Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Finding "Pilgrim"

We had been searching for months for the "perfect boat", one that had everything that was important to us but was in our price range. It sounds easy, but when you get serious about purchasing the process becomes very stressful. Oh we always found the "perfect boat" but it always seemed to be too far to travel to look at (we needed it to be in Texas) and there is always the question; how to get a 27-30 foot sailboat to Palacios, when there is no trailer? I would say that 90% of sailboats that are bigger than 22 feet do not come with trailers, the manufactures deliver them to some port on a lake or bay, put them in the water and that is where they stay.

After 100 emails, phone calls and even one Letter of Intention, we had an appointment to see a 1983 Catalina 27 TR named "My Girl" slipped in Lake Ray Hubbard just east of Dallas, TX. We left the next morning with directions in hand, 2-twelve year olds and the hope that she will be the one, not a disappointment because sellers seem to stretch the truth.

It was a very sunny day and of course it was hot, with it being July in Texas. The wind was 5-8 knots with gusts of 10 knots; pleasant but not enough to make it cooler. We looked over her inside and out, while the boys fished from the docks. David has his items he looks at and I have mine after the look over we agreed to take her out for a test sail.

Now comes the fun part, we start the engine, throw off the docklines and motor out into the middle of the lake. The seller raises the main and then comes back into the cockpit to unfurl the headsail, as soon as this is complete Dave moves the tiller to harness the wind and shuts off the engine. All you hear is the sails luffing, because there is no wind. Really? No wind, that is just our luck. David and I sit there looking at each other wondering where the wind went and how we are going to test sail this boat with no wind.

It seemed like forever, but the wind came back, stronger than before because a thunderstorm had popped up to the east moving straight for us. Distant thunder got closer, it got dark and here we were in an unfamiliar boat on a unfamiliar lake. A wind gust heeled the boat way more than I am comfortable with and my "fight or flight" kicked in and I was done, I wanted off, NOW! David on the other hand was just going with it, pushing the boat to see what she could take. I was not amused at all.

We finally got back to the docks, we looked at each other and said, "She was the one!" Yes, I freaked but she was a stable, sturdy boat and did great with the +25 knot winds.

Papers were signed, money changed hands and "My Girl" became ours.

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