I just returned from a trip to Newport, R.I. where I met two of the Marstrom M32 owners, Marstrom designer Kare (sp?), and went for a sail on one of the Newport fleet's M32's around Conanicut Island. While I was promised shorts and t-shirt weather, an anomalous summertime nor'easter produced an 18kt breeze gusting close to 25kts and made for one very wet and exciting ride. Everyone I met involved in the M32 was super cool. And the boat itself, fucking awesome! The thing is a rocketship, yet I really dig the simplicity of the unarig and the boat as a whole. Despite the brisk conditions (for Newport) there was only one truly asshole puckering moment stuffing into the back of a wave. But, the boat popped out just fine and off we went again. Unfortunately no pictures or video as my camera phone would certainly have not survived.
So I want an M32... Am I nuts?
The boat is pricey and the chances of getting my wife, 5-year-old, and 2-year-old out would be about nil. My racing experience is limited. Mostly I've done SoCal beer-can racing and some SoCal offshore races. Always someone else's boat. I owned a Nacra 5.2 for a few years and that's about the most fun I've had sailing (before this past Thursday). I used to take it out of Ventura and run out to Anacapa Island. I then moved to the SF bay area, bought a J24, and sailed that on the bay for a few years. Again, no racing, but still a lot of fun. Then I moved back to Los Angeles and was so bored sailing the J24 out of Marina Del Rey that I pretty much gave up sailing and focused on work and family and figuring out how to get back to the SF bay area for the next 10 years. A year ago I was able to move my family back to the bay area and I've been sailing J105s and a J80 out of Berkeley's OCSC. I'm having fun, but I want to get into racing, need to be able to do it on my schedule (need my own boat), and most importantly I have a burning desire for speed on the water that must be satisfied.
So, about the Marstrom M32...
I'd like to do the BAMA Cup series locally and if the Miami event that the Marstrom guys are talking about comes together, I would probably do that too if I could swing it. I figure based on my experience (or relative lack therof) that I would need a coach/pro on board for racing at least for a while. However, I don't want to sail with paid hands long-term. I'd also like to be able to take the boat out with friends after work and on weekends just for fun without it being a huge production or a risky affair, and without help. I figure I would need an end-tie in Richmond or Alameda (I live in the East bay). Richmond appeals to me more. I think most owners dry-sail the boats, but I don't want to deal with that so I suppose I would need some sort of floating boat-lift setup. I don't want to deal with a chase boat. I'm hoping that this is not a practical requirement. I'm not currently a yacht club member, but Richmond YC seems like the place to be if they'll have me.
Logistics are going to matter to me as I have limited time and resources. I can't buy the boat and then spend 50% of the purchase price each year campaigning and fixing broken carbon bits. This needs to be a mostly amateur affair with relatively simple logistics.
As for the family, if I bought a 5ktsb my wife would come out on the SF bay 1-2 times a year tops, so I'm not really factoring that in. I wish I could justify a boat capable of some cruising, but with my work schedule for the foreseeable future, that isn't going to happen. And, I figure in a few years a fast cat would be a better platform to hook my kids into sailing than a 5ktsb anyway. How's that for rationalization?
I guess my question is, is my vision realistic? Can I climb the learning curve relatively quickly with an overpowered beast on the SF Bay without killing myself or anyone else? Can I do it without a truckload of broken high-modulus carbon bits? Can I ultimately race and sail as an all amateur affair without a big budget and cute matching team outfits?