Sunday, March 8, 2009

Road trip

This weekend Deb and I celebrated our anniversary by making an impromptu road trip to check out some sailboats. Such trips have been a staple of our 34 years married. Part of our family lore is having bags packed and at the ready, and nearly any excuse is good enough to get us out the door. This weekend we had a couple of excuses that were better than average; anniversary, nice weather, and a Gozzard 36 for sale at a place we had never visited.

Green Turtle Bay is a very nice resort / marina a few miles south of Paducah, on the Kentucky and Barkley Lakes. It is deep in the area devastated by last winter's ice storm and we were stunned at the damage done. I have never seen anything quite like it; thousands of trees just knocked over by the weight; thousands more with limbs sheared or trunks simply splintered. For hundreds of square miles roads, rail roads, camping areas, homes, backyards, and fields were covered with uncounted millions of tons of debris. The songs of chain saws filled the day Saturday and will fill many, many more before the work is done. Even then it will be years before the forests recover.

The area around the lake, though equally damaged, is still a very pretty place. Pretty but a bit odd. It turns out Kentucky Dam lies in a dry county. (Two massive lakes in a "dry" county. Ours is a very strange language.) There is something fundamentally uncivilized about a place where you can't buy a Rum & Coke to go with dinner.

The Gozzard is (as regular readers here know) on our short list of mono-hulls. But we have never actually set foot on one so the chance to step aboard a real live example was not to be missed. As often happens with such trips serendipity played a part and the owner, (who actually lives only 5 miles or so from our house in St. Louis) was in KN this weekend as well. He was only too glad to give us the grand tour and share his stories of cruising the Gulf. It turns out he used to belong to the club in Boulder and one of his old boats, a 30' Catalina named Paradise, is tied to a slip not far from Nomad.

Details are details but the Gozzard may well be on a short-short list, though Deb and I both agree that 36 feet is about as small a mono-hull as we would like to consider for full time living. Even though a tad short it was a very cool boat with a myriad of well thought out little details and first rate workmanship. And "tad short" applies to just the inside. With a 6 foot bow sprite and dingy divots the overall length of the Gozzard 36, stem to stern as they say, is just shy of 50 feet!

After a night in a very nice one-bedroom condo overlooking the marina we headed back to St. Louis via Boulder and some time spent on Nomad. (We didn't mention the Gozzard while on board.) The winds were howling today, at times gusting past 40 knots. All the boats still in slips heeled over in unison; leaned on by the enthusiastic breeze. Halyards were set to clanking all over the yard. A friend's home-made boat box lid proved no match as it was pried open, ripped from its hinges and sent spinning into the water between the docks. I fished it out with a boat hook as it floated by since it has some sharp metal edges and I'd hate to see it gouge another boat. I'll return it later.

Deb and I did the normal stuff to care for Nomad while being careful to keep hats (and bodies) from taking a similar dip. Working around a rolling boat with lines strung all over to hold on covers; it would be easy to miss a step or catch a toe and end up wet, cold and embarrassed (or worse). At the end of the afternoon we kind of crashed in the v-berth for a while. It was pleasant indeed to be curled up together, safe on board while the winds whipped overhead, feeling our little boat rock against her lines and bump her fenders against the dock.

In fact it felt like home.


Grandma Kim said...

Did you see the blog link on our site - Life in the Village? Ryans dad builds boats.

T gramps said...

Kim, I checked it out. It looks like house work is pretty common these days, I recognized the tile saw setup from when I did the entryway and fireplace. Those are some pretty cool boats as well, though I think 100 feet might be a little longer than Deb and I want to try!