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Old 22-10-2010, 12:28   #1
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Location: Wandering the US Gulf Coast
Boat: 78 Pearson323 Four Winds
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Have Room for One More ?

Hello everyone,
It appears to me that this is the sailing forum I should join, so here I am warts and all. I’m very impressed with the quality of the dialog here, congrats to all involved.

About two years ago I began researching the possibility of getting on the water in a cruising monohull. Mostly Internet research (lurker style) that lead to the decision a Pearson323 would suit me just fine. During this time I would occasionally end up here after a Google search on some boat or topic that was being discussed. Seemed like good a place, but I wasn’t ready to jump on board yet.

This past June I purchased a 78 Pearson323 #127 named Four Winds (formerly Sophisticated Lady), and yes, I am falling for her. She seems perfect for me so far, and I intend to find the words to express why in the coming days. And also, I have two areas of inquiry that I’m sure the mind trust here will help me with. One, of course, is others' experiences and impressions of sailing a P323. The second is sailing the waters from Key West (my birthplace) up the west coast of FL to Mobile, AL and then on into the river system in AL, up the Ten-Tom to the Aliceville area near the Mississippi line. This area is about 80 miles from my cabin in the woods in NW AL. Currently I’m commuting between the cabin and my boat in Gulfport Municipal Marina in Gulfport, FL. If luck persists, I’ll spend the summer at my cabin and the Aliceville area, and winters in the South FL area. Future goals are to sail the Caribbean and surroundings if I’m blessed to do so. I wonder if I could join the Peace Corp and work on the coast somewhere and use my boat to travel and live there, that could be a dream of mine if my sailing skills develop to meet that challenge.

Feel free to post here about these two inquiries, but I’ll be starting threads with questions that might be more directed than general in nature. I’ve been out on the boat about 10 times now, and did my first offshore solo a couple of days ago. I’ve been lucky to have the help of a licensed Captain across the dock from me. Having sailed Hobies I had a good start, but also some things to unlearn that don’t apply to big boats. It’s been a blast, even if I was a major “two left feet” sailor on a mono at first. ( couldn’t find the trap wires for love or money)

Let’s see, …. Maybe a little more about me? I’m 52 years old, never married (!?!), 6’ 205lb, and gave up on my hair a couple of years ago, and shaved it all off. When I was a young teen I wanted to fly for the Air Force and then retire young and sail around the world. I was the kid that took everything apart, but I usually got it put back together. So I guess I’m a classic American gear head about cars and motorcycles. I’ve worked professionally on bikes, cars, houses, and airplanes (B-52s and F4 Wild Weasels, in the Electronic Countermeasures area) so I guess it’s high time I added working on boats to the list. I should add I have a degree in Architecture, but please don’t hold that against me. Until 2007 I was in Academia for the preceding 15 years. Eventually, it stressed me out, so I cashed out and totally changed my lifestyle. Unfortunately it took all my resources to eliminate my debt so I’m sure I’m in the running for the Poorest Sailor Award, I have spent the last of my meager assets on Four Winds and will never regret it.

So here I sit, gently rocking at the dock, dreaming and grinning about the future. Hey!, I can’t type and sail at the same time after all, I’m going out for a full moon sail later.

Thanks in advance for the warm welcome you folks are known for. And I will NEVER tell what type of anchor I use! But that’s my only secret.

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Old 29-10-2010, 02:07   #2
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Hey four winds...what a great intro, not sure what happened to the "warm welcome" we are known for, you sure didn't get one yet!
Welcome to Cruisers Forum.
Congratulations on the boat.
Do I understand correctly that you want to take her up the river?
Whats up with bridges...can the mast be steped easily?

S/V Arctic Lady
I love my boat, I can't afford not to!
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Old 29-10-2010, 02:40   #3
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Greetings, four winds! Sounds like you're positioned beautifully to take advantage of everything the sailing life has to offer It's great that you've fallen in love with your boat...there is more than one parallel between a relationship with your boat and a relationship with a person. It always starts off rosy and festive, then the warts start to appear, then you wonder why in the hell you decided to get involved in the first place. Life wasn't that bad before you met, was it?

But, like any worthwhile relationship, you'll get back more than you give by a country mile.

Great to have you aboard
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Old 29-10-2010, 04:26   #4
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Hi and Welcome to CF....
Can't help you any with your immeadiate cruising plans as I do not know the area...
but I can wish you every success....
may your dreams be your reality... Rock On..
“I do not exist to impress the world.
I exist to live my life in a way that will make me happy. ”

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Old 30-10-2010, 01:04   #5
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Location: Tarpon Springs, FL
Boat: Pearson 303 30' Grateful Sailor
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Hi Four Winds,

I can't speak from experience about the Pearson 323 but for the last 14 years I've owned a 1983 Pearson 303 hull 29, interestingly enough, purchased in Gulfport FL. Concerning sailing the gulf coast of Florida the number one hazard is water depth especially in the ICW. I learned this the hard way within 30 minutes of taking possession of my new boat. I strayed out of the channel and in no time at all was stuck requiring a call to Seatow.
Pearson built good strong boats and my only regret is not buying a larger one, especially now that within two years I'll begin cruising. I've already added dinghy, davits, solar panel, wind generator, folding bike, and increased the waterline two inches. I'm having a hell of time trying to figure out how to add a second solar panel.
Considering the age of your boat check the standing rigging. I recently found a crack in one of the lower turnbuckles and replaced all the rigging.
After all most 30 years it was time.
Next time you're in the area email me at Tarpon Springs is only 30 minute drive to Gulfport by car, nine hours by slow boat.

Take care,
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:27   #6
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Location: Wandering the US Gulf Coast
Boat: 78 Pearson323 Four Winds
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Thanks everyone.

I'm hoping the mast stays up for me on the river, JamesS. I think there is 50 feet clearance as far as I have to go up river, a few locks and RR bridges, etc. Something else to learn more about.

I do have a mast step to rebuild, and I'm looking forward to adding davits and solar panels also.

I haven't found the bottom yet here in all this shallow water, by mere luck most likely.
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:54   #7
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Yes, four winds, a great introduction outlining an interesting life! Congratulations on the new acquisitioin and on the smile it has evoked - sounds as if you have indeed found a new direction for your life.

Your mechanical and electrical skills will be huge plus as a cruiser and IMO, the Person 323 does indeed seem to be the perfect boat for cruising your local area and in future, off to the Bahamas.


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Old 02-11-2010, 12:12   #8
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WELCOME... I am Extremely Jealous...
If it were me. Id SELL the Cabin and put the money into Learning and the Boat.. all that time you spend Commutong, you could be on the water.. ;-)


Future Capt. of "TOBETTE" whatever she may be.. ;-))
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Old 23-11-2010, 16:37   #9
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Aloha and welcome aboard!
So many words in your intro that my head hurts. Since you were in electronic countermeasures I'd say thanks for your service. Lots of former and retirees here from all the branches.
Pearson 323 is a good choice and check the hull to deck joint for leaks when the opportunity arises.
Good to have you here.
kind regards,

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