Well, the title says it all, I have a new (large, sorry Frawg) boat, say hello to Sooner everyone!
Sooner is a Rafiki 37 but a bit unusual in that unlike all the other ~50 Rafikis, she was built in Canada. This means she has some differences in layout in the inside as well as different ballast, aluminium tanks instead of iron and a few other differences. The PO also took off the boomkin (the little backstay extension at the stern) and cut down the boom, as apparently the stock mainsail was MASSIVE and too much of a hassle to deal with in a controllable manner, and also led to some pretty severe weather helm.
She’s very, very different from Gudge – she displaces TWICE as much (26500lbs vs 13500lbs), despite being on paper only a foot longer on deck, although waterline length is almost 3 foot longer. She also has a full keel, as opposed to Gudge’s modified fin. All combined, it means she handles a bit like an oil tanker that’s eaten too many biscuits and utterly refuses to back up in any controllable manner. Hopefully, it also means she’ll track upwind better as well as being knocked about less in chop.
Sooner is a very different boat from what I thought I’d end up with, being a traditionally styled double ender and I’ve grown used to sailing Gudge, who is more of a performance cruiser type. However, the small bit of sailing in light winds we did actually surprised me with how well she moved in light airs (once she got up to speed – acceleration is definitely slow) and she’s never going to be able to dance around in 2-3 knot winds like Gudge did but the trade-offs of being built like an actual tank will be worth it. As well as being very heavily built, the rudder is a massive, externally hung structure off the back of the keel which means it’s extremely unlikely to get damaged.
She’s a cutter rigged boat, with a tiller (both long term envies of mine on other boats), and has a pretty whopping tankage – 200 gallons water and at least 120 gallons diesel (it may be more, the standard Rafikis are 120 gallons but the PO thinks that sooner is closer to 170 gallons). The storage space inside is also outstanding – there are cupboards, nooks and storage everywhere on the boat. There is also the sorely-missed-on-Gudge quarterberth, which I can predict becoming the garage – although I will try my hardest not to fill it up with crap.
So why/how this boat? It’s a bit of a funny story – before I went around Vancouver Island I bought a sea anchor from someone, and didn’t think much more of it.
Then later, I ran into a Canadian boat at Coos Bay and then again at Eureka and had dinner with them a few times, when it somehow came out that they were the ones I’d bought my sea anchor from years before! I later saw them again in Mexico, just before they crossed for Hawaii.
Fast forward a couple of years, and I see a boat I thought I recognised for sale and messaged the seller – and it was them! Two trips over to Pender and one test sail later and she was bought, and the whole thing starts again…
Also yes I know that this is now the third time I’ve bought the first boat I looked at. Yes I know I said that this time was going to be different and that I was going to take my time, shut uppppp