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My Vancouver 25 Sailboat

I've been told that around 80 of these boats have been built, in Taiwan and in England. I have no idea if that's true, but I know that Dolphin was built in Taiwan in 1983. She had been owned by one man from new, and she was for sale only because he had died, and his son had a degenerative disease that prevented him from sailing.

Here is how I saw her that first day on the hard in Point Pleasant NJ.

On the hard at Point Pleasant NJClick on the pictures for a larger view On the hard at Point Pleasant NJ

Dolphin seemed fundamentally very sound to me, and the problems that I could see were soluble. I climbed the ladder to her deck, and my first thought was that I was on the wrong boat because this seemed so perfect that it couldn't be in my price range. The more I looked around, inside and outside, the more I liked her. I stayed on board looking around for about three hours before saying goodbye to the broker and leaving. I called my family later, and remember saying that if this wasn't the right boat. then I didn't know what could be.

Well, my hindbrain had obviously decided that I wanted this boat, but it took a few days for my frontal lobes to catch up. They were going through a process something like this:

"My likely primary use is for day sailing or weekending on fairly sheltered waters in good weather. A large cockpit would be good. Shallow draft with a lifting keel would let me go anywhere. An outboard motor would be economical and simple. Lightweight would be easy to handle. A minimum amount of wood gives easy maintenance."
"This boat has a small cockpit for Blue Water sailing. The draft is 4ft 6inches with a full keel. It has an inboard diesel. It's heavy -- at least 7,000 pounds. It's a real Taiwanese Teak Farm with a wooden interior and a lot of exterior wood."
"This boat doesn't meet any of my logical requirements"

Here's the thing, though. Almost by definition, a sailboat makes no logical sense. It's not a rational thing to have (not that I'm defending golf clubs or hang gliders, here), so the only way in which it can ever make any sort of sense to own one, is if its very existence gives you pleasure. And Dolphin does that. In spades.

Dolphin at anchor at St Michaels MD, click for a larger pictureHere she is at anchor outside the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St Michaels MD. A small half-page brochure from when she was new gives some idea of what the Vancouver 25 was meant to be. A boat designed to take two people anywhere in comfort. A description from the magazine Sailing Canada makes her sound enticing.

So... How did it work out?

Rather well. She sails beautifully; faster than I expected and (uh, oh!) better balanced than the Orion. The draft allows her into most places (and she's not too hard to unstick -- so far). The cockpit isn't huge, but with any reasonable number of people aboard she is astonishingly comfortable both for daysailing and overnight stays. I can go to the Annapolis sailboat show and see very few boats that I like better. None of them are something that I could aspire to unless it were my home. She's a wonderful boat.

These pictures show a new Vancouver 25.