Days after dropping our youngest off at college I said, "I found a sailboat listing site. We can get a 26 foot boat for around $3,500." That was all it took. All week we scoured the site looking for the "practice" boat. Not the boat that will take us around the world. The boat that will take us around the Chesapeake Bay. The boat to break, fix, and make mistakes with.
Within a few days we narrowed our focus to Bristols and upped the size to the 29.9. In less than a week we arranged to see two Bristols and one Pearson just because the broker was pushy and it was nearby. The first 29.9 was touted as original owner, which translates to original equipment. Not a good thing on a boat over 35 years old.
On Labor Day we found the boat we were looking for - a Bristol 29.9. Sturdy, well maintained, and all of the necessary updates were already done. Sails - check, standing rigging - check, running rigging - check, alcohol stove replaced-check, new AC shore power, and new batteries, check and check. She even had things not on our list auto-pilot, propane heater, dodger, and bimini. Bonus points for liking the previous owner and his dog Lester.
Full disclosure - the 1977 fiberglass water tanks freaked me out. I had to make that the first thing we started cleaning. Next I replaced the foam in the cushions and washed all of the covers. The rest I could live with and update as we go. In the purely looks department - some crazy previous owner decided to stain some of the beautiful mahogany interior a dark walnut. I suppose we should be grateful for the ugly finish because the boat didn't show well and we were happy with the price. The current name from the previous owners is Ace of Diamonds. Ace for hull number one and she's a diamond in the rough. We will be renaming her but I appreciate the sentiment.
Stay tuned lots of work - I mean fun - ahead.