BLOG ENTRY May 6, 2010\
On Easter Sunday my son Emmet, two friends and I sailed the schooner Windfall up to Scott’s Boat Yard in Buxton. The wind was fair for sailing all the way, but with deteriorating weather forecast for later in the afternoon, I kept the old Yanmar chugging along and didn’t hoist the jib as it would have restricted visibility a bit. The old schooner performed beautifully as she always had in my nearly 25 years of owning her and we arrived more than 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Had I but known this would be her last trip, I would have shut off the engine and let her take her own sweet time. Probably would have invited several more friends and opened some champagne.
But life is like that. Who ever knows how much time we’ve got left?
For the past several months leading up to this haul-out, I’d become aware of a few issues that would require some serious attention. With biannual Coast Guard inspection due, I knew it was decision time. As the boat yard crew and I began to delve into the deteriorated areas, it soon became apparent that bringing her back up to the required condition would not be economically feasible. Rather than patch her up and sell her cheap, I chose to strip her and have her broken up. The least I could do for a vessel that had served me so well for so long was to give her a proper burial. We’ll never have to bear the pain of seeing her masts protruding from the mud of some neglected backwater creek.
A few years ago, when I saw this day looming on the indefinite horizon, my dear wife reminded me of how much I enjoyed sailing that schooner. “Hell, Rob,” she said, “She doesn’t owe you anything. Sail her till she falls apart underneath you!” And that, in short, is pretty much what I did.
So that’s the bad news for those many friends from throughout the world who have had fond memories of the Windfall. Although I’m sure many of you will be disappointed in my decision, believe me – I feel your pain.
On the other hand, I’ve been considering for quite some time what I would do when and if this day arrived. I’ve always been impressed by the Lazy Jack 32’, a production fiberglass schooner designed by Ted Brewer and built in New York by Ted Hermann. When I made the decision to abandon ship last month, there were four Lazy Jacks for sale on the East Coast of the U.S. I looked at two of them then recently purchased one in New Jersey.
Of course she was white with white sails. Sundae (my admiral) insisted that I couldn’t dock her in Ocracoke until she was black. So a couple of weeks ago, I drove up to NJ, had her surveyed, bought her, hauled her out and painted her black. The photo shows her about to be launched by the boat yard in NJ just before two friends from Ocracoke helped me sail her home. We arrived the day before yesterday.
Yes, WINDFALL II is smaller than her namesake. Capt. Rudy saw her yesterday and asked me what kind of detergent I used to wash her decks. “Why?” I asked and he said, “She’s shrunk!” She’ll be limited to six passengers but will be taking longer sails in a more relaxed manner.
I’m looking forward to that. I hope you are too and if so, I look forward to sailing with you soon!