Very early on a Wednesday morning in late May 2015, we drove with two groggy kids to the Denver International Airport, took a bus to the terminal, took a train to our gate, took a plane to Seattle, took a bus and walked down a precipitous hill to the marina, and saw her for the first time. Brio!
I breathed in deeply. She just smelled right. Like the 19th century Star of India (oldest iron-hulled merchant ship still floating) I used to tell nautical stories upon in San Diego. Actually, Gene told me later, it was the kerosene in the lamps, but I didn’t care. She had everything we needed (which was very little in the way of bells and whistles, and very much in the way of stability, seaworthiness, and…uh, well-built-ness).
She’s a 1977 Alajuela 38. The distant cousin to the Westsail, which basically started the cruising movement in the 70’s. She’s only had one owner, now in his 90’s, who lived on her in the south pacific, and around the pacific northwest for many years. He is, we are told, a “bit of a character” and hope to meet him someday soon.
After looking her over, I was slapped deep in the gut with the reality that this might just be happening! We might actually be leaving the life we built in Denver, for real-zies, and taking our two tiny, non-swimmers to live on a boat the size of a small motorhome. Were we nuts!?
Then we test-sailed her. Our two year old, freshly awakon from a brief nap in the v-berth, climbed all over the cockpit seats (and me) as I helmed her around the placid waters of Lake Union, avoiding tourist day-motorors and cruise ship tug boats. She performed well, sailing 5-6 knots in a 10-ish knot breeze. And our little adventurers loved it!
The challenges are looming and large. But she doesn’t need much to become home, and we will sail her by baby steps (figuratively, and literally in our daughter’s case), and we will try to trust each other and ourselves and our new home.
Brio, thanks for taking us on. We hope to live up to your former owner and have a “bit of character” too.