay in 2013 and quickly fell in love with the sport. This lead them to purchase a Saber 36 CB monohull in 2015 and compelled them to do a few bare-boat charters in the Caribbean on both Fountaine Pajot and Catana catamarans.
With a waterfront home in Annapolis, Craig and Sharon will be blessed to have their Balance 451 sitting right in front of them all day. This will enable them to sail her for just a few hours if they wish, or to venture out for weekends and then perhaps – long term – to places more distant.
When asked why they decided to order the Balance 451, Craig shared with us the following:
“A number of things particularly attracted me to the Balance 451. My wife and I both love the “full visibility helm station” that can be totally protected for foul weather. And after having sailed on charter keel catamarans, and recognizing how poorly most of them sail to windward, I knew I wanted dagger-boards. I also wanted the strong, yet very light weight construction of the 451 – the appeal of being able to sail a catamaran that really likes to move, both upwind and down. We really enjoy sailing and sluggish catamarans are just not nearly as much fun to sail. The first time you hit 14 or 15 knots on a 451 you’ll know what I mean…”
“It was also important to us to sail in very light airs, which are common on the Chesapeake Bay. Phil and I discussed this at length and Phil suggested that we make my rig a bit taller. The standard 451 rig was designed to clear 65 foot inter-coastal bridges, but since that was not essential for me raising the rig made sense. Selden Spars did the re-engineering in consultation with Roger Hill and then worked closely with Bob Pattison at Neil Pryde Sails to create a “powered up” 451 for the very light airs we so often encounter sailing on the Bay. All the above said, for a boat of her size, speed, and power, the 451 is very easily reefed and managed. The first two reefs are a single line system that works like a charm, a system Selden has quite perfected over the years. The 451 is truly a boat one can easily single-hand if required and this is important both for pleasure as well as safety.”
“I would also add that Roger Hill’s reputation as a naval architect was quite important to me. He has vast experience designing catamarans for the very rough waters of New Zealand and knows how to engineer a boat to last. He’s a real sailor’s sailor and designs boat for voyaging, not chartering. I am, after all, trusting my life to his design and the quality of the engineering and build. Finally, Phil has been great to work with. He has spent a lot of time with me explaining the boat and his passion really shows through in everything he does.”