When my daughter was very young, I got it in my head that I needed to supplement the current fleet with a sailboat. “She has to grow up around sailboats!” I demanded. Of course, the fact that my father had a sailboat (still does, same one he had back then) and the fact that it was one we could use whenever we wanted to didn’t factor in to the decision at all.
Perhaps even more ridiculous was the fact that my father’s boat sat in the water just outside their house, ready to sail at a moment’s notice, plus there were clean bathrooms and comfy couches right there. Oh, and let’s not forget grandma’s kitchen and it’s seemingly endless supply of treats. No, none of that mattered. I needed a sailboat and my daughter needed to learn to sail. She was 2 at the time, and a real quick learner.
I don’t remember how many boats we owned at the time, but probably just one. The admiral says I’m not allowed to have more than two boats at any given time, but she’s been known to be pretty flexible. And if memory serves, the other boat at the time was either the Pacemaker, a smallish cabin cruiser kind of thing, or the Wellcraft Coastal 240. There is a small chance that the new sailboat came at the time after the Wellcraft joined the fleet, but before the Pacemaker had been sold, which would have put me way over the 2 boat limit but whatever.
To make a long story even longer, I began my search as I always do. I go to the Eastern NC craiglist and do a search for everything under $3000 and then do a variety of keyword searches. I’ve found that you can find a lot more stuff on craigslist if you can guess how people misspell things. “Sailboat”, “sail boat”, “sale boat” but not “boat sale”, that sort of thing. Usually something turns up, sometimes you have to wait a week or two. There were a few interesting options in the “trailer sailer” arena that week. We were already either paying for a wet slip for the Pacemaker, or dry stack for the Wellcraft, or maybe both so it had to be trailerable. What I found blew my mind. I had no idea that you could even buy a small cutter rig, much less one with so much character for such a low cost as what I saw in the 1974 Venture of Newport that I saw for sale for only $2000.
Venture of Newport at night when we first got her home.
I’ll admit I was too enamored of the thing to even haggle over it. I offered the guy $1800 and he said he’d only had it listed for a couple of days and wanted to wait to see if he could get full price. I handed over the $2000 cash I had in my pocket and took the boat home. In hindsight I missed a number of things that I wish I’d taken notice of, but to be honest I’d have convinced myself that it didn’t matter anyway. This picture shows the boat when we first got her home.
The previous owner (PO) owned another Venture of Newport, and in my excitement to have one of these pretty little boats I missed the fact that he’d clearly bought a second boat, swapped out all the best bits onto his boat, put the secondary stuff on the new purchase and then listed it for sale. The first thing that should have pointed me to this conclusion was the missing keel winch and the statement “you can get one of those at Northern Tool for about $40.”. Not that that wasn’t a true statement, but the PO didn’t tell me that a stock handle on a winch like that didn’t fit. You couldn’t swing the handle all the way round because it hit the lip of the companionway. I really feel like the PO could’ve given me the old winch even if it was broken, but chalk that one up to live and learn. I’ll post more about the winch handle another time.
The second thing that should’ve tipped me off was the fact that the boat had never been registered in NC, nor had the trailer ever been titled and registered. I can believe that someone could get away with swapping tags between trailers around here, but no way did anybody hit the local lakes with a Michigan registration on a boat and not get ticketed. That’s the kind of crap that both the sheriff’s office and wildlife officers live for around here. So, just so you know, if you are buying a boat and the PO (1) owns two of the exact same boat, (2) one of them seems to have not been used by the PO, and (3) there is anything missing on the boat, you might be buying a parts boat. That’s fine, but just don’t do like I did and let your excitement blind you to the fact. $1200 would have been a fair price had I been paying attention instead of dreaming about sailing away into the sunset. But that’s entirely on me, not at all on the PO.
At any rate, it was a really cool and interesting boat. If I am ever in the market for another boat (why I don’t have this one anymore is another story, and why I have another one is another story too) then I think I might look for another one of these. Here’s some pictures.