Margaret Mead, a well known sociologist once said, "we need seven different spouses in our lifetime" and although I am not a sociologist, I do think we need at least ten different sailboats during our sailing career. I have bought ten new boats over the past fifty some years, each for a different need or reason. I think Margaret would have been proud of me.
I have lived entirely in a profusion of boats and boating
area--the Pacific Northwest
with its many sounds, bays, coves, islands marinas
and beautiful shorelines. One cannot help wanting a boat as I did when I first starting teaching in 1956. My wife and I, both in our early twenties, bought a Cal
20 and we sailed from one end of Lake Washington
to the other, from one end of Puget Sound
to the San Juan Islands
. We had a one burner portable stove, and water
by the gallon containers. A compass
. We didn't know better and had a grand time.
The next boat five years later was a Pearson
27 and we got all our money
back on the Cal
. The Pearson
was basic, didn't have anything and we had to buy sails
and a bow pulpit as we went along. For me it was a terrible boat--she and I never got along. So we traded it in (for our purchase
price) on a Ranger
29 (with an inboard engine--wow!) and we cruised farther but I also started racing
. Got to go faster so we traded the 29 in (full credit) on a Ranger
32 (three quarter ton measurement rule) with 7 winches, and at one point eleven sails
. It was truly a race
boat. But that boat didn't like me but it loved my wife. She taught sailing on it for my university for three years in the summer. PE 407. But it was not a cruising boat and we live in a wonderful cruising area so we sold it, a bit of a lost
. She was sad, I was happy.
We found a new boat on Lake Union that had a very low price
. Turns out it was a Septre 36 that had been reprocessed from a marina by the bank. The bank just wanted its money
back and we obliged them. Really nice boat, great sailor and perfect for crusing and racing
but it was hull
number one and things just didn't quite fit. Later versions of the boat were beautifully made, but not this one. We kept it five years.
Our next boat was the Hunter
Legend 40. The dealer took the Scepter in for full price
once again (remember the price had been low) and he said we'd make money if we chartered the Hunter
40. Irrationality fell over my eyes and we bought it. It was a great sailing boat but even better charterer. People like it....and they broke stuff. I did learn how to fix just about anything but I began to dislike the boat. Another divorce was in the makings. At the end of our five year chartering contract
we turned the boat in for almost full price on a Hunter 32, really a cat boat with a small jiblet. Very nice boat inside but i couldn't get her to sail. And it was terrible at races, we always came in last. So once again, we traded it in (for full price) on a Hunter 35.5. One of my all time favorite boats.
The 35.5 had a bulb keel
with wings and we could not point worth a darn but we were always near the front of the fleet and the marks. And downwind we were exceptional, passing boats on port or starboard. Once in the five years that we had her we won boat of the year against good competition. She was a fun boat to sail.`
But my first mate died that New Years from a stroke and my wife and I decided to go back to cruising. So we traded the 35.5 in on a brand new Hunter 380 that the dealer had just got in. Hunter by this time was really putting boats together well and they were well designed. The Hunter 380 became one of my all time favorite boats and we cruised on it extensively. I had gotten tired of racing and I wanted to cruise
, but I wanted to cruise
in comfort....showers, hot water
, ease of sailing with a roller furling
main and jib
, open stern (ease of getting in the Avon--I was getting old); it was a wonderful boat, a floating condo and we kept it for nine years, the longest we ever kept a boat. I bought it for 129K and sold it for 121K. It had become too big for me; I couldn't jump down to the docks to tie her up like I had when I was younger. Age was catching up to me. But I still loved that boat. We cruised the San Juan Islands
, the Gulf Islands and Desolation Sound. In fact the first day of my retirement
was in Nanaimo (BC, Canada) at the Dinghy Dock
Pub. What a celebration!
But as I mentioned the 380 became too big for me and I was getting into single
handling. So we order from the factory a 2009 Hunter 27 which fits my needs perfectly. And Hunter discounted the new boat for being a loyal customer. It has the sugar scoop stern for easily getting on and off, furling
main and jib
(and I have the incredible WinchRite power adapter for doing all the work), a marine head
, a Webasto hot air furnace (needed in the northwest), custom made companionway
doors, and like the last two boats, a three blade Max prop. I looooolve that prop. I power better and smoother, I back like I'm going forward, and I sail faster.
I'm in my eighties now and I still use the boat several times a week but in winter we don't leave the dock
. It is my man-cave. I listen to music
, read on my iPad
, nap (I'm an expert at napping). Sometimes we have drinks on board before going out for dinner. It has a two burner stove but I only make coffee or tea.
For now this is the best boat of all times for me. Margaret, you were correct, I needed more then seven spousal boats, but then I changed a lot over eight decades. I'm not the same guy I was when I was twenty one. It is also interesting how much boat design and building have come over the years. Yeah, I do have my eyes on a new boat but I doubt if I will buy it. My present boat fits my needs.
I hope this provides a different viewpoint. Ten new boats over my lifetime. And we either took a small loss or in some cases actually made some money. It has been fun.