I admit it. I've had a love affair with a boat named Floridays for over 20 years. She's a beautiful Catalina 28 MKII that we purchased new in 2003. Sleek lines, dependable components, easy to sail, roomy cockpit...what's not to like? The name Floridays was selected by family vote years ago. Floridays is a wonderful book of poetry and illustrations about the old Florida written by Don Blanding. Floridays is also a song and an album by singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett that covers in song what the book covers in verse.
As a saltwater cruiser, together we explored the bays and estuaries of the Texas coast. Then retirement arrived and we moved her to the Hill Country region of the state. Reborn as a freshwater cruiser on a clear spring-fed inland lake, we've sailed her, anchored off in coves, drifted on summer breezes and rafted up with friends and family for some truly memorable times.
About a year ago we started thinking about how nice a few more creature comforts could be during the long Texas summer. Air conditioning was at the top of the list, but so was a microwave oven and softer bedding. We started our search and over the course of the next several months looked at an array of slightly larger but comparable boats with desirable features. We even examined the costs of adding air conditioning to Floridays.
Finally, after many days of research, we settled on the Catalina 315, part of Catalina's new "5" series. We quickly discovered that the 315 was in high demand and the used market was very small. Quality boats would appear and disappear from listings literally overnight. We contacted our broker, that we had known for 25 years, and had sold us Floridays. After intently listening to our wish list, he suggested that, if we could wait, a new 315 might be the best solution.
As a trusted advisor (and friend), he was upfront and candid. He told us about supply chain issues and backlogs. He said it could take as long as a year for a new boat, but it would be well worth the wait. He cautioned us to delay in putting Floridays on the market because he believed that she would be snapped up quickly.
He was correct on all counts.
We are rapidly approaching a year since we decided to purchase the new 315. Floridays is still a beauty and still floating in our slip, but she has a new owner and will soon make a cross-country trip. We're expecting a call from the transport company any day now. It'll be like saying goodbye to a dear old friend.
Last week we received the hull number for the new boat. That was a real treat and very exciting. Our dream was about to become fiberglass, teak and stainless steel. Since we had selected all the interior and exterior options for the boat a year ago, it was time to look at the paperwork anew. We were amazed to find that we had actually made some very solid decisions and no changes were needed.
We don't yet have a firm delivery date from Catalina, but we're not concerned. We know that a quality boat will take some time to construct. If we want to sail, we can depend on our friends. They always need good crew members.
So, in a few days, we will anticipate our future adventures as we gaze into our empty slip. Right now, many questions abound in our minds as think about the new boat. Manufacturers have made significant improvements and changes over the last 20 years. Everything we knew and had mastered on Floridays will be slightly to radically different on this new boat. No more climbing on the cabin top to "help" the main go up. No Dutchman flaking system. Cool air inside on a toasty summer night. Refrigeration for cold things and a microwave for hot things. The list goes on and on.
As our friend the broker proclaimed at signing, "you're moving from a great camper to a wonderful condo on the lake!".
In the end, it really comes down to the excitement and anticipation associated with change. Change is good, but also a little scary sometimes.
So, to add a little stability to our nautical lives, we've decided that we're NOT changing the name of the boat.
We will continue our family tradition and launch the new boat with the same name as the old boat - FLORIDAYS.