There is a period of time where I’m busy. Either working at my day job, or working at my night job - which is the boat. We move the boat out of the yard off the hard to YachtFitters where we can start work. Later we move it back to the boat yard to have the mast stepped. We get the boat into Shilshole before a planned weekend trip on July 4th. Something comes up to sidetrack the trip (hard coaming, soft female shin.) The boat spends a few days at my slip. Then on July 7th the boat goes back to the ship canal and YachtFitters for the next round of work. Then after a while, the boat is back to my slip and a few sails. Then more work. Then more work. Then more work. A few sails (Quartermaster harbor, Port Ludlow, day sails.)
Finally its time to take 11 days off and go to the San Juans. Its about time!
Splashing the boat for its first time on the west coast!
Ballad/Luckness, the boat with the name Ballad on her sides but known officially as Luckness arrives in Seattle from Annapolis. There were a few moments where I needed to satisfy myself that this boat I just plunked down a chunk of money for was really the one I wanted - had I spent enough time in Annapolis looking her over? Had I missed anything major? Did I really want a Pacific Seacraft 37?
The more I spend time on this boat, the more I like her.
I found Ballad on www.yachtworld.com. This site is full of boats for sale, across the world. Big boats, small, motor boats and of course sail boats. The site is known as Boat Porn by those who spend too many of their waking hours pouring over the listings, trying to find their ideal boat.
Ballad was listed in Annapolis. This would mean a long and expensive trip across the country for her, Annapolis to Seattle. I had already visited a boat in California and passed on it. Ballad looked good on paper. An offer was accepted on May 9th and then my broker Ray Neglay and I traveled out to Annapolis for the inspection. Ballad was in great shape. She needed some work, but it appeared nothing major. The deal was on. Long story short, Ballad became mine on June 3rd and was renamed on paper to Luckness. Luckness/Ballad arrived on June 22nd in Seattle.
The day the boat arrived was my last free day for a long while. Every day I would be involved in either a boat project or preparing for one. I took three days off from mid June to my vacation at the end of August. The work has paid off, the boat is getting into better and better shape. The work seems to be never ending, but the satisfaction is high. There is an awesome boat in my slip. Its mine! That still seems a little surreal to me.
The boat lacks many of the features needed by the cruiser: auto pilot, wind vane, wind generator, water maker, dinghy, solar panels, and the long list of other essentials (*). But it does have a deep heritage and enormous potential for adventure. Its not large inside, but its quality through and through.
The first time I sailed this boat was in Seattle: light winds, 10 apparent on the beam. We hit hull speed of just over 7 knots and things were sweet. This was on the first sail from YachtFitters on the ship canal, through the locks to Shilshole. There was a short excursion out onto the Sound as that's the most logical way to get from the locks to my slip when the winds are good.
Many thanks to Ray Neglay and the folks at Seacraft Yacht Sales, as well as Terry and Justin at Yacht Fitters who have helped in many ways. More on those folks later.
(*) re: essentials. People sail around the world safely with seaworthy sailboats setup with the most basic equipment. In that context, Luckness is almost ready to go, some form of self steering is needed (autopilot or windvane.) I will likely be single handing my boat which is made easier with some additions to what I have now. I'm also a bit of a gadget freak, the things you can outfit a cruising sailboat with is awesome. As is the amount of money that can be spent on doing this...