A Sailing Newbie

20 October 2008 | Brooklyn, NY
20 November 2007 | Brooklyn, NY

In the Beginning

20 November 2007 | Brooklyn, NY
How is it I came to be a sailor? I am 59 years old, out of shape, and I've never been on a sailboat larger than 12 feet; never mind actually sailing one. So what made me go out last December and buy a 28 foot sailboat? After all, it was an RV that I was looking for. I wanted to see the country. Someone incorrectly placed an ad for a boat among the RV listings in Craigslist.com ... and that started me thinking, "Hmm, gas prices are going through the roof, and you have to pay to park that big rig RV anyway; so why not a boat ... why not a sailboat?! Sailboats don't use that much gas, do they?"

If you are not familiar with craigslist.com, you should go to your browser and visit their site right now. Its like a garage sale in your neighborhood, full of ads for everything from household goods to autos, job ads to personals, even free for the taking stuff, all in your local area. I found several boat ads that caught my attention.

The first was for a Catalina 27 that was in sail away shape. The owner was an editor for a power boat magazine and his boat was loaded with interesting devices that the manufacturers gave him for review. Priced at under $10,000, she looked very attractive; but I made the mistake of going to see the second boat, a 1975 Newport 28 that had seen better days, and the minute I saw her, I knew she was the boat for me.

My first look at the Aloof was an experience in itself. The owner had told me he couldn't be there to show me around, but the lazerette wasn't locked and I could get in that way. "Lazerette??" "What's a lazerette?" I was already coming up short on sailor terminology. The lazerette is a hatch in the seat on the side of the boat's cockpit, okay? It measures about 18" x 36" and I just fit. Well, I was motivated and I got in ... getting out would be another story.

The Aloof needed some TLC, new cushion covers, new radios, a new engine. Even though I knew she was not in as good shape as the Catalina, I felt that refitting this one would be half the fun of owning her ... and would provide an education in managing and maintaining a sailboat. I needed that education more than I needed a turn-key sailboat. On December 28, 2006 I paid the owner $2,000 as payment in full for the Aloof and her winter storage fees and the rest, as they say, was history.

Vessel Name: Aloof
Vessel Make/Model: Newport 28
Hailing Port: Brooklyn, NY