Here is a look back at the boats that I owned during my years living in Bermuda.
My first boat was a 15 foot Enterprise sailing dinghy. It was kept on a trailer when not in use, but getting it in and out of the water, via a steep boat ramp, proved to be an annoyance. Because of the inconvenience, I soon sold it.
Next up was a Sunfish. Being shorter and lighter than the Enterprise, it was easier for me to get it in and out of the water. It was also better suited to single-handed sailing and it helped me to begin to understand the basics of sailing.
My first ‘real boat’ was a classic Alberg designed Sea Sprite 23, named ‘Gemstone’. She was hull number 713, built in 1980 by C.E. Ryder. I bought her in May 2001 from Peter Richens, who had owned her since about 1986.
The Sea Sprite 23 is a beautiful boat with classic lines and a solid keel. It is a very stable boat that is suitable for novice sailors. It has a double berth up front with a lift-up hatch to access the toilet/head. There are also a couple of single berths, one on each side of the entrance hatch. There is a fresh water storage tank under one of the single berths and a storage locker under the other. There is also a small sink and an ice cooler in the cabin. It has a spacious cockpit with a rear well for an outboard motor. So it is well suited for day sailing or for weekend outings.
I really enjoyed that boat and was looking forward to developing my sailing skills with her. Unfortunately, fate would intervene, after only six months of ownership.
In November 2001, “Gemstone” was destroyed by the tropical storm that subsequently became Hurricane Karen. She was on her new mooring in Hamilton Harbour and had been secured by two new rope bridles, but the intensity and duration of the storm resulted in both bridles being severed. Once she broke free from the mooring, she was then blown across the bay and was repeatedly slammed into a stone wall.
After the storm, I went to check on the boat and saw that she was not on the mooring. Before long, I found her, laying broken alongside the wall. The resulting damage left her beyond repair. It was a distressing situation but at least she was fully insured, so I didn’t suffer financial loss.
After the loss of Gemstone, I waited over 8 years before purchasing my fourth boat, in May 2010. This time I bought a powercraft, rather than a sailboat. The 17 foot Stingray Bowrider, called Sea Dragon, was powered by a 115hp Yamaha outboard.
This time around, I was very particular about where I moored my boat. I was able to find a nicely sheltered mooring off Castle Harbour. There were some rough storms but the boat remained secure on her mooring.
The Bowrider proved to be a good little family boat, taking us out for relaxing days in Castle Harbour. I also used her for some fishing trips, but she was best suited to inshore cruising. My grandson particularly enjoyed his outings on the boat.
By late 2013, my big overland trip was approaching and I made the decision to sell the boat. I didn’t want to leave the boat untended on a mooring for six months whilst I was away, and the proceeds from the sale would be used on the trip.
So, the boat was sold and I have been without a boat since. There are no plans to buy a boat now that we are living in Portugal, so I am left with my memories of boating in Bermuda.