My last article on looking for a new boat after selling our much loved Ovni 435, Pèlerin, was written almost two years ago to this day.
Two years of searching and hoping, two years of fleeting highs and subsequent crashing lows.
It was beginning to look like it would be three years if nothing turned up soon. But at last, it’s over. We have found our new boat.
We started out with a clear vision of what we did and (more to the point) didn’t want in our new craft, but as time went by we began to re-evaluate some of our decisions, which is only natural, every boat is a compromise.
And any forty-year-old boat in immaculate condition should likely be named Unicorn. Anyway, stubborn unwillingness in the face of reality to change your mind is not evidence of genius.
It soon became clear we were going to face a major challenge to get anywhere near to a ‘perfect ten’ in terms of construction, comfort and beauty. In fact, we rarely seemed to find anything above a three.
We considered quite a range of models, mostly from the 1970s, a period when designers and builders were still turning out robust cruiser/racers.
This was an age when you could thrash around the cans in a boat that sailed like a champ in a breeze and stood up to its canvas well, with a comfortable, if basic, seagoing interior at the end of the day.
All ideal attributes for our new home waters of the west coast of Scotland.
By the 1980’s, designers were moving towards lighter boats with lower ballast ratios and more volume, in the worst cases necessitating that the crew double as mobile ballast, perched on the weather rail like a row of sodden sparrows. Which was definitely not for us…
So, as John and I agreed, the best of those earlier boats could make good and affordable cruisers, albeit often with some modification, but at the time Louise and I felt they were on the large side for our ambitions, physically and financially. So we dialled the scale down a few feet and set about finding the right (smaller) boat.
The Short List
What boat models did we consider?