Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Story Begins ...

Seamew Sail #63
After three years of living on a 23' sailboat with 4 feet of headroom and nowhere to go, I finally had enough. Ok, the winters did it. Talk about cabin fever! Can't stand up, can't walk, can't play the guitar -- just stuck as on an eight hour flight every day after work. So the search began in March for a new (to me) boat.

I do, however, love the Seamew. She is unique and has real character -- not just another production snot (fiberglass) production boat. With a mahogony on oak frame and mahogany trip, when in good nick she is a beaut. Keeping her up to snuff has proven to be more than I can handle. I need to keep her out of the water and undercover for part of the year to protect the finish and reduce maintenance.

I had been looking online for a couple of years, just to dream. Now, despite the recession, I find my finances are in better shape than they have ever been -- as long as I remain healthy and employed; two factors over which I have no control and thus do not worry about. I decided on a price range between 10K and 20K. My needs were clear. As a livaboard I wanted enough headroom to stand upright, the ability to walk a few steps, enough room to practice the guitar and the violin, a toilet and an oven. A shower, a gas oven, refrigeration, hot water and a cabin heater would be nice as well. As a sailor I wanted a shallow draft boat, between 30 and 35 feet, that was capable of cruising the Chesapeake and the short offshore stints associated with the intracoastal waterway.

Aurora: Pearson 323
I eventually found a 1978 32'  pearson that met the bill, was the right price but needed considerable work. I made and offer, had her surveyed and all went well -- except the motor would not start after having sat for a year and a half. My one condition on the offer was that the drive train prove viable as while I don't mind restoring systems and fiberglass work, I did not want the significant expense of repowering a boat right away. Surprisingly there was NO moisture in the hull and deck and she had most of the system I wanted in a  livaboard installed. The hull was a veritable ecosystem of critters, however, and would require s significant amount of work. The deal fell through after months of stalling when I finally spoke to the contracted engine mechanic and discovered that there was a problem with the injection pump. That was a deal killer. So off I went looking again. Fortunately I had a a backup ...

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