My three-year sailing experiment has come to a close, I am partially sorry to say. I enjoyed a ton of things about sailing, such as the $40 a year fuel cost and the feeling of freedom that comes from hearing the sails snap into place when you get things right. However, I am a powerboat guy at heart and after taking a hard look at what we expect from a boat, the outside space turned out to be more important than anything else. Being able to sit in the sun, comfortably entertain a group of people, and easily swim off the stern was more important than anything else. I had to make a hard decision this summer, but the end result was better than I could have expected.
I found a Sea Ray 390 Sedan Bridge close by that was in great condition and loaded with extras. The boat needed almost nothing to be ready for spring, and since it was stored inside I had all winter to get it ready. One of the great benefits to living near a body of fresh water is that many of the problems found on the coast do not happen here. There is no salt to eat things alive. The biggest problem I could find on the whole vessel was some worn carpeting, and a nice area rug took care of that for now. There was work to do, such as tune-ups and oil changes, but nothing serious.
There is an incredible feeling of freedom that comes with sailing. That day that you get the sails up and trimmed, come off point a little bit, and everything falls into place the very first time; you feel the sails catch and tighten up and you reach down to kill the engine, and suddenly, the boat leaps forward as if you just set it free from its restraints. At that moment you feel like the whole world is in reach and all you need to do is choose a course.
I will miss that, and someday I can see myself going back to try it again. But for now, the best option for us is to turn the key and head out to the big lake with a bunch of friends, where we’ll drop the hook and lounge in the sun. The world is still in reach, but for the moment, this is the course I choose to take.