I just passed a sort of milestone (can you have milestones in sailing? Ballast-stone, maybe?). This is Valiente, the Viking 33 I purchased in 1999 with the "shut up and go away" money from working in the internet business. A merger produced the usual synergies, and I was made redundant, as the British say, with a reasonable sum to lessen the sting.
I could have bought most of a sensible van, or knocked several months off the then-new mortgage, but I chose instead to buy an old fibreglass sailboat. If I've looked back, it's only to see the second-place finishers.
Her name, Valiente, comes from he last name of an author my wife and I admired who died on the day I closed the deal to purchase the boat. Valiente, which is also providentially the Spanish word for "brave", has provided many magical hours since, particularly when the grind (both literal and figurative) of getting Alchemy kitted out for long-term cruising has necessitated a sanity break.
My good friend and expert photographer Captain Matt took this shot in August, 2009, while I was down below fetching some beverage, probably. I have hopes of retaining this boat while we are away in some fashion, because of the work I've put into keeping her a good sailer, and because she's the perfect size and combination of "good old boat" attributes for the Great Lakes.
Happy anniversary, first boat.