Friday, March 3, 2017

And so, now what?

Hello, friends- If you're like me you've read hundreds of sailing blogs, asked the "what's the best boat?" question dozens of times and ordered cruising guides, charts and boat stuff for decades. Life has been lived, choices made and yet, the dream persists. My marriage was satisfying, my children wonderful and smart, my career successful- and then the world changed.

I'll try not to rehash common ground, but the theme is probably universal. Best-sellers have been written, motivational speakers made wealthy, and dreams dreamt. "What color is my parachute?" "How did I get here?" "Is this all there is?" After the meltdown, I rebuilt the essential things, a happy relationship, a home that I love, work that is enough and have dared to revisit The Dream.

I fell in love with sailing on Long Island Sound in a twelve foot long styrofoam boat called a Sea Snark. One sail, unsinkable and, for that time and place, sufficient and satisfying. The ability to harness free energy and move more or less where I wished was amazing. The sea was large and my boat was small. And the smiles Oh, so large. After a time at Yale doing a postdoc I moved on to UMass Medical School for a fellowship and took my large disposable coffee cup to Lake Quinsigamond, a long narrow lake just down the hill from the lab. During long incubations I would drive the van down to the park, drag the little vessel to lakeside and learn about tacking, gybing, running and wind. The wind always was coming down the lake I was trying to go up, so lots of tacking.

Bliss on the water, bliss in the lab and bliss at home. After one winter in a triple decker in Worcester, we bought the cheapest POS shack in Massachusetts, shoveled the detritus out, tore down walls, installed various housekeeping necessities and moved to our Shack in Swamp. The swamp was the shoreline of Turkey Hill Pond and the shack was a summer cottage originally built in the 40s. The Sea Snark came with us and lived down on the beach. Happy summer days sailing on the pond, watching my buddy Dave sail on the pond and many more smiles. My oldest was born into that home and attention shifted from boats to baby Boyd boys and career. A year later, the lab moved to NYC and the Sea Snark was left on the beach. We lived in a 38 story apartment complex on the East River while I completed an exciting scientific result and started developing a new research direction while enjoying NYC and looking out on the boats passing our apartment... Boats in Minneapolis followed, then Tacoma, owning, chartering, trying catamarans, but mostly puttering on the O'Day 25 in Commencement Bay. Then the beach house where the boat was on the mooring, but mostly more of an accessory than a focus.

Career disappointments, new directions, success and retirement at 44. The sailing plan was presented and dismissed by my life (sic) partner and 3 children. Re-initiated the career path, lost a ton of money in the GR and found a new and happy life with a great girl. She had sailed earlier in life but we had, of course, not sailed together. We bought a small daysailer that we kept at the beach house and realized we were bigger, older and less enthused about ducking the boom. Then moved to Phoenix and lived a happy semi-retirement on a golf course looking at South Mountain.

And again, a young man's thoughts turn to boats. As you may know, Phoenix is in the desert. The nearest good cruising ground is in the Sea of Cortez. We visited a little beach town of San Carlos last year about this time a year ago and fell in love with it. Cute, Mexican, drivable from Phoenix, but no airport so not tons of Americans. Two nice boat harbors and seemingly lots of sailboats for sale. The hunt commenced. We looked at a number of boats. Our criteria were 1) inexpensive 2) cruise safe, 3) heavier.

Cutting to the chase-

We have settled on a Pearson 365- I am going to Florida this week to look at, and probably buy ISTANA. Istana is a 1978 36 ft, "classic plastic" boat. We'll see.

"Even our son Eric who grew up sailing performance dingies, sails Hobies and has raced on boats such as Mumm 30's, Beneteau 367's J22's on up to J40's and even Farr 40's thinks the Pearson is cool. He is sold on the ketch rig because he can single hand the boat alone or take a group of friends out sailing that haven't a clue what a sail is and handle the boat with out their help.

The boat is a comfortable stable platform when company is aboard and very predictable. She is built to last and built to take it. Accommodations are pretty darn good for a 36 footer of her vintage and most of all a 365 is for me anyway... affordable."
-An online review of a Pearson 365.

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