A 35-foot Hinterhoeller Niagara built in 1985, Plaintiff’s Rest is a classic sailing vessel fit to satisfy any sailor’s thirst for blue water.
She is moderately heavy (don’t worry, unlike women of the human variety, she takes that as a compliment) so she points well and holds a steady course with little effort at the helm. She is also well-equipped with all of the necessary rigging and sails to get us due south and back (although the return trip is currently optional). The deck is also wide open (again, a compliment) and offers a great place to throw up a hammock and throw back a rum drink, preferably in that order, or you’re going to struggle with the hammock. Trust me.
Down below, she offers thirty-five whole feet of luxury at sea.
Well, luxury is a relative term. To us, she’s spacious and roomy and has all the bells and whistles we feel we need (including the appropriate number and location of drink holders throughout, a definite priority for me). She also has many design features, add-ons and accoutrements that I can neither pronounce nor understand at this time but I’m assured they are all very good sea-worthy things that make her a true, tested vessel.
Until I learn more about sailing and can really do her justice, the best I can say for now is that we knew the minute we stepped on board that she was the boat for us. For those of you who haven’t, shopping for a boat is a little like trying to find the right woman. One who will treat you right and do what needs to be done with little to no complaint. Sure, the slinky, sexy broad in the tight, leather number looks good and will go fast, but she’s going to cost you a pile of money and will probably require a lot of maintenance. Our boat is more like a jovial, thick-forearmed domestic model who keeps the house spotless and always smells like cake. That’s the kind of woman you really want, and that’s the kind of boat we found.
Update (January, 2014):
Well, not that I am any kind of sailing expert, but I have learned a bit since my first description of the boat when I started this blog back in February, 2013. I learned during the harrowing Gulf Crossing that she’s a helluva boat, built for blue waters, rough seas and just about anything these salty waters have in store for her.
I’ll never forget when she was heeling port to starboard, the swinging wildly 30 degrees either way with each mighty tip, and, one of my first times at the helm, my fingers gripped tight around the leather on the wheel, and I shouted to Phillip: “If you tell me (as she heels sharply to starboard) … she’s not going to tip over (as she groans violently back to port) … I’m going to believe you!” And, tip over she did not. That beautiful boat battled the dark waters of the Gulf in 4-6 foot seas for days and brought us back safely to shore. It was my first passage, and I’ll never forget it. I trust our boat to take us anywhere.
But, during, after and since, she has suffered some minor losses and undergone some significant repairs and upgrades. We lost the dinghy while crossing the Gulf (but she managed, miraculously, to navigate the treacherous waterways alone and make it back to us!). We lost the transmission mid-crossing and had to replace her while the boat spent the better part of two months stranded in Carabelle.
Since then, we’ve been taking her out gunkholing (a technical term I’ve learned) just about anytime the weather permits and she’s not out of commission for repairs.
We’ve done a lot of work on her since we got her home:
A thorough bottom job and repainting of the hull.
Changed out the battery bank.
Got creative with some outdoor camping chair canvas.
Replaced the gaskets, zincs and impeller in the coolant system and put in a new raw water strainer.
Replaced the suction tube in the head. Fuunnnn …
Redid the upholstery in the saloon.
All of this while still taking her out for some seriously breath-taking weekend cruises around Pensacola Bay, Red Fish Point, Fort McRae, Little and Big Sabine,
and finding time for all of our other hobbies, past-times and
Cruising is an adventure and we believe this beautiful boat has much in store for us. We plan to sail her as far as she’ll take us.
Life is short. Sail while you can.