Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Back in the U.S.A.

I survived the land of cold and rain (Halifax, Nova Scotia), and am back in Colorado. Now the job is to decide whether to purchase this boat or not. In my case, this involves conversations with lots of people lots smarter than me, which is my usual method of preparation for a large purchase.

I was very surprised how out of my element and unsure of myself I felt when first on the boat. I had forgotten how to be on a boat in the 7 years since I last lived on one. But just a few hours of sailing in a very protected harbor started to fire those synapses and wake up the dormant muscle memory. I spent Sunday night on the boat, with the owner, and by the time I woke up I was starting to feel a little more at home. I could begin to see past the owner's stuff piled everywhere, and the cosmetically unfinished projects, and the nicks in some of the wood, to find the solid, capable boat underneath.

This boat was originally an Allied Princess, built in 1978. The current owner has made a lot of significant changes, primarily changing from a ketch rig to a junk rigged schooner, and replacing the diesel engine with an electric motor. These changes come with costs (everything on a boat is a compromise), but I believe the benefits outweigh them in this case.

The boat will need a significant cleaning effort before we move in, and some trim should be replaced. Almost everything would look better with a good sanding and a nice coat of varnish. I'd like to remove the headliner, insulate as much as possible, and replace. The change to a junk schooner meant there is now a mast in the v-berth (sleeping cabin at the front of the boat), which makes it unusable as a sleeping area. There are plenty of other places to sleep on the boat, but if we want to use that space we'll need to do some carpentry to move the bed back a few feet. That's on our list of things to do as well.

Fortunately, all the changes are minor in nature, as the boat is strong, seaworthy, and ready to sail as is. I have gone through a serious roller coaster of emotions, and with lots of encouragement from family (though less from friends, interestingly) I am feeling pretty good about this boat. Jenn and I will be debating in detail this week, and will make to a decision we feel is best for us.

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