We bought a Wauquiez Centurion 42 and renamed her Sweet Adeline, declining superstitious beliefs on the practice. Wauquiez is a name you may not get right unless you’re Flemish. Centurion is the model — think Firebird as a car equivalent. The number is just the length in feet.
Manufactured in 1985, the fiberglass construction is weighty by today's standards, more robust than most modern builds. Teak decks, cutter-rigged for down-shifting in heavy weather, a powerful inboard diesel engine, a water maker, wind generator, solar power, wind vane steering… the list of ocean cruising features went on and on. In fact, this boat had already been sailed around the world, by the previous owners, over nine years. Sure, there was some deferred maintenance and various rough edges to deal with. Still, the price was something we could wrap our heads around, and we'd have a few years to get her back to Bristol Fashion, or near to it, before setting out.
We sailed Puget Sound a few years before planning got serious, set a departure date for our big adventure, and postponed it once. Then, set it again and committed to making it happen.
During this time, I’d done various boat projects but realized the year before departure would require a big push. To take this boat back out on the ocean for the first time in years, we needed her hull, rig, and equipment to be as safe and dependable as possible. As if our lives depended on it — which they did. Bringing our fifteen-year-old with us only added to that responsibility, not that we'd have slacked off absent this feature.
The list of projects leading up to our departure is probably not interesting to most. Just know the effort was long, challenging, and expensive. Thanks to friends and hired experts, we got it all done. To clarify, we’d fixed everything needing repair and made many sensible upgrades to boot.
When we left, the boat was READY, and everything was working. We couldn't foresee at the time that everything that had been working when we bought the boat and hadn't failed was precisely the list of gear, features, and structural components that we could expect to fail during 10,000 miles of ocean voyaging. With hindsight, those failures were utterly predictable.
As they say, the definition of cruising is “making repairs in exotic places.” Sure, I expected some of this in a general way, but reality turned out to be much more challenging than I could have guessed.
What, you’re not surprised?
Share your thoughts, folks are interested!
I’m writing these stories to promote my professional practice, Moonraker Creative, LLC. And to clear my head. I hope you enjoy reading this series about the voyage of Sweet Adeline, interspersed with the occasional post about a project or related musing.
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