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Sunday, 15 January 2012

No it's not a Gibsea 38

Another trip out to view another boat today, this time it's a Gib'sea 38 in Whitehaven, which is about an hour and a half up the coast from us. For a change the weather has been more like winter with clear skys and frosty mornings. It was a fine day to take a drive, a drive that took us along the coast with clear views into the mountains of the lake district as a backdrop to our mission. Lenticular clouds hung motionless over the landscape like giant almonds in a clear blue sky.

The last time we were in Whitehaven it was also a cold day, in fact so cold that the water in the marina was frozen solid. That was a couple of years ago, today it's cold but the waters are ice free. We stop the car in the car park overlooking the harbour, light a fag and watch a couple of swans perform a symmetrical dance of pre mating foreplay on the water in front of us.Then, just as it all seems to be getting serious one of them, the girl I suppose, decides it's all to public on the waterfront and glides away, followed by her suitor, later maybe he'll have more luck.

We're here to have a look at this Gibsea but we've been unable to get anyone from the brokers to come and open her up so we can get the full picture. Never the less we have decided that a look around the outside will be enough for today, and it's a good excuse to get out in this beautiful day. The yacht we are going to view is called Grumpy, not the best name for a boat. Why would you call your yacht Grumpy? We find her lying at the end of jetty QB bobbing on the slight breeze. She's a ketch with in mast furling and looking a little forlorn, in need of a little TLC but at first glance she looks in reasonable shape for her age. My mobile rings and its the broker asking if we've found her yet. Yes, we've just arrived, I say. What do you think, he asks, I say we haven't had chance to look yet but one of the stantions is a bit loose, I'll give you a call when we've had a proper look round.

After about 15 mins of crawling round her deck and peering through the windows we decide that it's probably not the boat for us. Sliding windows don't feel right, the route from the cockpit to the companion way is awkward. The jammers are too far from the helm and we don't need a separate entrance to the captains cabin. It's OK but it's not our boat. That's fine at least it's another one to tick off our list. We saunter off along the jetty and cast an eye over all the rest of the boats, although not for sale it's good to be in among lots of different craft and make mental notes of the ones we should look up on the net next time we're surfing. It's a needle and haystack business finding the boat that's just for you, unfortunately our haystack is not even a sheaf, and  today we drew another blank, but the more we see the more we eliminate. It's a long game we thinks.

After soup and a cuppa in the harbour side cafe we take a detour to the repair yard where we go looking for the boat we came to see last time we were here. There's a couple working on their boat who we discover have just returned from a two year cruise around the Caribbean and the East coast of the States. They're stripping her ready for a new paint job and we chat for a bit, about boats, what else. A few pearls of wisdom are dispensed in our direction, always a plus to talk to those who have been there, done that, got the T shirt. They're sailing a 43ft Onvi, which is way outside our league, but this chat reaffirms our idea that we need a long keel boat, an old long keel boat, and that still points to the Tayana type of thing, or perhaps an Island Packet 31, both are about within or just outside our budget of £30,000.

Home, and we drive into a sunset of baby pink clouds and misty mountains. We chat boats, and chew over our conversation with the Onvi crew. It's been a fruitful day and another step closer to finding our boat. The thing is that we don't even have the funds, as yet, until we manage to sell the bungalow, we can't buy anything anyway. It's going to be much harder to make the decision when we have the money I suspect, but for now we just have to keep on looking  because you never know when your going to stumble upon the one.