We started firming up our international cruising ambitions in early 2018, which meant it was time to start looking for our next boat.

We switched from Duende (28′) to Manzanita (36′) at the end of 2015, after deciding that we wanted to live together in the Bay Area for a few more years. We wanted a little bit more room, an enclosed head, and a few more modern systems, and the Catalina 36 was perfect for that. Great for coastal cruising, and highly suited to the SF Bay, Manzanita was not our forever boat. We wanted a bluewater cruising boat.

The Specs & The Search

We started our search, looking at Craigslist & Yachtworld.com in locations along the Pacific Coast. We had a few specifications:

  1. Bluewater capable
  2. Fiberglass
  3. In good condition
  4. Under 40 feet, as many marinas start charging a higher rate-per-foot above 40 feet
  5. Comfortable for living & sailing

The first boat we went to see was a Lady Helmsman named “Vagabond”, located in Santa Cruz Harbor. Vagabond was previously owned by Charles’ father, and is a recommended bluewater yacht. It was fun to see, had a beautiful line for sailing, and was a rare tiller helm – but it did not meet our comfort & condition desires.

We looked at a Cal 39, and had some brief interests in other boats, but during our search, we saw a listing for a Fairweather Mariner 39 down in San Pedro. It was out of the price range we were hoping to spend, but the pictures were captivating. Glorious teak interior, with a very distinctive central arch, and a ton of natural light marked the interior. The exterior was beautiful too, with very attractive lines.

We decided not to pursue it, but I kept showing friends & family photos of the Mariner, just to admire it. I checked for other Fairweather Mariners, but it was not until a few weeks later that another one popped up in Dana Point, within our price range. We were thrilled, and dug into our due diligence on the boat. We read listings, cruising forums, Bob Perry’s own writings about it, talked to yacht club salts, etc. This seemed like a great possibility.

Windbound’s Listing Photos

Road Trip

We spoke with both brokers, and set up a date to see them in mid-April of 2018. We arranged to see the higher-priced one first, so that we could stringently compare it with the lower-priced one in the afternoon.

Road trip! We drove to LA on Friday night, and got to spend a night with my long-time friend Will and his partner Courtney. Saturday morning, we got up & on the road again, headed to San Pedro for a bagel and some coffee before our first appointment.

The Expensive One

The Expensive One was gorgeous, without a doubt. A broker showed the boat, as the seller is on his new boat in the Caribbean already. I had a very long checklist of things that we were looking for, wanted to take notes on, wanted to inspect. We had a few tools with us to check how the deck sounded, and a flashlight to look deep into the bilge.

After hopping off the Expensive One, we drove down to Dana Point. It was a beautiful drive, and a gorgeous day for it. We got there a little early, so we took a nice long walk (during which I got pooped on by a seagull, gross), then got some lunch.

The Reasonable One: A Thorough Inspection

For Windbound’s showing, we knew that Teresa from PopYachts would be there. Terry, the owner, also came to the showing, and was just wonderful. He patiently stayed with us for 3 hours on that first day, as we looked at every inch of the boat we could think of, and asked him questions. He was warm and personable, and really loved the boat. Terry got Windbound for a song just a few years after it was made, when the first owner defaulted on his loan, and took great care of it for nearly 30 years. He had to sell it for personal reasons, and expressed his happiness at the idea of selling it to a young couple.

While there were some obvious reasons Terry’s boat was lower priced (un-maintained wood, no roller furler, lower quality exterior cushions, and an older navigation system), it had nearly all of the same strengths, as well as a few advantages (drier bilge). And of course, nothing sells like potential! An older navigation system meant that we got to install a brand new one, and get to know it ourselves, rather than contending with the one from 2012 on the other Mariner.

Overall, we loved the boat, and we loved Terry. After our several hours on the boat, we set up a sea trial for the following day. Typically you need to put a deposit down before the sea trial, but Terry trusted our interest and knew we were only going to be in the area for one more day.

The Sea Trial

The Sunday sea trial was great. Terry and his girlfriend Lisa met us on the boat. We started the engine, and he took us out of the slip. Once we got into the fairway, I took the helm. Charles walked around getting the feel of the deck, and inspecting the hardware. Once we were out of the marina, Charles and Terry raised the main sail, then put up the foresail.

The wind was light, but we kept a good pace heading Northeast. It was such a change from the SF Bay, where I have done the bulk of my sailing. The helm handled really nicely, and Windbound performed really well in the light wind. We stayed on the water for about 2 hours, then headed in. Terry let me dock the boat, which was very very easy.


We said a super quick thank you & goodbye to Terry and Lisa, letting him know that we would call him as soon as we had a chance to debrief, then ran to the car to get started on the drive home. We talked about every aspect of the boat – comparing Windbound to The Expensive One, materials, things we would change about either of them, and pricing out the differences in getting things where we wanted.

Ultimately, we decided it was the right boat for us, and called him with our conditional offer (pending a survey) same-day. Terry accepted, and we began making plans to come back down!