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The Day a Sailboat Changed Our Lives

Admiral,” my high-tech IT son-in-law grinned broadly as his FaceTime image materialized on the iPad, “I need your advice!”

I could see he was in his office, a high-rise overlooking Puget Sound. When a younger man asks an elder for advice, it is a huge honor, and one needs to give it his full attention.

“John, I’m all ears; what’s up?”

“My wife, the Admiral’s daughter, wants to buy a boat.”

I couldn’t suppress my smile. I must have raised my daughter well. “If a wife tells her husband to buy a boat, that’s a good wife and that’s a problem you want to have.”

“Of course, I want one too, but it’s a lot of money… how did you buy Pegasus?”

“Simple. Sandy [my wife] wanted her.”

“Come on,” my son-in law-urged. “I need the full story.”

I could see my eyes on the screen, looking up to the right, searching, remembering. “Well, our old boat was not big enough to have our kids and growing number of grandkids aboard for long stretches, so we were looking for a larger one. This was back in 1999. We had been visiting yacht brokerages and looking at listings, but anything I liked in our price range, Sandy did not. Can you imagine that?”

John’s head cocked and eyes squinted. “Doesn’t surprise me; you two are all-time disagreement champions.”

“Long story short,” I continued, “We’d been looking all day up in Sausalito and coming up blank. Sandy was hot and cranky. She asked the broker to show us a boat we would like, regardless of the price, you know, ‘just for fun.’ I remember the broker looking away quickly so that we could not see the look on his face. He took us over to the high-end, bigger-boat section of the marina. You know, the place where only rich people keep their yachts.”

“Yeah, believe me, I know what you mean,” John gulped.

“We came around the corner of the dock, and there was this huge, sleek white cutter with a red and black winged horse painted on the side at the bow. Remember those flawless, honey-colored varnished railings and the gray-honed teak decks?”

sailboat pegasus
How did the “disagreement champions” end up with the beautiful Pegasus?
© 2023 Al Fricke/ Pegasus

“Oh, yeah, you kept them sparkling, but I think you liked those massive winches and that fast, rigid inflatable dinghy best.”

“John, I gotta level with you. I was intimidated and just knew we could never afford such a boat. Forty-five feet was as long as our house, her mast was almost six stories up, and she weighed something like 15 tons; twice as heavy as anything I had sailed.”

“Keep going.”

“I was up on deck, drooling over all the navigation gear, the massive anchor windlass and the world-class autopilot. Sandy called from below, in a half whisper, ‘Al, there’s a full aft stateroom with a king bed and its own head and shower, and the galley has a big reefer and freezer and all kinds of storage space. It even has a microwave. The woodwork down here is luscious.'”

John piped in, “Don’t forget the two radars and the walk-in engine room. I can just see the two of you on board. So how did you end up with the boat?”

“We were still aboard, the salesman left us on our own; you know how they do when they know the hook is set? Sandy gave me that flirtatious, wide-eyed look she has and nodded her head up and down. I just laughed her off. I thought she was kidding — until, that is, her eyes narrowed and a chill went through me, and I’m telling you, she had a voice I’d never heard before. ‘Get this boat!’ she said.”

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1 Comment

  1. Roger Briggs 1 year ago

    “Famed yacht designer Robert Perry considers the Norseman 447 to be his “masterpiece”. Given that he’s designed several bluewater cruisers on everyone’s top 20 list, that’s an impressive claim.”

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