Love Story - Sail Magazine

Love Story

This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issueWhen I first saw Antares, she was sitting forgotten and forlorn in a boatyard’s back lot. Weeds grew tall around her and her once bright hull was streaked with grime. But something in her lines caught my eye and I knew at once that this Westsail 32 was what I wanted in an offshore cruiser. Gazing up, I was smitten
Author:
Publish date:

This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue

LoveStoryPhoto

When I first saw Antares, she was sitting forgotten and forlorn in a boatyard’s back lot. Weeds grew tall around her and her once bright hull was streaked with grime. But something in her lines caught my eye and I knew at once that this Westsail 32 was what I wanted in an offshore cruiser. Gazing up, I was smitten by her graceful sheer, her classic lines and her ship-like ruggedness. Her beauty had faded with time and neglect, but I could still hear her siren song.

I climbed aboard and sat in the dirty cockpit, imagining myself anchored in a tropic port, with warm winds rustling distant palms. A few days later I made an offer, and suddenly she was mine. She had started life as a bare fiberglass hull, a kit boat, and her finish construction had suffered under the clumsy hand of her original owner. I spent five years and thousands of hours carefully rebuilding her, inside and out, lavishing particular care on her all-wood interior. Like all boats, she was a project. But I didn’t realize just how much of a project she’d be until I’d owned her for a while. Over the years my list of upgrades has numbered in the hundreds, and I have lost track of the hours spent rebuilding her.

For most of those years I stayed aboard Antares, working on her the entire time, living in the dirt and the dust and the mess. One project followed another and I tore out entire sections of the interior, rebuilding them from scratch. But through it all, her siren song always led me toward that vision of a tropical anchorage with graceful palms swaying in the warm tradewind breeze.

At last, though, she was finished (in as much as a boat ever is really complete) and today she radiates an aura of comfort that never fails to warm my heart.

This comfort was most appreciated on the bitterly cold nights when I lived aboard her in the long darkness of a Midwest winter. A few hardy souls do live aboard their boats year-round in Michigan, and for many years I enjoyed that life. There is nothing quite so pleasurable as walking carefully down a snow-covered dock, stepping under the cocooning cover, pushing back the hatch and breathing in the aroma of a savory soup bubbling on the hot stove below. Winter winds might howl above, but I was snug and warm below. Aboard Antares, gently rocking to a stinging gale, my feelings were of utter contentment and joy.

I now live on Antares for just half the year, and when I go cruising, I’m still at home no matter where I am. I mostly sail alone and Antares and I have put many a mile behind us. In our 17 years together we have endured the lash of unspeakable storms and vicious North Atlantic seas, but we’ve also danced together, gliding to the song of gentle winds, under a full moon rising over dark, pine-scented islands.

I’ve sailed her north to the bone-chilling water and foggy shores of Lake Superior, thrilled by the magical call of loons in remote, rocky inlets. I've spent a week aboard her on the Hudson River, walking the busy streets of New York by day, sleeping in my own bed by night. But I also found that tropical anchorage I once dreamed of, after I sailed her alone across the Gulf Stream to the palm-fringed shores of Bermuda. There, the circle was complete. My dream had come true, for I had breathed life and adventure not only into her soul, but into mine as well.

Every year my pleasure in sailing Antares deepens. I know her from stem to stern, from top to bottom. I know her every habit and idiosyncrasy, her good points and her bad. Soon we’ll be off again, sailing together into the uncharted sea of our future adventures.

Related

daviscards

Davis Instruments: Quick Reference Cards

CHECK THESEIf you’re sailing with new crew this summer or your kids have suddenly and inexplicably started to look up from their phones and take an interest in the finer points of cruising, these Quick Reference Cards from Davis are a great way to further their boating education. ...read more

01-rbir18-596

Another Epic Round Britain Race

There are basically two kinds of offshore sailboat races out there: those that take place annually, like the Fastnet and Chicago-to-Mackinac races; and those that take place every other year, like the Transpac and Newport-Bermuda race, in part so the competitors have sufficient ...read more

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more

dorcap-open-blue

ATN Inc: Dorcap

COOL SLEEPYou’re fast asleep in a snug anchorage, forehatch open to catch the breeze, when you’re rudely awakened by a sneaky rain squall. Now you’re not only awake and wet, you’re sweltering with the hatch closed. Sucks, right? That’s why ATN came up with the Dorcap, an ...read more

HIGH-RES-29312-Tahiti-GSP

Ask Sail: Who has the right-of-way

WHO HAS RIGHT-OF-WAY?Q: I sail in Narragansett Bay, which is a relatively narrow body of water that has upwind boats generally going south and downwind boats generally going north. When sailboats are racing, the starboard tack boat has the right-of-way over the port tack boat, so ...read more