Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Wild Iris"

Last weekend, when Nan and I were in Denver for the Coldplay concert, we met Paul and Honey Caouette on Saturday morning for breakfast. Paul had contacted me by email a couple of months before based on a posting he read on a Valiant owners group website about my experience with "Sea Hawk," the Valiant 40 I looked at in Fort Lauderdale (Boat Quest, Part 7 and Boat Quest, Part 9). In his message, Paul said that they lived in Denver but owned a Valiant 40 in Miami, and he was wondering if I would be interested in helping them sail the boat to Spain next May.

The four of us hit it off well, chatting about everything from John Irving's books to sailing, of course, to Paul's acting in community theatre, all in the course of a breakfast at Dixon's in LoDo that stretched to almost three hours. Paul told the story of how he had come to own a well-equipped 1977 Valiant 40, the result of his winning an IRS auction. That was almost five years ago. Since then, he and Honey have sailed "Wild Iris" (formerly "Chanticleer") up and down the Florida coast and across to the Bahamas for an extended cruise. They travel to Florida every couple of months to check on the boat and take her out for a sail. She is currently swinging on a mooring in Key Biscayne.

Now Paul and Honey are ready to sail across the Atlantic, with the idea of touring the coast of Spain and exploring the Mediterranean. They are hoping to set sail in May: "Anchors aweigh on the seventh of May," as Paul puts it. The idea is for their departure to correspond with Paul's official retirement, but given current economic conditions, he's keeping his options open. Regardless, the plan is in the works; they just need to sign on additional crew to make it a safe and pleasant voyage.

If it were up to me, I'd say sure, let's join them on their trans-Atlantic passage, but Nan is less confident. It's at least a three-week commitment depending on the weather conditions, and they will be unlike anything we have ever experienced. So I don't blame her. Near the end of breakfast, Paul and Honey invited us to join them when they go to check on the boat in mid-January, and that might be a good time to see if we're really up to the challenge of making the passage with them. Stay tuned.


Ted Johnson said...

Hi John--

i was unexpectedly surplused a week ago & am headed for Florida via Indiana (I'm in northern MN now). Maybe we can all get together! We'll be there in Jan.

John Lichty said...

Ted, do you have a new email address to go with your new status? Let me know! --John