Not to mention the 2 motorbikes or 2 cars..
Well we enjoyed sailing out in our Leisure 17sl Monty so much last year as a treat for making it to the Nauti 40's this year We've upgraded Monty to Teazy - a Hunter Horizon 23
This is how it came to be...
A long time ago in a galaxy far,
ok ok OK! OK!! - this isn't as interesting as Star Wars and I know many people told me when I went from 14ft (WWP) to 17ft I should of gone up to a 22 - but at the time 22 felt like the QE2-2! - & I was in no rush, I had all the time in the world to learn sailing...
Then life has this way of kinda throwing you off track doesn't it.. I won't go into it here, but the end of last year was a really tough one for both mine and Kathy's family, suddenly you get the feeling life isn't as long as it should be, and actually you don't have all the time in the world.
I can't rate the Leisure 17 SL highly enough - anyone out there after a first, or smallish sailer, you would be a fool to not put one high on your list, Monty was comfy, easy to handle, roomy inside (for a 17) due to her lay out, when we were out in big swells she didn't mind, I took her out reefed in Chi harbour in a force 6 and could still sail her single handed, I also think they are good looking boats too - this was the reason when I wanted something a little bigger my first port of call was a Leisure 23SL. I would of bought one too if it wasn't for some idiot in Dorset advertising his on the Leisure owners club, with pics of it sitting on a nice trailer, than half way through negotiations on price - he sold the trailer.. and still wanted the same money for it..
With the other Leisure 23SL I liked, being up in Scotland.. I started to sniff around at what else was available.
I've always read very favourable things about Hunter Sonata's, & when I owned Whisper I used to read reviews on the bilge keel version - the Duette and think about when that day would come.
The criteria for the new boat was:
- More space (most things have more than a 17f'ter) - a Leisure 23 SL ✓ Hunter Duette ✓
- Bilge keel - Leisure 23 SL ✓ Hunter Duette ✓
- A boat ready to sail, I didn't or hadn't made time to sort Subuci so didn't want another project boat. - Leisure 23 SL ✓ Hunter Duette ✓
- Bunks long enough for me at 6'4 to stretch out while sleeping - (not as easy as you think) - Leisure 23 SL ✓ Hunter Duette ✓
- Bit faster than Monty - especially in light winds, with the possibility later of club racing - this kinda ruled out my 1st choice, the 23SL - a Leisure 23 SL x Hunter Duette ✓
- A proper galley and heads, meaning we could stay overnight on a mooring (free trips away?!) - fairly easy - Leisure 23 SL ✓ Hunter Duette ✓
- A Spinnaker - Leisure 23 SL ✓ Hunter Duette ✓
- £6000ish - Leisure 23 SL ✓ Hunter Duette ✓
- An Outboard - to save costly inboard issues - Leisure 23 SL ✓ Hunter Duette ✓
- Small enough to still feel like we've achieved something when we sail somewhere, but big enough to feel safe in the Solent. - 22 to 26ft - Leisure 23 SL ✓ Hunter Duette ✓
- 26ft or less to fit on my mooring space at Wilson's - Leisure 23 SL ✓ Hunter Duette ✓
- Too big to comprehend towing it home and putting it on the drive (more on this later) Leisure 23 SL ✓ Hunter Duette ✓
Now a nice clean Duette does it all, sails well, is fast, comfy, safe, good reputation, active owners association.. pretty much does everything other than exist.. I'd looked at quite a few scruffy ones on the interweb thing.. then went up to Essex, (oddly enough about 1 mile away from where I'd tried to view a Hurley 20, Blue Tit, when I bought Monty)
This was a nice clean good condition Duette, but the price had now crept up to £7500.. too much in my opinion, the duette looked good, but the inside was very old fashioned (to me) dark, lots of wood, with the 'heads' up front under the front births.. i kinda got the "what does an extra £1000 buy you" bug.. so the 6k budget was blown, but not by much.. and not by anywhere near what the guy was asking for a pretty clean, well spec'd Hunter Horizon 23
she's a Sonata/Duette hull, twin keels like the duette, with a vastly more modern insides and a slightly reduced rig for safe family cruising.