We’re not really believers in the saying, “The two happiest days in a boat owner’s life are the day they buy a boat and the day they sell.” We like the updated version that the two happiest days are Saturday and Sunday. Surely this past Saturday was a happy one for the new owners of our Ranger 33 Summer Sailstice, and for us too — it was a beautiful day to be sailing. It was also bittersweet, as we said goodbye to the boat we’ve enjoyed for the past 18 years of Bay and Delta cruising, racing and daysailing.
We’ve had Summer Sailstice in our Classy Classifieds for a couple of months, noting that the 1975 Ranger 33’s original Atomic 4 was at the end of its life or, in fact, we think it’s toast. Regardless, Wesley’s going to make an attempt at proving us wrong. We’d been considering replacing it with an electric motor as, based in the rarely windless Bay Area, it’s an ideal solution for a Ranger 33. If Wesley can’t get the Atomic 4 out of the ICU, electric may be the alternative. Beyond the engine repair, the boat has a few projects, and after 18 years, we wondered if we wanted to take on the next phase of this Ranger’s life, or if it was time to pass it along to the next generation.
Fortunately, Wesley Nunez, who’s the son of Roger Nunez of Alameda’s Reliable Marine Electronics, and his wife Christina have recently become fired up about sailing. As Wesley explained, “I’ve been working on boats with my dad for about eight years, but had never really got into sailing. However, I did go out with customers to check our installations and found I also loved the sailing. I wanted to learn more. My wife and I bought an older Santana 22 and have had a great time learning to sail in the Oakland Estuary. We’ve taken out tons of friends who have never sailed and wanted room to bring more friends when circumstances allow it again. I’d also sailed on a customer’s Ranger 33 and thought it a great boat so have had my eye out for one.”
Since the boat literally does not have a working engine the question was how to get it to its new home at Alameda Marina. It is a sailboat, after all, and since Wesley and Christina were game, we decided to try our luck sailing with them on a sunny, 10-knot breeze and 11:30 max ebb forecast. I didn’t mention it to them, but the night before when I opened my mail, my new Boat US card had arrived, with towing service. An omen?
As you can see from the course, we made it, and with a 2.4-knot average, you can safely assume we didn’t get a tow. We started out with a gentle northeasterly and optimistically headed to the west side of Angel Island. With a strong ebb running we hugged the shore but also found ourselves in the windless lee of Angel. It was a perfect chance to demonstrate the spinnaker setup. As the Bay turned glassy and the ebb built I was looking over my shoulder, wondering if the Golden Gate Bridge was getting closer to our engineless efforts. Finally, the forecast westerly arrived and we were able to shift back to jib reach across to Treasure Island toward the Estuary. Once past Yerba Buena we reset the kite after a spinnaker-packing review and joined many Estuary dwellers on a warm, leisurely sail, only having to douse the chute in time to sail into Summer Sailstice‘s new slip.
Yes, we were happy to see new owners taking over ‘our’ boat, but we also have a lot of great memories from all our years of sailing her. The bright spot is we are looking forward to bringing our new-to-us Sabre 38 Finistere north from Southern California, though we’re not sure when that will fit into the schedule.
In the “small world” way, as we sailed up the fairway to the slip in Alameda, we passed John and Anita Dodge’s old Pearson 10M Windhover, which used to live five or six slips down the row from us at Corinthian Yacht Club. The two boats are now neighbors again with new owners in a new marina. We’ll look forward to seeing them both out sailing the Estuary as summer sailing returns.