November 2016 –
Our sailing adventure in Grenada accelerated our NYC departure plans; the plan felt right. The day after we returned, Karl and I decided to start looking at sailboats to purchase. We still left ourselves the option of owning the boat and “weekend sailing” the Long Island Sound for a few more years before leaving NYC for good, but that line of thinking ran out of steam pretty quickly.
Karl had done a lot of diligence in the past year that helped narrow down boats to put on the short list for in-person viewing. I’m a list-maker at heart, and similar to my process for finding multiple apartments in NYC, I made a list of our priorities and kept those in mind as we looked at boats of different stripes.
We returned from Grenada on August 13, 2016. By September 26th, we had a boat! We found many positives in Grace, a Beneteau 423 listed in Annapolis MD, for our first boat:
- Newer production boat (~10 years old), owner’s version with 2 cabins/heads;
- Easy to handle despite her 43 feet, capable of offshore-work;
- Classic, not furling mainsail (there is ample debate here – we leaned classic);
- Previously outfitted for cruising (upgraded battery bank/solar, davits, AIS/radar);
- Price point in the $130-150K range.
Grace – now Contigo, re-christening ceremony pending – was in great shape and passed her survey with flying colors, but still needed a little cleaning (and a new impeller) before we moved her from her berth in Annapolis.
Our “mini” shakedown cruise in October 2016 took us from Annapolis to Delaware City Marina, where Contigo is being kept on the hard for the 2016/17 winter. The weather was absolutely perfect. We started the weekend with a beautiful sunrise, and we only lost one fender (yikes) leaving our slip in Back Creek.
Making our way underneath the Bay Bridge was especially poignant for me. Having grown up spending summers in Ocean City, Maryland, heading East over the bridge always meant fun times ahead. Traveling by sailboat with Karl by my side was an exciting mixture of past, present and future.
We anchored at the mouth of the Sassafras on Saturday evening and after a small tangle with the electric windlass (the clutch needed tightening – thanks Beneteau tool box!), Karl and I settled in for a cozy dinner. With the sun setting on one side of us and the moon rising on the other, we eagerly dug into a turmeric-infused veggie curry (one bowl, two forks) that Karl had lovingly made before we left Brooklyn.
We targeted arriving at the entrance of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal – enroute to Delaware City – by 8AM to take advantage of the favorable tide. Using the full moon, we got off to an early start. That also meant we had to contend with some land fog – Karl made use of both the radar (it works!) and my bowspotting services to get us safely through. We made it in record time – by 10AM we were pulling up to the marina. First challenge met!
Additional pictures of new-to-us Contigo shown below: