After we got home from looking at the Mac 26 in Wilmington, Eric got online and found a new boat he thought we should look at. It was a Hunter 23.5 and there was a nice one for sale in Sanford, about and hour and a half drive away from his house or mine. He made a date to look at it the next day.
With the kids in tow, I set out, stopping on the way to fortify them with bacon cheeseburgers from McDonald’s. (I know, I know, bad, bad mother.) We had a good book on CD going, and with food in their bellies, the ride was conflict-free. There was a slight hitch with the map and directions, I somehow got going the wrong way on the road in question and Eric, who was coming the opposite direction from Durham, beat us to the guy’s house.
Eric was literally jumping up and down waving his arms at us next to the boat, which was parked on the trailer in the backyard of Greg’s brick ranch house. They had the mast up and were getting ready to hoist the main. He invited us to climb on. The stern of the boat is open on the port side with a swim ladder for easy access either on land or in the water. Nice, I thought.
It was about 5pm, just before dusk and the mosquitoes were out in full force after all this rain we’ve had. I killed two or three before I climbed aboard. First thing I noticed, which Eric pointed out, is that the hardware is much more substantial than the Mac. I helped hoist the sail and admired the jiffy reefing. I noticed the boat also had roller furling on the headsail, something I’d never experienced and was skeptical about, particularly with a trailerable boat. I eyed the forestay with a critical eye and asked Greg if it was ok for it to be bent. He said it was ok, but didn’t seem to want to go on about it. He said it would probably be best to store it flat and it had been stored with the mast and got bent.
Inside, I was impressed with all the space. The V-berth looked roomy and the aft berth even roomier, except possibly with less headspace than the Mac. It also had a two-foot storage area under the port side of the cockpit with a rail. Nice. A tiny sink and one-burner alcohol stove comprised the galley and a small removable cooler fit in a niche under the settee. I liked all that too. I don’t think the Mac had cooler space. I was very surprised to find this a nicer boat than the Mac. After seeing the Mac firsthand, I thought it was the one. But this boat actually seemed even better and it was two and half feet shorter, which is a plus when you are paying for storage or maintenance by the foot.
The only hitch was the price. Eric said he’d already come down on the price, which was substantially more than we had planned to spend. However, we agreed that this boat didn’t need anything, except maybe the optional marine GPS. It was ready to sail, in great shape and we loved it. Everything about this boat was crooning to me. Eric heard it too and even the kids agreed. “Can we buy this one?’ They begged, trying out the raised seats at the stern.
Not wanting to say anything in front of the owner and slapping mosquitoes like a maniac, I retired to the car with the kids. We drove to a Chinese buffet where we marveled over how much we loved the boat and the price while the kids ate plate after plateful. Buffets are great for tweens who seem to able to eat their weight in food. George ate fifteen sushi rolls and went back for dessert. He only weighs about fifty pounds dripping wet but he’s obviously having a growth spurt.
There was no doubt. This was our boat. All that remained was for Eric to look at some comps to figure what was the lowest reasonable offer and make it. And of all her great qualities, this boat was unnamed, so we get to name her. I’ve been told it’s bad luck to rename a boat and we’d looked at some with some really stupid names (Wind Guzzler stands out) so it was a thrill to be able to name this one something just right. We’re brainstorming names, so feel free to suggest one. As long as it doesn’t contain the word “Guzzler.”