It had become a short lived but well loved annual sail to St. Michael's post Thanksgiving, but this year we find ourselves without a sailboat and making due keeping busy with family, friends and "boat porn".
First off, you ask "boat porn"? What? Yes, it's looking at boats for sale on Yachtworld and dreaming... Of course our looking involves the broker who sold CALIX and getting his emails every now and then with potentials. It just so happens that he sent an email this past week which has piqued our interest.
But first the annual sail that didn't happen this year. The first year was 2011 and it was cold and I said to Brad, let's sail to St. Michael's for the rest of the holiday weekend. He wasn't too excited about it, but as we left the dock with the sun on our faces, he realized how silly his objections had been. He recalls the day basically like this, he's dating his dream girl and she wants to go sailing - duh, go sailing man. That trip was when CALIX was in the Kent Narrows so a short hour plus to get down Prospect Bay into the Miles River.
We did it again in 2012, this time from CALIX's dock in Annapolis. The sail takes a good solid 4 hours and we usually had the Bay to ourselves minus any shipping traffic. Although it might be cold outside, down below in the cabin, the diesel heater kept things toasty warm. Either that or we would snuggle up with Haydn on deck. He loved being on deck for these cool passages. The trip last year was memorable in that we had recently discovered our favorite, and still is, Bloody Mary mix, Charleston Bold & Spicy, so we enjoyed a few of those drinks for a short lived sail back home on Saturday, which we decided was silly so we turned around only minutes from the dock and went back and tied up. The determining factor was the 20+ knot headwind, why bother fight it, we could deal with it on Sunday. The errands could wait until after work during the week. What were we thinking??
Great memories and more to be made on the next boat! And that brings me back to the looking and the recent email. The "we're not going to buy a boat right now but let's hear more about it..." So it's an X-Yacht, a 412 and she's up in MA. Our broker sent the listing and some pictures and we asked a few more questions. Then Brad sent an email to Ralph Naranjo for a little more information on X-Yachts in general. Brad knows Ralph and I had the pleasure of meeting him and eating lobster together during the Maine Cruise this summer. So, we're off to a good start with a thumbs up email: I like the X- Yacht line up of performance cruiser/racers. They are well built and have a euro design trend that eliminates the nonessentials and retains the value of good craftsmanship. The X-412 has a SA/DISP ratio that affords good light air performance while still offering the righting moment and foil shape to get you up wind in a hurry. She's a well made sloop and worth a close look.
Then Brad shot off another email to our friend Mark (the owner of TONIC that we just did the Bermuda passage with), who knows a heck of a lot about boats having taken his various boats over the years on many a passage. Mark got back to us with a bunch of questions, more like an off the top of the head list of thoughts. At that point, I was compelled to review the list in depth and added a few notations myself. As of this log entry, an email is in our broker's inbox and awaits hearing back some time this week.
I've read through the 412 brochure, it's an older model, but not "old". At this point, my first thought is just about the overall length - I am sorta pegged on 44' being the smallest for the simple reason of being comfortable at sea. I know how a 51' handles and well... that was a Swan so yeah... On the flip side, she'd be easy for the two of us to handle, wouldn't require as big an expense to be docked as did CALIX, could be raced, and best of all, CALIX is name ready for an X-Yacht.
So while we sat at the ever lovely Robert Morris Inn only a few short months since we were there last for the log canoe racing in late August and eating our fantastic Thanksgiving dinner with family, the back of our minds were full of questions about whether we might have a boat next year for the St. Michael's sail...