Once Upon a Time
06 April 2014
The above photo is Cadenza sailing into the Channel Islands Harbor, 2012.
April 1, 2014
Once upon a time, in a faraway land called Taiwan, there was a shipyard. Actually, there were probably many shipyards, but this one was in the city Kaohsiung where Bill Hardin was building his yachts through his company, Hardin International. This is where Cadenza's story begins.
She is number 25 of 160 (or thereabouts). At 38,000 lbs., she is a heavy boat with a full keel and a wide beam at 13.5 feet. She was “born” in 1979, a Bounty (Voyager) 44.5, but now has grown to measure 51' overall. The Bounty Voyager is the version designed between the Bounty 44 and the Hardin 45. She is a a staysail, cutter rigged ketch with a fiberglass hull, wooden masts, and a center cockpit. She has teak decks and a beautiful, quite spacious, wood-carved interior. She draws six feet.
It is 2014 now and to date she has had three very different incarnations.
Named Mar y Vent (Sea and Wind) by her first owner, she must have been truly loved as he traveled with her many nautical miles. We are uncertain of all her voyages, but have heard that she sailed through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific Ocean. If only she could talk, I imagine Mar y Vent would have great tales to tell.
Her second incarnation, as Mercury One, was not so romantic. Rumor has it that a couple bought her and outfitted her to travel the world. They left California, sailing south along the Baja coast. Things must not have gone well, because once they arrived in La Paz, the couple split, leaving Mercury One to sit on a mooring, waiting for someone to claim her for their own. This is where Jay first saw her; in the bay off the malecon in La Paz.
It was 1992 and Jay had spent many a month searching for just the right boat to sail the Channel Islands. The seas and wind can be quite tumultuous around these islands and he knew he wanted a heavy boat with a full keel that could withstand the Pacific's many moods. And at six feet, Jay also wanted a roomy interior. One where he could stand upright and be comfortable.
The more he researched, the narrower the list became. Finally, Jay had a only a few favorites on the short list; a Downeaster 45', a Vagabond 47', a Westsail 42', and the Hardin. Ultimately, he found what he was looking for in the Hardin. Although I am fairly certain it wasn't love at first sight. At least not with Mercury One.
Jay's broker had sent him down to La Paz with the key to, what would become Jay's next boat, Mercury One. Excited, he hired a gentleman with a panga to take him out to the boat. He dropped Jay off with the promise to return in an hour. However, it wasn't long before the drama began and Jay was hollering for the man to come back.
The first thing Jay saw when he opened the hatch and stepped down into the companionway was an open box of flour, sitting on the counter in the galley. Inside, there were roaches having a feast, and at the sound of a human on board, they began scurrying about, climbing out of the sack of flour and around it. Evidently, someone had left in a hurry. Roaches weren't a pleasant sight, but not a big enough problem to deter Jay from investigating further. It was when he opened the forward compartment door when the real trouble began.
Jay was inspecting the integrity of the thru-hulls. He opened an access door in the forward head under the sink only to discover that the pressure of the door was what was holding the thru-hull stem in place. Enter a one and a half inch stream of water. Hmm, now what? With nothing but his hand to stop the flow of water, he ran topsides and began yelling for the man on the panga.
There were several moments of chaos, but they panga found an old paddle which they broke in half to plug the hole. It wasn't long before Jay was on the phone, making an offer the owners couldn't refuse. After all, he said, “If I leave it, it will probably sink. But, I would love to save her, if you are willing to make a deal.” They were willing to make a deal.
So maybe it was love at first sight, after all. And now, twenty-two years later....
We have brought her back again. To La Paz.
Jay christened her, Cadenza. Being that he is a composer and a sailor, Cadenza is a fitting name. When I asked him what that meant, he told me that the cadenza is the part of a concerto when it comes to the end and the soloist gets to play freely.
Perfect, he thought. I agree.
I have known and loved Cadenza for over ten years now. It has been a great journey that I hope will continue for many more. I have often said Cadenza reminds me of a thoroughbred. When she is at dock and the tide is running and the wind is blowing, she pulls back and forth on her lines. Is that the wind and current forcing her along? Or could it be that she is like a race horse, bucking and biting at the bit, anxious to get out of the gate, start the race.
And then, once she is let loose in 17-20 knots of wind, she really gets in the groove. Again, not unlike a racehorse that has her legs stretching out in long strides across the hardened earth, so too, does Cadenza's hull gallop the seas.
You must think I'm crazy; comparing a boat with a horse. Maybe. Maybe all sailors are a little bit touched with their passion and love of the seas and their boats. In fact, my intellect and heart are debating right now. Intellectually, I know Cadenza is an inanimate object, made of fiberglass and wood. But my heart tells me she has spirit.
I'm going with my heart.