by Marlene A. Sassaman
It all started when a sailing friend introduced the notion of my buying a wood/epoxy boat that was just what I wanted.
What I had said was that I wanted a 35 foot trimaran with an inboard diesel.
Why 35 feet?
From all I read this size would be large enough to handle ocean crossings yet small enough to single hand with relative ease.
Again from what I read an inboard diesel made the most sense for a blue water cruiser.
What the boat was to be made of was never given a thought.
Such details mundaned me.
At first sight I wasn't impressed.
In person the boat looked clunkier than in the video of it I had seen.
But on second sight the interior wood finish made the engine room look like a nice place to hang out.
After all many hours would be spent changing the oil, replacing hoses, and simply contemplating what might be wrong when buzzers go off or the fuel is depleted (not that I wished myself bad luck, but I am savvy enough to know things do not always go the way we plan).
Anyway, despite my novice eye, the more I walked about the deck, the more I spoke with Jim Brown, and the more I inspected every nook and cranny I believed this John Marples designed 35 footer would be "Good Enough" to take me where I wanted to go.
After a year and a half I must confess that every other boat designer and sailor who has stepped aboard has made a favorable remark about the workmanship Steve Neal put into building my Marples 35.
The caveat, of course, is that despite everyone's reluctance in my setting off alone, knowing she will stay afloat eases my worst fears.
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