Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Element Moves to Colorado

I've been slow to post an update on the latest happenings with Element, but I assume most of you who read this also read my other blog http:tiki26element2.blogspot.com about the building of my new Tiki 26, which will become Element II when completed. If so, you know that I sold Element, a couple of weeks ago, and she is now sailing on a lake in Colorado.

Even though I decided to build a Tiki 26 while I was still refitting the Tiki 21, I had envisioned keeping the 21 until the new boat was almost complete. But the reality is that paying docking fees, worrying about hurricane season, and keeping up with the maintenance on the 21 was taking time and money away from the current project. I was beginning to think about advertising the boat for sale anyway when I received an email from someone interested in buying my Hita 17. Since I sold it just last November to Bill Barker, of Colorado, it was no longer available, but I said I would sell the Tiki 21 if I could get my full asking price. As it turned out, the interested party (ironically also from Colorado) was serious and quickly arranged a trip to Biloxi to see the boat and go for a demo sail. Element, of course, met all his expectations, and after an afternoon of fine sailing we closed the deal. I went back to the coast the next day with my trailer, and with the help of my sailing buddy Artie Vaughn, disassembled the catamaran and brought it home.

Last day of sailing in the Mississippi Sound. That's me with Element on the beach at Deer Island during a break in the demo sail. We had strong SE winds that day, and averaged 10 knots and higher reaching back and forth between Deer Island and Point Cadet.

Element on the trailer and ready for the long road trip to Ft. Collins, Colorado

Part of the deal I made with the new owner was that I would meet him near Okalahoma City, the approximate halfway point between Biloxi and Ft. Collins, Colorado. I drove all night to avoid heavy traffic and at dawn I was in the open country west of Oklahoma City. The boat trailered well and I had no problems pulling it this distance with my Mazda pickup.

Here is Bill Cotton, the proud new owner of Element with his new boat. This photo was taken in Calumet, Okalahoma, the tiny rural town we chose to meet at so we could swap the trailer from my truck to his. Bill is an experienced multihull sailor who has owned several trimarans, including a Farrier Tramp and an F-27. The Tiki 21 is his first catamaran, and he chose this design for its stability and seaworthiness. In addition to sailing on his local lake in Colorado, he hopes to trailer the boat to bigger waters such as the Sea of Cortez and possibly Florida.

Bill Cotton didn't waste any time getting Element back in the water. This photo was taken the very next day by Bill Barker, who bought my Hitia 17. Bill Barker and his son Houston drove the hour and a half from their home to Ft. Collins to help Bill Cotton put the boat together for the first time. Since they helped me launch it back in November off the beach at Biloxi, they knew a lot about it and everything went together as designed. They went sailing that afternoon and Bill Cotton has reported that he's been sailing several times since then. I'm glad he's happy with Element and glad to know he will sail her.

I will be without a boat for awhile until I can get Element II completed and in the water, but I'm okay with that, because at last I will have the boat I've wanted for years. Losing my 26 foot monohull Intensity to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 put me back on the path to a simpler kind of sailing, and restoring and sailing Element solidified my choice of designers, bringing me back full circle to Wharram catamarans, where I started when I built the Hitia 17 in 1998...