T30 MAKEOVER
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DÉJÀ VU AND THE GREAT RACE
(From Ayacucho's earlier life)

In 1973, the year our Tartan was built, I cut my teeth on large boat sailing. I was young, single, eager, and unemployed - attributes that got me invited through a friend to help sail a new custom-ordered 38-foot sailboat from Mamaroneck, New York to Rye, New Hampshire and then on to participate in an overnight race in Maine. It was my first time on a sailboat much larger than twenty feet and it was a great way to get introduced to one.

When I first saw the boat from a high pier in Mamaroneck I was awestruck at the sight of a most beautiful Ohlson 38, a Swedish-built sloop with teak decks and toerails, mahogany coamings and cabin sides, and a lot of polished stainless steel hardware. This was a real yacht, and it was brand new. Her hull was dark green; the winches were large stainless steel Barients; the instruments were huge Kenyon gauges that included a close-haul indicator - something new to me. There were eleven sails including a tallboy, a spinnaker, a spinnaker staysail, a reacher, and a blooper. The working sails were all by Hood and the spinnakers were by Hard. The boom was a roller reefing style, which really didn't work right. The rigging was all rod and yours truly got to attach the backstay at the masthead after it arrived late. I didn't catch the significance at the time but the owner and broker were praising the unusual choice of a deep keel and standard mast-height combination for improved stiffness and handling for racing.

That whole first day was for fitting out and commissioning and I learned a lot about the equipment and setup. I even remember the snatch blocks; they had an odd-looking light brown soft shell and they had the price stickers still on them - an eye-popping $11.35. OPEC and the wild inflation years of the late 70s had yet to strike. I mention all these details for a reason.

I spent the next eleven days on that boat, motoring and sailing it to its homeport of Rye, New Hampshire and then on to Kennebunkport, Maine for the Boon Island overnight race. Despite the adventure the big boat thing was fast losing its appeal for me. Compared to the small boats I was used to the large yacht felt sluggish and I found myself wanting to be back on my Lightning with its more sports-car-like feel and response. I guess the appreciation of large boats is an acquired taste.

The boat was named Sachi, a Japanese word for happiness and was in deference to the owner's Japanese wife. I spent the rest of that summer and the next crewing for races on Sachi, and despite my dampened enthusiasm for large boats I got to appreciate the art of using many kinds of sails and flying a large spinnaker. I had been fascinated with spinnakers from the Lightnings and this added a new dimension wrestling with a chute that to me seemed measurable in acres.

The owner was always looking for crew and I invited a fellow named Bill to join us. No stranger to sailing he caught on quickly and his skills as a helmsman earned him a permanent spot for several more years. From crewing with him I found him to be a formidable force on the race course. But I faded away from the Ohlson and spent more time with my Lightning.

* * * *

Now, fast-forward to 1982. In the interim I gave up racing my wooden Lightning and joined as crew to two sisters, Joyce and Judy, in their much faster fiberglass Lightning. I married Joyce, acquired the taste for larger boats and bought a Catalina 27. We bought a house, and had our first child. A Brit named Nic blew into town, took a shine to sister Judy and married her. He fancied himself owning a Tartan 30 for some reason, found one (with my help) in Cos Cob, Connecticut and bought it - a 1973 model, which he named Kismet.