The survey and sea trial on the Catalina 320 are now complete. We have accepted the purchase, which means we are well on our way to officially becoming boat owners!
C and I were absolutely giddy with excitement when we arrived at the Deltaville Yachting Center this past Wednesday morning to meet with our surveyor, Peter, and our broker, Gordon Inge. We had previously only seen the boat out of the water, so what a delight to finally see her afloat. The first box checked; she didn’t sink. Phew!
Because the threat of rain loomed in the forecast, it was determined that we should begin with the sea trial portion first. I’m sure (no, I know) that C and I looked really dopey, wearing cheesy grins as Gordon slowly motored us away from the marina, through Broad Creek Inlet, and into the adjacent narrow channel that empties into the Chesapeake Bay.
Once we were out in open waters, it was time to unfurl and raise the sails. Unfortunately, we could only put up the mainsail because (as Gordon discovered from a cherry picker later at the dock), one of the bearings for unfurling the genoa was gunked up with globs of bird poop! Not unexpected, I suppose, for a boat that has spent the last nine months on the hard.
Our little group spent an hour or so on the bay before we motored back to the marina, where Gordon demonstrated the Catalina 320’s ability to turn in narrow spaces. We watched in disbelief (horror?) as he effortlessly rotated that 32′ sailboat 180 degrees right between the two sides of the docks to tether her port-side. Um, suffice it to say, I think it’s going to be a while before we will be able to demonstrate that kind of boating prowess.
For the next few hours, we hung out with Peter while he inspected every inch of the sailboat and tested every piece of equipment. I must say, I am so pleased that we hired Peter. He was remarkably thorough, knowledgeable, and very kind.
Post survey, we are thrilled to find that, all in all, the vessel is very sound for a twenty-two-year-old sailboat. We may want to address a few cosmetic issues later on (like a couple of amateur patch jobs), and there are a few things we need to take care of now (like new bottom paint), but Peter assures us that she will be a perfect starter boat for learning to sail on.
We are so excited. It’s crazy how well this process has gone and how things are coming together. Nothing ever goes this smoothly! We now just wait to receive the closing documents from Gordon and get our insurance policy finalized. And if all goes to plan, we might officially be boat people by the end of the week! Here’s hoping!