Robert Perry designs some great boats

How many boats have we looked at so far? I think I’ve lost count. If we are not running away from hurricanes, we have been on the road looking at more. Of the many we seen, one thing really stands out. Robert Perry has designed some great boats. You can almost tell, just by looking at the hull, and the sail plan, that he had his hands on it.

Every time we really like a boat and start doing more research, it always seems to be one of his. That first boat we truly loved, the Islander 38C was his design. We’re certainly not limiting our search, as there are a ton of great boats out there, but any time we see his name, the boat jumps up on our list.

Today we got to look at another great one, a Valiant 32. Only around 65 were ever made, and it has Perry designed written all over it. First thing to notice is its round canoe stern. It loses some cockpit space, but it more than makes up for it in looks. The cutter rig provides a sail plan for most every occasion, and this particular boat is well equipped with many choices of sails.

It’s not the largest boat inside, with only 10’5″ beam, it initially feels a bit cramped as you step aboard, but as you look around, its clearly designed with long passages in mind. There is storage everywhere. Every nook and cranny is utilized and feels planned. She has significant tankage, and carries 80 gallons of water, and nearly 50 gallons of fuel. Enough to take us pretty much anywhere we need to go even with no wind.

One item we’ve run into trouble with is the size of the v-berth and sleeping quarters. The last boat we really liked had a sleeping birth of only 5’11. That may be enough for Shannon, but it just a bit small for me. This boat does not have that issue, and we both fit nicely in the forward v-berth. It also has a decent rear quarter-birth and another in the salon that can make good sea berths.

There are several other perks of this boat that go beyond its design. She has a complete wind-vane autopilot, a large solar array with chargers and inverters, and even an auxiliary generator for all our power needs.

With so many things we liked about the boat it was tough to walk away. We headed down to the Kemah boardwalk to get some lunch and a beer to discuss. Two beers later we had decided.

We made an offer.

Lets see where this goes.

Back to the Routine, sort of

That storm really threw a wrench into things didn’t it. Well, after a few unplanned weeks traveling Arkansas, we’re somewhat back to our routine here on the beach. First of all we really want to thank John and Eva Bailey, and Jonathan and Jill Brown for allowing us to crash at their houses and interrupt their totally stable and normal lives with our craziness. I’m not real sure what we would have done had we not been able to escape Beaumont before the flooding started.

Brewery Tour with Bailey

Our first stop was Little Rock with the Baileys. We spent the week working by day, then burning our mouths tasting hot sauces from “Hot Ones” and learning to drink heavily at smoke filled bars for Razorback games by night.

Not wanting to overstay our welcome, we took off to Hot Springs to crash at the Browns. We took advantage full of their boat for labor day and got to spend the day wake-boarding and tubing, and generally forgetting about the rest of the the world on Lake Ouachita.

Somehow, we got extremely lucky with this storm. We had parked our RV in a little park just southwest of Beaumont. With all the storm tracking we had seen by the time we left the coast, it looked like Beaumont would get some rain, but be generally safe. Well, things changed. Two weeks passed before the roads were clear enough for us to get back to the camper. We had been told that the RV park had in-fact flooded pretty badly, and several trailers were lost. We had also been told ours was OK, but it was still a rather stressful 6 hour drive back.

 

We could see the how high the water had gone, but it looked to not get anywhere near the bottom of the trailer, and even may have not even hit the wheel bearings. Our bikes that I has stupidly left chained up outside were a bit rusted up, and my toolbox that I forgot was underneath got flooded, but all in all, no real problems. We quickly hitched up to the truck and pulled it that last hour back to the beach in Bolivar.

We been back on the peninsula now for a couple weeks, and everything seems back to normal. Were back searching for boats, and planning our next steps. We had planned on moving on by now, but that two weeks made us miss our quiet little spot, so we’ve reserved another month.

Boat search has continued, and we spent the last two weekends in Kemah looking at several of them. More updates coming!