It seems like yesterday when Brenda and I first laid eyes on Pandora, then Spirit, in Annapolis back in 2006. After years of sailing on our Tartan 37 Elektra, we were used to a 70s design and to step aboard on a SAGA 43 we felt like we had stepped onto a “real yacht”. She was so bright down below with her varnished cherry woodwork, so different from the dark teak paneling so popular with earlier boats and she was SO BIG.
We knew right a way that a SAGA 43 was the boat for us. Pandora wasn’t a particularly well equipped boat and it was clear that I had a long process to get her in shape for extended cruising. However we needed a “proper yacht” to achieve our plans to begin in a few short years when I would retire. While our initial “3 year plan” to “cast off the lines” was extended by a year or so, compliments of the “great recession”, we did eventually begin cruising three years ago and have sailed for months at a time together between New England and the Bahamas.
I have written extensively about the benifits of Bob Perry’s design of the SAGA 43 so I won’t repeat it here. However, if you are interested in why we chose this particular design, follow this link to “Why a SAGA 43“. We just love this boat and found her to be a huge upgrade in comfort and speed from our Tartan 37.
She’s really fast and I have made the run from the Bahamas back to Essex twice and have done so in less than a week each time. The design is amazing in the speed department and I did a run from Marsh Harbor Bahamas to Sandy Hook in only 5 days. That’s an average speed of over 7kts.
When we decided to upgrade to Pandora, it was a big leap for us financially and to have a boat that measured in at some 46′ overall was a lot bigger than we had every hoped to have. There was lots to do to get her just the way we wanted and we had big plans that would require many upgrades to the boat. So, over the next 5 or so years I upgraded the systems to include many extras that would make her more comfortable and even more seaworthy.
Folks that know us are aware that Brenda is a reluctant sailor and always says that her favorite part of sailing is “being anchored”. As a result, we often joke that our life together has been “40 years of desperate moves by Bob to help Brenda enjoy her time on the boat”. No, Brenda doesn’t count the days till we jump aboard again but she has been sailing with me for over 40 years so I guess I have done a pretty good job at helping her feel at home afloat. After over 7 years it’s pretty clear that when we purchased Pandora it was perhaps the most important “upgrade” ever to our lives afloat.
So, where am I going with all this? As I have been putting together the brokerage listing this morning to put Pandora on the market, I am finding myself more than a little bit nostalgic for the years we have owned her. Until we learned that Ariel, the Aerodyne 47 that we are buying, was coming on the market, a boat that originally caught our eye some six years ago, we really expected to be sailing Pandora until we were too old to enjoy time on the water and sold her for a paddleboat or some other depressing vessel down the road.
However, circumstances have changed and I can’t believe that Pandora will be leaving us, perhaps soon.
Over the years I have poured myself, along with plenty of cash into Pandora, to make her as perfect as I could. As recently as this year, I put in a new Espar heater, a new Autoprop (which I love, love, love) plus many other small improvements too numerous to mention here, with the certain knowledge that we’d be sailing Pandora for another decade.
Well, all of that changed when…. Well, I guess that’s what life is about. Change.
So, here I am, and it’s December 28th and two days from now we will get a rental car to begin our trek down to join Pandora in GA. Along the way we’ll spend some time with our two boys, Rob and Christopher along with Rob’s new fiance Kandice. After we enjoy the New Year’s celebration with them in MD, we’ll head to Miami when Ariel is surveyed in anticipation of our purchase in April.
After that, it’s back to Pandora, in the water and sailing for the winter.
If you’d told me a month ago that I’d be preparing a brokerage listing for Pandora now, I’d say you were nuts. However, here I sit doing just that. It just shows that you just never know what’s waiting around the corner. I guess that makes the point of why it’s a good idea to wear a seat belt. Perhaps I should have held off on some of those recent upgrades. Oh well. Who knew?
The broker asked me yesterday what I would do if he got an offer on Pandora in February, given all of our cruising plans. Well, that’s a good question. I guess we’ll have to cut things short. That would be just about a perfect example of “I have good new and I have bad news”.
It has indeed been a saga owning Pandora and what a great ride it’s been. But wait, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s not over yet with an entire winter of sailing ahead of us in warm tropical waters. I hope.
It’s grey outside here but this awaits us soon, very soon.
Dolphins playing at our bow.Perfect white sandy beaches. Dramatic cloud displays.Magnificent tropical flowers.
Tan piggies on Brenda. Love the toe ring. Amazing sunsets that go on and on…And give way to serene moon rises.Yes, Brenda and I are blessed to be “living the dream”, in more ways than one. I guess it’s time to start dreaming about the good times to come on our new boat as our SAGA saga draws to a close.
Sounds like fun.