Making the Decision

First, the news.

Five years ago, in 2015, Joe and I spent the winter sailing the first Windhorse around the Bahamas. We had a blast. We were hooked on the cruising lifestyle and decided that we wanted to do more of it, a lot more of it. We needed a bigger boat.

Windhorse was an amazingly fun boat, but as an ultralight racing catamaran, it was barely suited for seasonal coastal cruising. It was certainly not capable of carrying supplies for long passages. We needed something we could live on full time, something suitable for crossing oceans.

We knew about Wharram catamarans and admired them for their ruggedness and frugal simplicity. Some consider Wharrams primitive, but we consider them appropriate technology for their purpose. We knew about their 50-year track record as reliable, comfortable boats for ocean sailing. We knew they were affordable, unlike most of the fancier center cabin catamarans seen everywhere in Florida and the Caribbean. We had met a number of Wharram owners who eagerly took us under their wings. They convinced us that Wharram designs are a good choice for us. They also warned us not to buy anything bigger than we absolutely need.

Crossing the Gulf Stream on our way to Miami, Joe and I decided we wanted a Wharram in the 38-42 foot range. We would buy the first one we found in good condition within a thousand miles of Florida. We dropped anchor near the old Miami Marine Stadium. I turned on the iPad. Yay! Internet access for the first time in a month. Somewhere in my news feeds was a listing for a Wharram Pahi 42 currently in Antigua. How far is Antigua? About a thousand miles.

It was nearing the end of March. We had to be back in Massachusetts to open the nursery on April 1. We sailed back to Key West as fast as we could, then got on a plane to Antigua. The owner, Ingo, a German who was completing a twelve-year circumnavigation, graciously introduced us to his boat, then named Mahuini. We loved it! Within a day we reached an agreement to purchase the boat. The seller offered to deliver it to Key West for us. Joe and I flew back to Key West, very quickly sold off the MacGregor, then drove back to Needham, arriving only a couple of days late.

Ingo Baumann on Mahuini

So now we had our ocean sailing catamaran, in need of some updating after a long circumnavigation, but basically ready to go whenever we were. We had in our minds that it would be a five-year plan to retire and start our own circumnavigation. Five years might mean five, or ten, or who knows? We just knew it would happen some day, and it would have to happen before we got too old to do it. We had seen some friends wait too long only to find they couldn’t do it.

Go small. Go simple. Go now.

Lin and Larry Pardey

Well, it turned out to be five years on the nose. Twenty twenty has been a year of hardship for so many, but challenges can be exactly the catalyst we need to make change. The right things just fell into place for us this year. We decided that we can do it now, therefore we have to do it.

By Rob

Born a dairy farmer in Pennsylvania. Dabbled briefly in foreign affairs. Took up horticulture. Now a sailor.