Monday, January 29, 2007

Blue Topaz

Vero Beach

Last night we visited Blue Topaz with her crew Reggie and Terry. First we had drinks on board Blue Topaz then the four of us retired to Tarwathie for dinner. We had a marvelous time. Reggie has a voice and a manner of speaking that remind me of Garrison Keillor presenting the news from Lake Wobegone on Prairie Home Companion. He also sounds like Morgan Fairchild, the actor who narrates stories. Reggie, Garrison and Morgan all make great story tellers because the audience loves to listen to them.

Blue Topaz is a wonderful boat. She is a steel hulled schooner perhaps 38 feet long. The first thing one notices about her is the sparking paint job. Her hull gleams in deep blue and the top decks gleam similarly in sparkling white. Although the paint job is not brand new, it looks that way. It gives the impression of a very well maintained boat.

The interior was designed by Reggie. He thought things out very well. She has lots of storage room; what Libby calls cubbies. According to Reggie, they can store provisions for two people for 12 to 18 months. In addition they have room for a good collection of pots and pans, books, clothes and other things. She has a deck hatch leading to the sail locker and chain locker on the forward deck. She has an aft cabin with a berth and the navigator’s table. The aft cabin opens on to the rear cockpit.

Best of all was the engine room. I was stunned when I first saw it. It was huge, with lots of empty space. It provided easy access to the engine from all angles. It was also clean like and operating room. It was far cry from the cramped and greasy space we have for Tarwathie’s engine. Ask Carmello and John, both sailing companions who went down in that engine compartment with me.

Reggie and Terry are from Toronto. Terry was a photographer and Reggie had a consulting business. They retired and have been cruising for 9 years so far. Libby and I learned a lot from them about the Bahamas. We hope to put that knowledge to use soon.

We also compared notes about the cruising life and we found that we all agreed about several key elements. Reggie said the first, "Boaters are happy because they are doing what they want to do. Nobody forces you to be here out on a boat." How true.

Second, "Boaters get along with each other better than average
people." It is obvious when you think about it. One couldn't stand to live in such close quarters with no privacy. Unless you and your partner get along very very well it would not last long.

Third, "Boaters are healthier than most people." One only need to look around at the people at any marina compared to the people one sees at the nearest shopping mall to observe the difference. Reggie said that an old couple once told them, "The years living aboard the boat don't count with respect to aging." That might not be 100% true but is probably better than 70% true.

Right now, Reggie and Terry are waiting for repairs, like we are. When that is done, they are heading for the Bahamas and points south. They hope to end up in Venezuela or the ABC islands before long. Good luck Blue Topaz .

Libby and I look forward to seeing Reggie and Terry again while we’re in Vero.

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