It has been a long time coming and I've kept my mouth shut as much as I could because that is just my way. I guess I like surprises - good ones at least. While this is, arguably, just a change and the goodness or badness of it is still in limbo, I'm anxious to play this out and see where it takes me.
She is a 36 foot ketch built by the original Bill Dickerson of Chesapeake Bay. At 13,000 lbs she is not that heavy but not light either, and should prove to be a solid cruising boat for the coast of Maine. My real concerns are both her and my single-handing abilities.. especially since she is a ketch and therefore a more complicated rig than your average sloop, and a bad performer to windward comparatively. I'll certainly be dragging some crew out with me for the foreseeable future.
By keeping things simple, she offers a lot of space and storage and very few complicated systems to break and cost money. There is no refrigeration, just an icebox on the starboard side at the top of the cockpit, and there is no running water, only hand-pump faucets. She is equipped with a 28hp 3-cylinder Yanmar Diesel, fully overhauled only two years ago, so at the very least I'll have the option of motoring out of any trouble I get myself into.. if it starts. She has an aft-cockpit with wheel steering (something I am still coming to terms with - while part of me likes a wheel, I know that there is much to be said for a tiller when you're single-handing and a wheel is a more complicated steering mechanism in the end). At the end of the day I think it is a truly great fit for me, if a little on the large and costly end of things.
She isn't all simple, of course. She is decked out with PFDs, flares, fire extinguishers, and all the safety equipment you'd want for local cruising. She carries a GPS/Chartplotter, depth finder, radar, and VHF. Hopefully we'll be spending more time watching the waves than the screens.
The biggest problem of all, of course, is her greatest asset. She is a beautiful old wooden boat. Her hull is mahogany strips over an oak frame with an oak stem and long-leaf yellow pine keel and chine. The deck is marine ply and the masts and booms are sitka spruce.. She is all wood, through and through, and maintenance will be a bitch. Built in 1965 (1962?) she isn't a spring chicken anymore, and upkeep is going to be quite labour intensive. We'll see if I can rally myself for this sort of work and, if I can't, ladies take note; it might be a strong indicator of the fact that I am not ready for any other large commitments (especially of the diaper-changing, up-all-night crying variety - not that anyone is hoping I am).
If you'll take notice, the transom is bare of any name. She was previously Galatea
but now will have a new life with a new name.. nothing is decided, however, and I welcome any and all suggestions. I'll offer a free bottle of liquor of your choice (within a ~$25 price tag) to any who offers up a name we end up slapping on the back of this boat!