Sunday, October 12, 2008

Boat (1)

We got home from the airport just a few hours ago. These last 3 days were about as much fun stuffed into one weekend as I can remember, but some of the details will have to wait. It is already getting late and I have an early flight tomorrow, so just the highlights while they are fresh in my mind.

First, a huge "Love you guys!" to Matt, Tiff, Campbell, John and Lara, who made the trip a delight. Matt and Tiff and their daughter Campbell (just a few months older than Catherine) even came with us to the show on Saturday. It was great to get their impression of the ones we liked and they let us use Campbell for "grand kid tests." She approved of all the boats, even climbing under the covers on a couple of the bunks to check out their suitability for a nap. Important stuff. It was also our first time to meet Lara (she and John are recently married) and I was completely charmed.

So what about the show itself? Fantastic if a bit smaller than I thought. The entire show sight would fit in the corner of Oshkosh, the National Business Aviation Association meet, or Sun-N-Fun (3 big aviation shows) and barely be noticed. Still, the docks were stuffed with sailboats of every description and supply vendors filled the tents on shore. Deb and I had plenty of hulls to mull over, and we climbed on and off of literally dozens of boats over the course of two days. Many of them several times. We met and talked with owners. We listened to sales pitches. We gazed at masts and rigging that made Nomad's look short and light. We saw RADARS and plotters, auto-pilots, fantastic interiors, engine rooms to make a mechanic's eyes shine and helm stations that promised adventure far over the horizon. Dock lines creaked, waves slapped gently at a multitude of hulls, the weather was perfect, and all the hardware as shiny as it could be.

Much to my surprise the catamaran vs mono hull debate lingers. We dropped one Cat completely from consideration as a live-aboard boat. (The Gemini 105 for anyone who cares). It was simply too lightly built and too tight inside. We would pick a 45 foot center cockpit mono hull first. In fact the center cockpit boats made a very favorable impression all around, and one was drop-dead gorgeous. (For $1.2 mil new it freaking well better be!) So we are now looking at catamaran v center cockpit monohull. (Aft cockpit mono hulls did fall pretty far out of consideration as well. When the weather goes interesting I don't want a monster sea that close to my ass. More to the point the aft cabin in a center cockpit boat is just amazing.)

But here's the main thing, all boat details aside. Of the numerous center cockpit mono hulls and Cruising Cats we looked at (less the 105) none would be a disappointment. I would call any of them "home" without a second thought; and would point each toward deep water at the first opportunity. For all the boats we lusted over it turns out the boat itself is not the thing. The thing is the going.

So a new debate has taken over from the boat debate. No so much "which" but "when?" Now we are sneaking up on the idea of picking a time, December of 2011 say, or July of 2012. (We haven't gotten that far yet.) When that day comes, put the house up for sale, dump whatever is left that will not fit on a boat, and then find a boat. Work up the list of "most lusted after" (more on that later) get the best boat we can for the money we have, and make it happen.

It is the one thing I didn't really expect to learn at the boat show.

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