|Amazing October skies on the east coast|
When you look at boats for sale online, you can bet that the owners and/or brokers have spit shined the hulls, varnished the teak, polished the brass and added throw pillows to the fluffed cushions. The photos are shot on gloriously sunny days with canopies of blue sky. Often, some of the listing photos are from the seller's personal archives; beauty shots of reflective hulls on glassy water in secluded coves at sunset. It's broker boat porn.
|At anchor in Key Biscayne, Florida on my step Dad's Cape Dory 31 Heiress|
The boat we traveled East to see was plenty pretty, and the broker said she had been sailed hard, and far, and had the gear to prove it. She did indeed have the gear, and she had recently completed a bit of a cosmetic face lift, which - for me - backfired a little. In contrast with the new shiny, her bones seemed weary. Among several things I noticed, all her top sides had a topographic map of hairline cracks, and her cabin showed too many signs of fatigue. We felt uneasy about the contrasts in her presentation, and we had a gut-feeling that this wasn't our boat.
|The line to get into the Annapolis Boat Show|
|The Beneteau boat section at the Annapolis Boat Show (Oct 2011)|
Annapolis is beautiful, and even though it was October, we strolled the docks in shorts, enjoying sunny skies and 70 degrees. The show was packed elbow to elbow and the crowd was clearly international, because we heard languages we couldn't identify. Each boat manufacturer had a floating, carpeted, covered dock, encircled by a selection of their boats, and a pretty posse of polo-shirted sales staff, passing around slick photo brochures to entice every sailor to step aboard and start dreaming.
|A beautiful Hyla 56 at the Annapolis Boat Show (Oct 2011)|
|The Tartan booth at the Annapolis Boat show (Oct 2012)|
The lure intoxicated us. Even though we never set foot in the Hendricks Gin booth where a Pretty stood outside the tent, hawking cocktails for show attendees, we felt drunk with boat bling. These were not the boats we imagined buying and sailing, and they certainly cost more than we planned to spend.... but daaannnnng, they were so roomy and new and designed for comfort. You could really take your family sailing with you on one of these beauties, with seating and beds for everyone. We started to wonder.... maybe we should re-think this. We went to dinner and talked about our original plan and pondered the what-ifs of buying a new boat. We went back to the show the next day, and looked at the boats we liked again. We left with a bag full of glossy brochures, price lists and spec sheets, marked in pencil along the margins with all our notes and questions.
I flew out of Annapolis to see my family up north for a few days, and Don flew back to California for work. Our months-long plan felt like it ran aground on a sandbar. We needed time to marinate on what we saw, compared to our original vision for this journey. We were both overwhelmed.
|Don, sitting on a Bavaria, feeling a little saturated with boat bling.|
To be continued....