I’ve been rather preoccupied lately by a major acquisition we made a few weeks ago… we bought a nicely maintained used boat and have dedicated most of our free moments here recently to getting it prepped for summer use.
Is it the boat we dreamed of getting? No.
Is it a catamaran? No.
Does it at least have a sail? Yes!
It’s a 1986 Pearson 303 masthead sloop that we spotted down in Deltaville, Virginia, on Memorial Day.
I know, I know, I’ve been extolling the virtues of a catamaran — specifically the Gemini 105Mc — since I started this blog last fall. What the heck am I thinking!
Well, we were actually pursuing a used 2006 Gemini 105Mc prior to this, but it would have been a real stretch for us. We had the funds for a down payment and could have afforded the associated monthly costs related to it, but we would have been seriously boat poor. And to make matters worse, about two weeks before we were going to move forward on the Gemini, we had unsettling news about some of our retirement investments. So… with the economy being what it is and our economic future on somewhat less firm ground than it was a month before — we felt very much compelled to slam on the brakes, back out of the Gemini deal, and reconsider our options.
What to do… what to do…
Both of us felt like a little something in us had died when we let the Gemini go, even though it was the absolutely correct decision for us to make. Yet… not getting out on the water with a bigger boat was killing us. We thrashed around with all sorts of ideas, but kept coming back to getting out on the water with something… anything! We came to a tentative agreement that if we were to buy a boat, whatever it was had to be cheap, couldn’t be a project boat, had to be cheap, had to appeal to both of us, had to be cheap, had to be safe and reliable, had to be cheap, and had to have as shallow a draft as we could afford. Oh yeah… and did I mention that it had to be cheap?
That’s a mighty tall order.
We immediately ruled out looking at anything around the upper Chesapeake Bay, because the deals we were seeing advertised were all much more costly than what we wanted to spend. I was initially pushing hard for something like a used Catalina 22, thinking that it would be enough for us to sleep and eat on, and it had a very primitive head — so it would be the sailing equivalent of tent camping on the water. We’ve camped in conditions like that and worse since we got married 21 years ago, so I figured that would be perfectly fine.
But, no. Cindy was having none of that.
Next I found a bigger 1981 Cape Dory 25 that was in serviceable condition for $5,000. What a deal!
Still no. Cindy was holding out for something bigger and better.
So I suggested that we drive down to Deltaville, Virginia, and nose around at the used boats being offered at Norton Yachts. We had wanted to see Deltaville after having read so much about it being the sailing capital of Virginia, much like Annapolis is the sailing capital of Maryland. And we were familiar with Norton Yachts from the fall boat show and had seen some great deals on used sailboats in the monthly ads they had sent to us. So away we went!
We looked at a bunch of used sailboats that day, but the one that really jumped out at us was Shearwater — a 1986 Pearson 303 that was beautifully maintained, in great condition, and priced to move. Yes, she would need some tender loving care before we could take her out sailing, but she leaped to the top of our list as soon as we looked at her.
We didn’t decide right then, but after we had left Deltaville and were well on our way home, Cindy said, “Let’s pull the trigger on Shearwater.”
Now that was a wonderful drive home.