So here we are. The San Juan 24… ‘Whore of the Sea’ carried me through a spectacular summer, fall and winter of 2006. I met a great girl. We sailed and spent weekends on the lake, sailed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Cut to summer of 2007 and change is in the air. The boat…not the girl.
I had always intended to sell the ‘Whore,’ the boat, not the girl… and now I had an offer. I wanted a bigger boat. One that would take me out on the ocean with confidence. A craft that was built to take the pounding of the ocean and my San Juan 24, while a fantastic craft, was a racer. She would not do well in a big blow at sea. Plus, she had little room for storage and no proper head… that’s toilet in boat speak. In June of ’07 I watched the truck and trailer take that whore away. I have to say I was a bit conflicted. NOW what? No boat. I only got 4K for her and after all the work, I probably broke even. None-the-less… now I could get a “big boy” boat. Or so I thought. I knew how expensive “big boy” boats were and I had nowhere near enough for one. But… I read, researched and compiled. I had long lists, short lists, pros and cons. Fact, fiction and conjecture. I drove my new found girlfriend absolutely mad with boat talk. Ask her. I still do. Never-the-less, I had my eye on an Alberg 30. Now I could go off on a tangent here and tell you all the world class stories about this famous boat but I won’t. Like I said before, you can Google and find out all you want. Back to the A30. Such a classic. So well designed and SO expensive… scratch, scratch, scratch… That’s the sound of me scratching that boat OFF my list. That activity gets repeated quite often until my list contains about 3 boats that I have a realistic chance of owning; A Westerly Centaur 26. A Pearson Triton 28 and a Tartan 27. None of these, mind you, considered “Blue Water” boats by most. And while all have made impressive voyages with modifications the Tartan 27 was designed and built as a racing / cruiser in her day. A very heavy racer I might add. Turns out they way over-built all these boats but by now… all of these boats would be about 25 years old and very long in the tooth. But what’s a boy to do. Buy what you can pay for that’s what. But I’m a ‘Romantic!’ I’m not practical, pragmatic, pra… What? Wait this is America damn it! Loans! Equity! Borrow! Borrow! Borrow! Nah. Not my style. I like projects, under-dogs…
My criteria for my next vessel was pretty detailed but mostly I wanted a well built boat, under 30 feet with a keel that drew less than 5 feet. The deeper the draft the deeper the water you need under the boat. Anyway… I ended up going after the Centaur 26. A bulky, not attractive and not a particularly good English boat that are rare in the U.S.
OF COURSE I DID! I couldn’t pick the “dime a dozen” boat. I had to go for the quirky British boat. Fat chance of finding one around here… Nashville… excuse me! I’d have a better chance of finding Paris Hilton a job than a Westerly. A Kardashian sister that was still a virgin… with a job.
I found one. 20 minutes from my house… but it was sinking. I know what your thinking. But it was sinking. I had to write that, it rhymed. I didn’t buy it. I tried…. but he turned my offer down. Thank God. I found another in Key Largo, Florida. I flew down, met the guy… the owner from Long Island and soon discovered that the photos of a PRISTINE Centaur 26 were taken oh, 5 years before. He posted photos that were taken when he bought the boat. The boat I saw was a sun baked, paint peeling, canvas rotted bucket of shit. Every time I pushed a button or wanted to see something work he said something like, “Oh, that’s awesome, it’s just not hooked up yet.” “Oooh, I love having that on here but I just need connect that wire.” “I’d start the motor but one of the belts is missing and blah, blah, blah!!!!” I was pissed. I said, “You’re kidding right? You have to be fucking kidding me. I had conversations on the phone with you… I flew down here, got a hotel, rented a car and this… THIS is the boat?!” Needless to say, he didn’t accept my offer. Granted it was just a middle finger… I think he expected more.