Tuesday, January 5, 2016

How I found my first sailboat..

I've had a couple boats through the years. the first one was K-Mart inflatable dingy; ok, so it's not really a boat, but it was mine - that was back in Tennessee during my late teens, a buddy and I used to frequent Steels Creek with it and go camping for a few days. It was a great way to get away and not be getting in trouble.. 
Later on got a rowboat, which spent most of it's time in the back yard, I think I used it a total of four times in a year. Seems I eventually gave it away. 
Not my Cobia, but real close.

Years later, here in Georgia, owned a 1960's 16 ft Cobia. It had a steering wheel, and an ancient 35hp Evinrude motor on it; had a lot of good times with that little boat, and it was surprisingly dependable.

Actual Photo
Somewhere down the line I bought an old beat up cabin cruiser for $250 from some local barfly, don't think I ever knew what make. Never got it registered either. It was about 20 foot, it was our "party boat", and a real junker. Kept it about a year or two, and it had a tendency of getting us stranded in the most inconvenient situations,.. reluctantly had to sleep in it for the night on two different occasions. it was very temperamental. That was about 25 or so years ago, It was the last boat I had.

I've been dreaming of getting a sailboat for at least ten years now.
Every year I would tell myself "I'm going to get one this summer"; But year after year I'd squander my cash flow away on whatever current whim of a hobby or interest was grabbing me.. Well, either that, or I'd simply drink it away.
But this year was a little different..
I had been searching sailboats on ebay, and craiglist, and other boat-for-sale resources for months.
Summer was ending, and along with it, my income was to dip to almost zero for the winter.. I only had about $2500 saved, and that's supposed to get me by till next spring, which is next to unfeasible. I knew I couldn't afford no boat.. Nevertheless, I was determined to get one anyway.

To conform with my price range, it would likely be a fixer-upper to say the least, and though I knew I was being foolhardy, it still was a realistic goal. Cheap, or even free sailboats turn up all the time. But finding one close by is another story altogether.
Exactly like my old camper!
My aim was for something in the 30 to 32 foot range. Small enough that it wouldn't need a crew to handle, yet roomy enough to compare with the old 69 Ford camper I had about 25 years ago.. (I had a major fondness for that old RV, and during that time frame was the best years of my life, but that's another story which has nothing to do with now.)

But anyway, that's what I wanted; an RV on the water, self contained and comfortable... Liveable; should I need it. - There's have been times I did. --But with that being said; allow me to emphasize; It had to be a sailboat. I want to sail.
Ultimately, I didn't get what I was aiming for, but did get what I wanted. I got a big sailboat in a small package.

It was September 15, 2015 when I first saw the boat in an ad on Craigslist. It was within my price range, and was only about 80 miles away, plus the description sounded like it had been tended to and didn't need any major work - Unfortunately, it was too small (or so I thought):

1976 Grampian sailboat for sale! Comes with mainsail and jib, bimini frame, anchor and short chain rode, various cushions with new water resistant, UV resistant fabric. New cabin sole and bilge pump installed. Running lights and spreader lights wired in as well as various cabin lights. Deck/hull joint has recently been re-bedded with 3M 5200 and new stainless bolts. Keel bolts seem to be in good condition. The boat sleeps five with a convertible double bunk in the main cabin, a vee berth and an aft quarter berth. Boat is located on Sapelo Island but can be brought to Darien for potential buyer. Can be delivered to Blue and Hall Marina, just north of Darien.

26 foot didn't seem to me to cut it, though in the pictures it didn't look so small.. and slept 5 people? In a 26?.. This puzzled me, cause I had recently looked at a 24 foot sailboat that was right here on this island (can't recall what it was now, a Pierson maybe?) It looked to be a great deal. It was clean, had nice sails, a 9.9 motor, and a glossy aqua color- and he only wanted $1500!, -But it had no room! It was tiny inside and I had to crouch over, and there was nothing to the cabin. I liked the look of it, but it could not possibly meet my desires, so I passed.
And now here's this one on Craigslist that's only two foot bigger? I don't think so.. a misprint maybe?. But then I googled it, and looked at a hundred pictures of other Grampian 26s.. and read.. and researched some more over the next two days..
Then I emailed the seller..

And that's how it all began...

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