This is Evening Light as I first saw her, sitting at the back of a commercial yard in Kingston Ontario. The yard was bustling, full of energy. Boats were being built and refurbished, chunky powerful mostly shallow draft fire boats. They were crafted from aluminum and fire, welded seams, and big functional topsides. Fascinating stuff. And I have not one picture of the other things going on in the yard.
Looking for a boat that would become the Evening Light is a long distance adventure. When you live far from boating centers like the Chesapeake, or further east along the sounds, is online dating with all the attendant drama and uncertainty. The biggest uncertainty is “What do I really want”. This is tempered of course by “What can I really afford?”
It is also a continued series of almost encounters. Boats that were almost right, except for that one thing. Or ran away with someone else before I could react. There was this traditionally designed centerboarder that I chased for a long time, and had three of them sold out from under me. And I got wrapped up in the chase. I would have loved my nearly mythical centerboarder and the shallow places she could sneak into not to mention her handsome lines and rugged massively over designed fiberglass hull.
And then the reality sunk in, she was small inside, and dark. I am a photographer practically before anything and dark places are not where I choose to live. I need light sculpting the world around me for inspiration. And the centerboard was one system to maintain. So I changed focus.
Another Date (no Evening Light yet)
I was getting closer to the Evening Light. I had actually seen her picture a number of times at this point but rejected her because of her asking price, reluctantly. So many people have purchased at the top of their budget only to be ambushed by the unexpected, flaws inherent or acquired, and had to sell before the job is done. I was on I mission. I had to stay more focused. Walk away from that beautiful flared bow. This is not the Evening Light you are looking for.
Several (probably more than several if truth be told) dates later I ended up in Deltaville, Va. I had my eye open for a Rasmus 35. Why the Rasmus was high on my list is a whole post in itself. As is Darlene Logan of Lippincott Marine who was an angel through this whole process. Without her I would have not survived this dating process.
Back to Deltaville. The Rasmus was light on her feet. When you stepped aboard she responded. Not what I expected from the reviews, but what can you tell from the reviews, they are other (usually) men writing these things, with other needs.
And this where I began to discover that my needs were, and continue to be different than many sailors. I don’t just want the light. I need the light. I define my life by the light.
Which is why the date with the Rasmus ended early despite the many hours it took driving see her. Time not wasted though. I hope she found good sailing partners. She was a touch worn, but well cared for and has many years ahead of her, perhaps with another family with growing children.
Fast forward months later. My sister Robin (Scientist, Explorer, and a steadying influence in a turbulent world) offered to help me acquire a Saturna 33. Now for some reason, later discovered, another post perhaps, they all the available Saturnas seemed to be in Canada. And I don’t own a car.
Much logistical magic later, involving a rental car, two ferries, hitchhiking across an island in the Saint Lawrence river, and meeting up with a stranger in a ferry terminal (in the handsome Canadian city of Kingston), I found myself standing looking up at my first Saturna.
And then I climbed aboard the boat that would later become the Evening Light. And reality sunk in. With Robin’s help I could afford her alright, but she wasn’t worth the asking price. Evening Light had been full of water, on the inside.
So after a cursory examination we went off to see one of her sister ships.