Table of Contents

  1. Happy Anniversary!
    1. How Denise got started climbing…
    2. How Andrew got started climbing…
  2. Boat Shopping
    1. First Impressions
    2. Post Mortem
  3. A funny, happy anniversary

Happy Anniversary!

Andrew and I are celebrating our 5th anniversary today.

We spent the day pursuing our passions, beginning with a short session at the climbing gym, SenderOne. Andrew and I had been members there for a couple years since we segued from playing tennis to rock climbing.

How Denise got started climbing…

Rock climbing was something I had done once when I was in high school.

Each year, from the graduating class, my AP chemistry teacher would take a handful of students to Joshua Tree for a weekend of trad climbing. As one of the lucky ones chosen before I left for college, to me it was a phenomenal experience: from car camping, learning to belay, and just goofing off.

I could never look at a vertical face of a building, fence or tree the same again. I would look for toeholds and hand holds, where I could traverse, etc. Since that experience, I probably only went to a climbing gym a handful of times.

Joshua Tree, June 1989
Joshua Tree, June 1989

How Andrew got started climbing…

Andrew on the other hand had done quite a bit of mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest, hiked the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier, and could build an ice cave if needed for survival. Basically he’s my very own personal Bear Grylls. So when we said goodbye to tennis and hello to rock climbing, we wanted to see how, as a couple, we could learn and grow from being able to do it together.   

Andrew testing anchor before rappelling
Andrew testing anchor before rappelling

The original idea was to go to a gym and work on building finger strength, overall body strength and techniques so that we would eventually do more of it outdoors.

While we did finally go out a few times to Ortega Falls for sport and trad routes and once to Joshua Tree for Andrew’s birthday, the reality was, we got used to the convenience of going to a gym. Going to the gym meant we can go about doing whatever else we needed to do on the weekend.

With my early retirement coming up, I sense we will now be able to climb more outdoors and perhaps exclusively outdoors as we set sail around the world.

Denise rappelling down an Ortega Falls route
Denise rappelling down an Ortega Falls route

Boat Shopping

The other activity we did was to head down to San Diego to check out a 1998 Hallberg-Rassy 36 called Spindrift listed for $159,900.

Hallberg-Rassy 36
Hallberg-Rassy 36

She is a masthead sloop, with a fin hull and rudder on skeg. When we stepped on board, Andrew went forward to the bow to begin his visual inspection while I spoke to the listing broker. She had sailed around the Pacific Northwest and then was shipped to Florida where she then sailed around the Caribbean.

HR 36 Saloon
HR 36 Saloon

Unlike the previous broker, this one had actually taken her out so we were able to ask more questions, like:

  • How does she sail?
  • How does the engine sound?
  • When underway, did you hear any noises that caused concern such as creaks?

First Impressions

Unlike Kittiwake and Any Isle, when standing at the helm and looking forward, I felt confident that I could maneuver her. I liked the placement of the engine controls. I liked the fact that she had a fixed windscreen. There was great stowage in the lazarette, and the cockpit was comfortable.

HR 36 Saloon
HR 36 Saloon

The interior was in great condition, especially the wood finishes. The aft cabin was laid out with a double+single; the galley starboard had decent stowage. When we lifted the settee, we saw all the spares stored. She came with 3 different sized sails, and she had a wet head. From a passage making perspective, she had a water-maker installed (24/gal per hour) and an autopilot. All other elements to make her off-grid would still be needed as well as sails and running rigging based on what we could see.

Post Mortem

As we were driving back home, Andrew and I compared notes about Spindrift. Our sense was she didn’t feel like we could make her a home. She felt more like a RV camper to get you from one place to another, but as soon as you pick up a mooring, you are desperate to go ashore rather than settle in and rest after a long passage.

A funny, happy anniversary

Verdict? All in all, I guess we felt the 36’ was on the small side for us.

After seeing all the spares stowed under the settee, we weren’t sure where the provisions would go. If we could only store a can of beans, we may have to ration out 1 bean per day as well as rely on fishing for survival and not for sport.

Then I asked where we would store all the cat food and kibble, and Andrew scoffed. Of course, Oreo and Xiao Long (our tuxedo cats) were wont for organic, grain-free food twice a day, while we were rationing beans.

Andrew decidedly would eat cat food as well. Happy anniversary!

If you would like to delve deeper into our adventure as it unfolds, please consider joining the Serenade Wind Crew. Our sister site provides more information on what it means to be part of the crew, unlock the pirate’s booty, and receive other exclusive access and benefits.The first 50 members have a gift waiting.