The year was 2006.
I'd been sailing for quite a while at that point, starting out as a youth with Lasers and Invitations in the Eastern Townships and Laurentians of Quebec, and later graduating to larger boats on the Great Lakes of southern Ontario... but always OPB (other people's boats). Nice though it was, the urge was growing to own my own sailboat.
Oh, I'd like to brag that all those years of OPB experience led me smartly to buying a Sandpiper...you know, me, Einstein... together again... gettin' it done!! But, if you'd believe I'm really that intelligent, I've got a bridge over the Hudson River to sell you....cheap! Ahhh, no cheques please. Truth be told, I arrived at my decsion to buy a Sandpiper precisely because of being slow and unable to decide quickly which boat to buy.
To start with, let's agree that all those years I'd spent sailing had proven at least one thing: when it finally came to buying my own boat, I was pretty well confused, adrift, and muddle headed. Fact is, I'd discovered I liked several aspects of sailing...wet/dry; fast/leisurely; predicatble/unpredictable; solo/group...in short, I liked it all, and pretty much equally too.
So, in choosing a boat for myself: confusion emerged all too clearly.
Hmmmm... (insert head scratch here) 'which boat should I get?' became my mantra. All those boats out there... small ones, big ones; short ones, fat ones; light ones, heavy ones...I spent hours, days, weeks in fact, mulling the question. I was obsessed! The list was long and inexhaustible (unlike me), and at this point...my head hurt.
Undaunted, I pondered, pondered again, and then pondered some more....
On the one hand, I really enjoyed having martinis dockside with friends... (but the docking fees for a large boat would almost certainly and significantly compromise my bar fund, I surmmized). Still, I liked the look of those large, sleek, nouveau riche Beneteaus... But the purchase cost! Ouch! (there was that niggling bar fund issue again). Still, the convenience afforded by standup headroom in the head would be great... (but, if I didn't have a bar fund, I wouldn't really need a standup head much, now would I?). Oh, oh. My head was really spinning now....which was sorta bar fund-related I guess.
Anyhow, it was getting so complex, I was starting to wonder if I would ever find just the right boat. I struggled, but couldn't decide, and I was drowning in my own inability to make a decision. I needed help ...advice, and fast... if I were going to keep what little of my sanity there was left!
And so it was, that my perplexity led me to seek respite at the docks that day. I sat... mulling (ok, ok, it may have been more like pouting) when an Old Salt (seriously) happened by and stopped. Mused by my plight, the sage regaled me with stories of his youth and sailing a Sandpiper; espousing its simplcity against a backdrop of fun.
Suddenly, there it was - "BGO" (blinding glimpse of the obvious). How could I have missed it all this time? It was so clear.
KISS was the way to go. At that moment, intuitively (and eventually pragmatically), I saw that by adopting my new approach and keeping it simple (KISS) ... I'm leaving out the 'stupid' part... hey, it's MY story... my headache would go away.
So, armed with wisdom directing a return to basics, I became simple minded; not muddle-headed... albeit light headed with my new-found clarity (clearly, of course, a clarity not bar fund related). Am I being clear???
Tah, dah... Enter my Sandpiper. A small simple sloop, she was an Internet baby, very reasonably priced and fully found. The last minute (make that "last second") winning bid on eBay was an exciting moment, let me tell you. - Hudson Yacht Club
Now, boat purchased, I just needed a name for my beautiful little charge; one that ol' King Neptune would approve of.
I'd always thought that such names should have some sorta nautical connection... after all, it is a boat. I also felt that a personal connect to the boat owner would be nice.
UREKA!! ... got it! I was on a roll now. All that "pondering practice" had paid off. [Insert drum roll and trumpet sounds followed by simble clash]
Noah, is the name of my grandson, to whom I bequeath my love of sailboats... can't get much more significant than that, can you? And the name certainly is nautical... as in the biblical story of Noah's Ark.
As for the 'gem' part of the name, the reasons are obvious. The Piper is easy on the eyes and easy on the wallet. This boat defines simple: simple to rig, simple to sail, simple to use. Simply put: she's fun... a real gem
...and I use her a lot!
NOAH'S GEM is quick from the dock, using a fuel efficient 4hp gasoline outboard. She fuels excitement in all conditions of sail (I've sailed her in 30 knot winds without a worry). She responds predictably and efficiently to the touch of the tiller.
When at rest, the cockpit affords plenty of room for friends and family....and by the way, I have all the head room I need... on deck.
NOAH'S GEM trailers effortlessly too, inexpensively quenching my thirst for varied sailing venues.
Oh, and speaking of quenching...
...my bar fund?
Well, it seems I can afford to buy the imported stuff now.