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A Unique Way to Travel: Onboard Vacation By Jack Mooney


fter a three-year cruise from Sausalito, CA, to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Sandy and I toured most of the U.S. looking for a place to settle down with our Challenger 32, Utopia, nearby so we could continue the cruising life when we felt the urge. We wanted to return to the West Coast as we had most of our family in California and Oregon, but we couldn’t afford to live there. So we decided we would live in Florida and visit the families every couple of years. That worked okay, but we found that we had to limit our visits to three days, as families had to get back to their normal life. We wanted to spend more time in the area where we had lived and worked most of our lives without being a burden on relatives and friends. In 2013, we decided it would be best to buy a boat to live on for the summer, and if the family members wished to use it we could leave it for future trips. I phoned the harbormaster at the Richardson’s Bay Marina in Sausalito where we had lived on Utopia for eight months while converting it from a bay boat to a deepwater cruiser. He remembered us and said it would be $11 a foot plus a liveaboard

fee. I also checked for used boats and found many for sale for fewer than $10,000; that we could handle. We had cruised Utopia Too, a Westerly Centaur 26, for six years, so we knew we could live on a small boat without problems. We also thought we could take family members and friends sailing on San Francisco Bay. We might even find a future sailor we could train among our grand kids and great grandkids. So we drove to California and stayed with my sister in Pinole where we are always welcome. In a couple of weeks we found a 1970 Columbia 28 that was in great shape and exactly what we were looking for. There were two available. The one we chose was at the Vallejo Yacht Club, where it had spent its entire life with tender loving care. Its name, Getaway, was so appropriate that we did not have to change it to Utopia III. The price of $2900 was low, because it was outboard-powered, and inboards are usually preferred. That was exactly what we were looking for, as the reliability of the engine is the highest risk in buying older boats. We had a diver check the bottom and renew the engine

zinc, and we were good to go. Before we left the marina, we got towing insurance and a handheld VHF, then went to Home Depot to get a microwave and other items. After shuttling our car to Sausalito, we released the dock lines and headed Getaway to her new home. When we arrived at our prearranged dock, our lines were caught by a couple of men who had been our marina mates 20 years before. Thus began a great summer. As usual, families were too busy to visit much. But we did take the other son Paul and his girl friend Linda out sailing, as well as the oldest great grandson Morgan and his girlfriend, who were both seasick. There went my dream of finding a new sailor among my descendents. We visited many friends and even walked to the center of the Golden Gate Bridge to watch a couple of the America’s Cup qualifying races. We could almost look straight down on the starting line and the weather mark. Mark and Paul arranged a lunch for my 87th birthday at Quinn’s Lighthouse in See UNIQUE continued on page 84

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December 2017


Profile for SOUTHWINDS Magazine

Southwinds December 2017  

A free, printed sailing magazine reporting on sailing in the southeast U.S: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missi...

Southwinds December 2017  

A free, printed sailing magazine reporting on sailing in the southeast U.S: Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Missi...