Saturday, March 7, 2009 – Hobie time

For years I’ve been itching to own a sailboat.

When we lived in Seattle I was a member of a sailboat club, took bunches of sailing lessons, could single-hand a 42 footer, etc. I chartered one of the club’s sailboats at least twice a month. One spring break I took the kids to Blake Island, about 10 miles south of the marina, out in the middle of Puget Sound.

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To keep from going broke (even renting a sailboat gets expensive if you do it enough – and I did it plenty), while we were in Seattle I bought a little Sunfish (and the trailer, and the dolly to move it around – almost going broke) and would take it to Lake Washington after work in the long summer evenings. Loads of fun – never looked back on the bigger boats.

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I finally sold it on eBay after we moved to Vancouver, Washington, where the only place to sail it was on the Columbia River. Pretty fast water – definitely cold water.

Fast forward to Florida. Warm water most of the year. Warm temperatures most of the year.

A couple of years ago I put a deposit down on a Catalina 27. Luckily I made the offer contingent on the results of a professional survey: the diesel motor was a wreck. Deposit returned.

Without a sailboat I would read books about sailing adventures and dream of the day.

Fast forward to last month.

I found a nice looking Pearson 26 located in Melbourne, FL, for a really excellent price. There’s gotta be something wrong with it. No way it can be in that good a shape, and have such a good price.

It was in great shape and the price was excellent. The seller was a really nice guy. But I just couldn’t buy it. After talking it over with Pam over a weekend it was still just not the right time to make that commitment.

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Last weekend we went to the causeway off Dunedin. Mike, a fun guy and one of Pam’s coworkers, has a old, but nice looking 12 foot Hobie. The wind was really whipping about 20 with gusts to 35 knots and we didn’t get to launch it. We had the sails up, ready to go, but are smarts took over. (Actually we were both scared to death, but we’ll never admin it. The next day we heard the news reports about the missing NFL players and their friends who had launched from a couple of miles from where we were. Tragic!)

But while we were there last Saturday a couple of small sailboats did go out. One was a guy with a Sunfish. He looked like he was having a great time – and I remember how much fun my old Sunfish was. And a couple of the other boats were Hobie 16 – they looked like they were having a blast. And I remembered how on Lake Washington one afternoon a Hobie raced by making me look like I was standing still – and I was doing 8 knots.

This morning I hopped on CraigsList. A 1986 Hobie 14 was posted on Thursday. Described as being in good condition with a decent trailer, at a good price. Not too far away from my house.

After puppy training for Healy I grabbed Zach and we went to take a look at the boat. Very nice. Sail in surprisingly good condition. I was able to get him to come off the price some (having cash in hand goes a long way), and it was mine.

We got home and Zach had to go to work.

Hmmm. 80 degrees. Light (but strong enough) breeze. I grabbed Alix and her boyfriend Jeffrey, and we headed off to the beach with the sailboat.

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It took us a few minutes to figure out how to raise the mast and get all the pieces in the right place. (After doing it a couple of times I should be able to do it single handed.)

Launching was a cinch.  We all hopped aboard, and in no time we were well away from shore, even in the light air. FUN!

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The cure for the big sailboat blues? A small, inexpensive sailboat. Something to call my own.

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