Thursday, February 14, 2008

So how did we get here?

So how did I get to this point? I first started sailing on in Cancun, in tiny little Sunfish dinghies off the beach. Little did we know that conditions were almost perfect - flat, warm seas; gentle on-shore breeze; lots of clear space with no rocks / wrecks / buoys etc to hit.....

After trying very unsuccessfully to sail on a local lake when we got back home, we signed up for proper lessons and took our RYA 1 & 2 dinghy sailing courses. After toying with the idea of buying a dinghy of our own, we eventually ended up with a 26' trailer sailer and a hulking great 4x4 to tow it with! 4 years on and has led us to planning the ultimate in early retirement plans - selling up and sailing away to circumnavigate the world! Initially just a vague dream, then a tentative plan, now we have got down to the nitty-gritty of working out how to make it happen and are already in our 3rd year of a 10 year plan. Questina is the unexpected twist in our tale - she was never part of the original equation.

So how did we come to putting an offer on a 19 year old Prout Quest 33? Enter our dear friends Jilly and David, the delightful owners of a Prout Event 34. We thought we were quite adventurous with our little MacGregor, creeping cautiously up the Wareham Channel to the Town Quay. When we saw That Cat turn up, we weren't sure if it was by accident or design! Surely nobody would plan to bring a catamaran that size all the way up the channel?? Once we discovered that it was not only perfectly possible but also eminently more luxurious than our little boat, a new seed was germinated. Meeting up with David and Jilly again, anchored serenely in the Beaulieu River and later, beached quite happily at Bembridge, we realised that a medium sized catamaran could do almost anything our little Mac could do, in considerably more comfort. In addition, although we would lose the ability to power home at 10+ knots, we could stretch our sailing skills a lot further with night sailing, auto-helming and hence much longer passages than we are currently used to. Having previously ruled out the idea of keeping a cat in the Solent as too expensive and unmanageable, the opposite was suddenly looking quite feasible.

We headed down to Multihull World in Emsworth and after several hours of clambering over practically every cat in their range, we were fairly sure that a Quest 33 was the ideal cat for us. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only model they didn't have in the UK, though they had pictures of several in the Med and further afield, so it took a few trips to east and west coasts plus a brief holiday in France to visit a few for us to be absolutely sure. And now we are just a gnat's whisker (plus a lot of cash!) away from owning our very own cat.

We also posted
on about Prouts and Quest 33's in particular and got some reassuringly positive feedback.