May. 14th, 2011

Gandalf

May. 14th, 2011 03:34 am
i_id: (Voyager)
So, April 30th, I happened to be checking my bank account and browsing craigslist at the same time. "Huh," I said to myself, seeing the price of the most recent listing in one window, and my balance in the other. "These numbers just about match." And then I saw what that price was attached to.

A 1974 Albin Vega 27.

A sturdy little blue-water boat already famous for being a handy circumnavigator the perfect size for a single sailor. In sailable condition. For less than $3500. The listing was barely an hour old, and I leapt on it. Called the man and left a message. He called me back, and after some scheduling mishaps, I arranged to come out and see the boat the next day. It was in Deming, a little town some miles Northeast of Bellingham.

I may be ambitious, but I'm still pretty much a boat novice, so I took Dad up with me to see this too-good-to-be-true boat, trying to rein in my hopes. I needn't have bothered. Despite having been up on sticks for somewhere between three and seven years, and lived aboard by a nonsailing family of three before that, the boat was in better shape than I could have hoped. Save one strange through-hole on the transom, I could stick her in the water today and sail her around, if the rigging is as sound as it all appears to be. She even comes with three usable sails, and an engine that turns over, which means it's repairable. The original 1974 engine, I think. The owner, an older man with a jack-of-all-trades sort of demeanor (thoroughly supported by the massive workshop on his property, the barn, the co-op school, and the 40' wooden sloop being used as a playhouse) even had all of her original paperwork, including manuals for both ship and engine. Honestly, my biggest complaint about the Vega is that wasps have moved in and eaten a great deal of the interior woodwork, which I would have been likely to replace anyway.

So I bought the boat. Not quite on the spot; he gave me a night to think it over (a night in which he received three other offers. I'm so very glad I put down my earnest money first), and I brought him a check the next day. He's been kind enough to let me keep the boat on her sticks at his place while I track down a place to keep her while I work on her, which I hope to do in the next few days. I like him. He's a little crazy, but he loves boats and keeps goats.

Her name is Gandalf. I'm not sure I'll change it. The dinghy will probably have to be named after a hobbit.


Pictures beneath the cut.  )

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