Well, some of you might not be too surprised but I am soon to be the proud owner of Concordia Yawl #26 "Mary Ann." I signed the contract and overnighted the check today.
I always knew that one day I would own a sailing cruiser. I just didn't know when or under what circumstances. The path to the #26 began with my desire for a family ski boat. I had fallen in love with the Chris Craft Continental in "On Golden Pond," so that is what I sought out and found. After enjoying her for a while, we decided something larger would be more to our taste. Hence, my sale of the Continental and purchase and restoration of the Emma Kate--a 30' Chris Craft Cruiser. The sailboat was always, however, in my mind and I occaisonally perused the various classifieds for project boats. It was in early 2011 when I began to realize something: wonderful wooden cruisers were accumulating on the market and prices were dropping. Sometime in the Spring of 2011, I decided I would keep my eyes open for a bargain. I even began to go look at some to get a feel for what I might want someday. Several months ago we combined a vacation trip to Maine with stops to look at several boats. It was then I saw my first Concordia: Sea hawk. I confess I had not even heard of Concordias but this boat really spoke to me. The lines of the boat are so graceful. You just want to run your fingers down the pictures of them, tracing the curves. And they just smack of simplicity and practicality. Then I read more about them and talked to owners, brokers, and yardmen. The boats are held in such high regard. Margo Geer loaned me her Concordia book--truly a work of art. I was sold on the boat then if not before.
So I focused on the Concordias for sale on the lower end of the price range. It was a great time to be shopping. There are 20 for sale right now. Despite this, the Concordias seemed to demand a premium that other vessels do not. I could have bought an S&S or an Alden in better shape for less but I was too far in love with these boats to go that way. Because my budget was limited, it came down to just a few boats at the bottom of the price list. Mary Ann, I knew, was a donated boat. I was hoping that, because of this, the organization would be more willing to negotiate than most individual owners. Also, like many wooden sailboats, she had been on the market for quite a while. Finally, she needed work that was going to take a lot of hours. Full and Associates had already done a survey on her and the news was not good: 7 broken frames, several broken floor timbers, tired sternpost, poor deadwood, in need of rudder rebuild, time for refastening, and time to drop and rework the ballast, and possibly a new forefoot. On the positive side, she has had ballast bolts replaced, some new planking, some new frames, a new and longer mast step, rewiring, and new cabin top canvas. The owners obviosuly took great care of all other maintenace over the years. Cosmetically, she looks very nice and sports a nice electronics package, propane stove, lots of sails, a refurbished Graymarine, and other goodies. She is also a fairly orginal Concordia--no poorly conceived repairs or alterations.
It came down to her and one other Concordia. The other Concordia needed no structural work and could be sailed away. She needed a lot of work too but most of that was cosmetic. The other boat was priced very favorably and, using that price as my guide, I made my offer on Mary Ann significantly less than what I thought the other boat would go for. But I did not think my offer unfair given the work that needed to be done and the market. Nevertheless, I half-expected my offer to be declined but they countered very close and I accepted. Frankly, if the counter had been much higher than my offer, the other Concordia would have made more sense. And I wonder if 12 months from now, as I am replacing screws and after doing all the structural work, I will wish I had gone with the boat ready to sail. Oh well.
So there's the beginning of the story. Mary Anne is in Maine waiting on us to close the deal and arrange the shipping. Journeys End in Rockport will haul her for me to S.C. on a Brownell hyraulic trailer. I will have to build a new shed as she will not fit in the workspace I built for Emma Kate.
Don't look for too much activity for a while. I do have to build the shed soon. I need to complete my Emma Kate projects before I start on Mary Ann. I do not plan on going at Mary Ann at the pace I kept with Emma Kate. I am not in a hurry and this job is going to demand a much higher degree of precision and workmanship than I have produced in the past. I am excited to say the least.