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Me and "Tween'r" (Ericson 27)

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I've had a lot of boats during my 56 plus years of being on this earth, most of which have been sailboats. Sailing is my favorite. At age twelve we lived on a small 100 lake in north Alabama, Pine Lake. My dad got me a Super Snark. It was Super because it wasn't just a hull of exposed Styrofoam; it was encapsulated in plastic. Oh, and by the way, he threw in a book and said, "Have at it."

I did, and I've never looked back.

There was an American 16 as a teenager. It was a dog; though I really didn't know it at the time. But it did its job: kept me on the lake and out of trouble (mostly).

I got a bride, and during eight years of active duty with the world's finest Navy I was able to supplement my sailing bug on rented Lasers and Fly Scots from the base marina. It is there that I got the racing bug. I would PHRF race every boat I owned from that point on.

When I got out of the Navy it was time for another boat. I settled on a Ranger 22, The Duck. It was a great pocket rocket and a joy to sail. But, Joy, my wife wanted something a little bigger, something we could weekend on. I thought that was pretty cool, so I found an old '72 Pearson 26, Mental Floss. I fell in love with this boat too. Now I had two boats (one can never have too many, though my wife would argue otherwise). Both were raced, but I found myself being drawn more to Mental Floss. Perhaps just because it was a more comfortable boat. In 2004 I found The Duck a new owner and to this day I don't think it has ever left the slip. Had I known her fate.

One of the greatest things about being a sailor and having a wife is: The boat is never big enough. Enter the fin keel Catalina 30 Tall Rig Bow Sprit, Joy Ride.

So the point of this post really isn't to expose my sickness for acquiring sailboats, just to point out that there have been many along the way. And there were more too along the way. A sunfish, a Cal 21, another Pearson 26 (and it probably won't be my last), and two racing vintage Catalina 22s. There may be others that have slipped my mind.

Anyway, six years ago we sold Joy Ride to free up some capital to buy a house in Port St. Joe, Florida. Being without a boat felt foreign, but it was overshadowed by an old cottage down on the coast. Then in 2017 I started to get the itch and started looking for another boat. I had already picked up a Catalina 22, Deuce and a Quarter (hull 225), for racing, but I wanted something bigger.

I came across this '78 Ericson 27 that was listed with a local brokerage. I didn't know much about Ericson boats other than that they were quality Bruce King designs. It was going to need some attention, everything was original. There were no real upgrades except for maybe the 9.9 Honda four stroke on the back and that is more than a little over-kill. I knew she was going to need everything to bring her up to my standard, but that was okay. I decided that I wanted to jump into the bidding game (that is another story in itself). I showed the boat to my bride. Her first words were: "It's too small. We can't go backwards. It is pretty, but too small."

"Damn."

I convinced her that it was just a boat to get us through, not the Forever Boat she dreams about.

"So, it's an in-between boat, " she asked, "until we're ready to go big again?"

"Exactly."

"Then, if you get her, you'll name her Tween'r."

"Deal!"

On January 22, 2018 I stroked a check for $4,600.00 and took possession of Tween'r. What a great decision that has turned out to be. The more time I spend sailing the boat, the more I like it. She PHRF'd in at 228. We've raced her a few times, and even with her shitty sails, rotten bottom, bullshit non-traveller, and static back stay, she has an impressive turn of speed. Plus, she is just a pleasure to handle. I can't wait to whip this girl into proper sailing/racing form.

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Okay ... I've agreed with my wife that this wouldn't be the last boat. The Forever Boat was still out there somewhere waiting on me. But, after spending more time sailing and learning about Tween'r, I'm guesing that the next boat will be another Ericson. That said, if Tween'r continues to perform like she does, and if she turns out to be a good as I expect once I'm done with her, she may be in for another name change. I'm thinking Keep'r might fit just fine.

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  1. mfield's Avatar
    A heartwarming story for the Thanksgiving season - I hope you have many fun years with Tween'r.