Where’s Pandora…going? Well, the answer is a bit complicated.

It’s Saturday morning and less than three weeks until Christmas.  Yikes!  Where did the time go?  Last I looked, it was May and I was bringing Pandora north from the Bahamas.  Anyway, now it’s December and on top of that, it’s been a while since my last post.  So, here goes.

I have wanted to write about something that has been brewing for a few weeks. The news is that we will be selling Pandora and buying another boat.  

Selling Pandora?  Yes, amazingly, that’s the plan.   In truth, we have been lusting over a particular boat, Ariel, an Aerodyne 47 owned by our friends Miles and Loreen for some time now.  They had their boat built in Finland in 2006 and took delivery in spring of 2007 when she was lowered from the deck of a freighter in, I think, Newport.  Here’s a shot of a sistership, one of a total of only four built of this design, hitting the water in Finland.  So, after spending years touting how great the SAGA 43 design is and Pandora in particular, we will be buying another boat.  Yes, this is a very big deal for us and something that I never thought would happen.  To be completely candid, we would not be doing this it it wasn’t for the fact that Ariel became available.  

We had discussed this possibility with Miles and Loreen last winter when we were sailing together in the Bahamas but I can’t say that I really thought that they would take the plunge.  The “plunge” being going over to the “dark side”. Yes, they are buying a POWER BOAT.  I won’t say anything more except that it’s GIANT 50ft+ “ship”, at least a ship by the standards of “little people”, like us. I guess it’s safe to say that their “carbon footprint” will be increasing.  Perhaps they can buy some “offsets” from Al Gore.  

When we purchased Pandora back in 2007, we assumed that she’d be the last boat we’d own.  As recently as this summer, when I put on a brand new Autoprop and the new Espar heater, I expected that we’d be using them for years.  However, all that changed when Miles contacted me a few weeks ago saying that Ariel was for sale. 

As I have mentioned in some prior posts, Brenda and I have been interested in their boat for years, since we first saw it in Block Island, I think around 2008 or so.  Since that time, we have spent time with them from Maine to the Bahamas and after sailing in company with them for hundreds of miles and eating countless meals aboard both Ariel and Pandora, here we are…  And, I won’t talk about the wine and rum consumed at those meals (Let’s just say that some might view them as a bad influence on us).

Well, our comfy position of owning Pandora, all fitted out and exactly as we want her, is going out the window.  Great, now I can focus on getting our next boat just right.

The good news is that Ariel is about right already and I’ll only need to make a few changes to personalize her for us.  Fortunately Miles and Loreen have taken a “money is no object” approach to keeping her in trim which should make it easier for us, down the road.  Well, easier at least until something breaks.  Hey, that’s boating…

So, the plan is for us to sail Pandora this winter in the FL Keys with perhaps a brief visit to the northern Bahamas, the Abacos,  in late winter and then back to the US in April in time to go to a wedding in SC.  Still lots of details to work out but we are very excited. With a decision to get a new boat in early December and the actual handover in late May or so, this is clearly not going to be a typical transaction.

Anyway, here’s a photo of Ariel I took in Newport RI a few years ago.  She’s still green but has been repainted since then.  Miles and Loreen, who live aboard, are very particular owners and keeping her in “as new” condition is a priority.  I sure hope she looks that way “behind the curtain” when we have her surveyed. Fingers crossed Perhaps better, is this one that I took in the Exumas last winter.  Yes, nice spot and a nice boat.The Aerodyne 47 was very limited production line of boats, with, I think, only four built.   In many ways she’s pretty high-tech when compared to Pandora, built of heat cured epoxy, fiberglass and kevlar.   Her interior is composite material including honeycomb core bulkheads and cabinetry and cored granite countertops, a construction approach that is used on luxury aircraft to keep strength high and weight to a minimum.   As a result, while she’s nearly 2.5′ wider than Pandora and 5′ longer, she only weighs about 2,000 lbs more.  This link will take you to some specs about the boat.

This is a shot of the main salon when she was launched.  I think the bottle of Champagne is gone.  No, I am sure it is.   But, the boat still looks very nice down below. The galley is quite well laid out with lots of room to work. Speaking of “work”, there’s even a small workshop aft of the galley. The designer, Rodger Martin, is known for designing some top ocean racing boats.  Part of the appeal to us is that the Aerodyne is very similar to Pandora, having a fairly fine entry, long waterline and flat run aft.  As a result, she’s very fast, especially on a reach where I believe that she’ll do 12kts+.   Pandora can get close to those speeds but being smaller, it takes a more pushing and heavy conditions.  Speeds like Pandora and Ariel are capable of are quite rare in cruising boats.  The pedigree of both designs are influenced by much more extreme ocean racers.  

Interestingly, Bob Perry, designer of Pandora wrote a review of the Aerodyne 47 back in 2002 when it was fresh off of Martin’s drawing board.  He had some nice words to say about the design.

Yes, Ariel is faster than Pandora, in part, because she’s bigger, Pandora’s no slouch in the speed department and I have kept up quite well with Ariel when we have sailed together.  However, the extra length does give her an edge, especially off the wind.

Making a decision to sell Pandora, the boat that we thought was to be our last, was a tough one.  We thought that we’d own Pandora until we were too decrepit to sail.  We expected our next step might be, horrors, a pontoon boat.

Now, wouldn’t this be a great “post sailing retirement boat” for us?  Actually, this is a really scary image.   I like the idea of Ariel as a next step much better.On the bright side, with a pontoon boat, there would be plenty of room for a Weber Grill, wheeled cooler and a slew of cup-holders.  Perhaps that would take some of the sting out of it?  Perhaps not…

“Bob, Bob, stick to the point”.  Sorry…

So, where’s Pandora going?  First, we’ll be aboard for the winter in our usual stomping grounds. And then, who knows.

And speaking of “what’s next”, it’s not too early to think about where we’ll be going next winter and I think it will be the Caribbean.  Yes, that would be great fun, and it’s only a bit more than 1,500 miles from Montauk.  It’s a good thing Ariel’s a bit faster than Pandora.  Perhaps she could cut off a day of the trip.  We’ll see.

Perhaps I am getting a bit ahead of myself as first I have to go sailing for the winter, buy a boat, sell one (no simple feat) and put out some Christmas decorations.  

Yes, Christmas decorations.  Brenda’s out today, my honey-do list is long and I’d better have made progress before Brenda gets home in a few hours.

Yes, I’d better get a move on.  First things first.  

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