After failing to convince my co-pirate that buying a boat was the sensible thing to do while we were in the Caribbean in 2009, we continued with our plan on heading back to NZ for xmas, with the intention of moving to Oz in the new year… Well I won’t bore you with the details, but needless to say like any plans I/we have tried to make in the past, it soon changed and we found ourselves trying to settle in to a “normal” life in Christchurch. One with bills, jobs and a lovely view out our window of other little concrete boxes filled with people like us… well maybe not like us, as we (I) lasted maybe 6 months before I convinced Sabine to let me start boat shopping and get back out into the world where vagabonds like us belonged!
I’d seen the ad before, but she was well out of our budget, but now the price had dropped to something I could possibly negotiate down to where we could almost try and afford it! So I called…
A second visit on my way back to NZ confirmed it, Sea Raven was a beautiful boat, with loads of potential and plenty of issues… what to do?? so I flew home and thought some more, while putting in an offer and requesting a survey! The survey came in around my offer and highlighted a long list of things needed attention, but not one to let common sense stand in the way of a good decision, I went ahead and made the deal!
I flew back to San Francisco a month later and made the last payment in person and booked us in at the Napa Valley Marina, where we could haul her out and see what the real work was going to be like. Homer volunteered his services to help sail from South Beach Marina to Napa, and set about inviting everyone along for the ride! Ended up just being Homer and Genevieve along for the ride and Sparky as delivery captain for the trip.
We cast off the dock lines and pointed Sea Raven off the Rendezvous Charters’ dock for the last time, and headed out into the bay, motoring until we hit the Richmond bridge where we set the sails and killed the diesels. She sailed pretty well for an old girl, an old girl with a badly balanced sail plain and sails that were at the end of the useful life! With a lack of instruments to give us any clues, I guess we were making around 5/6 knots, and, once we had the mizzen set right, she tracked pretty well. Dropped the sails in the Carquinez Strait and headed up river to Napa. Luckily the only instrument that worked was the depth sounder, so I watched it go from 10′ to 6’…5…4…3… I turned the wheel with cat like reflexes, and moved over in the channel, despite the chart saying I was in the right place, I didn’t want to run aground on my first trip out! Homer and Gen kindly polished off the bottle of champagne that had been given to me the night before to celebrate a successful journey while we were motoring up to Napa, so the docking was entertaining! We had a pretty strong cross breeze, a lot of windage, and a tipsy crew!
Pulled it off of course, Sparky had been captain of Sea Raven for over 10 years, so docking her wasn’t a problem, and after dinner in Napa, they headed back to the bay and let me soak in just what I’d gotten myself into! All of this was quickly summed up by a guy who walked over to the boat, who I later got to know as Pirate Steve, his first words on meeting me and taking in Sea Raven were ” boy, you got yourself some big teeth!!”