"It's a close reach on starboard tack to Catalina," said Gerry Douglas, Catalina Yachts VP and chief designer, as I prepared to take his own 42-footer, Marley's Ghost, from Marina del Rey on the 30-mile trip. "Just don't forget to close the through-hulls on port tack." Soon we're out of the harbor, the sails are set, and everyone's relaxed. The wind builds nicely, and the kids take turns steering. When they get bored, I take over, and as we pull away from a bigger cruiser down to leeward off King Harbor, I start feeling smug. Approaching the headland of Palos Verdes, the wind shifts and lightens, so we take a short tack to clear the point. Gradually, the breeze pipes back up to 15 knots. That's about the time my sister-in law, Kyle, comes on deck and asks if the sinks are supposed to be full of water.