It’s all my Uncle Pete’s fault. Back when I was around sixteen years old, my Uncle Pete bought a “C” Class Scow to their house on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin. Uncle Pete was always making dubious “buys” – this was probably no exception, and I prefer to remember it fondly. But ….. it did get me interested in sailing. Off and on throughout high school and college, whenever the opportunity was presented, I hopped aboard a sailboat for a ride.
I am a mechanical engineer involved in the boat building business since the early 1980’s, on both power and sailboats, big and small. The headaches, trials and tribulations I experienced during those years made me swear I would never own a boat, NEVER. Then on April 30, 2004, my good friend George sold me his 1986 Starwind Model 233 sailboat. We are still speaking.
My lovely family (two young daughters and a very ‘tolerant’ wife) and I sailed aboard the Starwind for a couple of summers. Being a light, centerboard trailerable it was a very tender boat, giving angst to the ladies as we heeled first to 10° and then to 30°. I think it was Sharon who said that if we had a boat that wouldn’t heel so much, she would feel better and less nervous while sailing. The Starwind, without having been given a proper name, was sold in 2007.
On the 23rd of July 2007 the papers were signed for the second boat I would never have, a 1989 Ericson 28+ sloop that we named NEREUS, after the Greek sea god who could change shapes. I’m sure there was a good reason for that name choice. It was wonderful – it had a built in head, a small galley and dining area, was in fairly good shape and sailed well, but ……….. when we heeled first to 10° and then to 30° ……. We enjoyed many nice times hanging out at the mooring, sipping on a glass of wine. And a few times out sailing together.
I, being the clever guy I am, who ignored the “It’s not about the Nail” video, figured that if we had two hulls, i.e. a catamaran, the boat would sail flatter and Sharon would be the happiest woman in the world. Sharon did say, after all, she does not want to live at 30 degrees. I didn’t say I was observant.
March 29, 2013 “we” became the proud owners of a 2006 Leopard 40 Catamaran, complete with all the features one could comfortably enjoy while living aboard for an extended time. Did I mention we still have NEREUS, on the hard at my shop? Can’t have too many boats, you know. It’s for that day when I may want to return for a good hard heeling sail. To be sure we stayed on the good side of Neptune, with the apropos libations, we de-named her and re-christened the L40 as FifthQuarter, a fitting name since Sharon and I met in Madison, WI while in college. For more on that, read http://www.uwbadgers.com/trads/fifth-quarter.html.
FifthQuarter was built in South Africa and sailed to here on her own bottom. She is a structurally very sound vessel and has never been in the charter trade. She has been, however, neglected and needs a lot of TLC to bring systems into proper function and remedy other issues. Did I say I have been in the boatbuilding business for over thirty years? Some of that acquired knowledge should come in handy. The summer of 2013 has been a lot of that – it is, after all, a boat.
Now, in 2013, the plans set forth four or so years ago are coming together for that retirement cruise. Did I mention Sharon might be on board with all this? So, from this day forward, this blog will be more about “we” rather than “me”. Unless it comes to fixing something, then it most likely will be me.
Join us to see where this venture takes us.
Dave and Sharon