Monday, October 5, 2015

J/29 WILDKAT- the story of why she is for sale

J/29 Wildkat sailing offshore (St Petersburg, FL)-  Harvey & Kathleen (a.k.a. “Kat”) Ford from St Petersburg YC in Florida are selling their beloved J/29.  A tough decision for any boat owner, but this story is a sweet one.

“We are very excited about getting a J-112e (hull #7) via Craig Crossley who has been great to work with.   This was not an easy decision because we had loved our J/29 WILDKAT so much.  For starters, how did we end up with her in the first place so many moons ago?

Credits to Denny White of Annapolis for selling us the J/29 in 1999 (then a medium-blue boat named “Bravo”). I figured out that the masthead J/29 was the right size and draft for us and we basically got new sails (North Sails) and went sailing while rearing 2 small kids. We have wet sailed it the entire time and between kids soccer matches, we could be from our office to the slip and to the starting line in about 25 minutes year round.

We entered all of the local PHRF events winning the 2001 PHRF Boat of the Year, with 9 firsts in 14 offshore races over 9 months, and about 8 different NOOD Regattas. We had mixed results in the NOOD and did win our class in I think 2007 and were second in 2015. We won first overall in Suncoast Race Week in 2008 and have entered dozens of races since.

J/29 Wildkat sailing with spinnakerOur kids’ soccer careers continued through college, so the boat hobby was on the back burner. In 2013 we launched into a complete re-fit, that was finished in the fall of that year. As most J owners know, these boats are almost indestructible and the 29 particularly so. We smoked that boat though some bad / exciting conditions over the years, including one particularly steep wave in the Gulf that I failed to snake through and the masthead instruments (ST-60 and Windex) were launched into a different county. As expected, with 8 stout crew on the rail, a full main, a #3 jib and a balanced helm, in 28 knots of cold breeze, that 29 just shook its head and asked for another helping. The crew claimed they hated it, but I (shielded from most of the forward anarchy) will never forget that particular 20 miles of my life doing 7 ½ knots straight upwind. We had our way with our rival Semper Fi (Ray Mannix) that day, but he much more than evened the score over the years. We tied up at the dock, pumped out a few gallons of water and that was it. There were broken parts and hearts elsewhere all over the marina that day. But, not us!

J/29 teak and holly interiorOne of my best memories is of one of our awesome USF student sailors who was in charge of my nice Garmin GPS that day in high wind (~25 knots). He returned from the foredeck looking awful and told me that he thought the GPS had gone below with the jib they had just taken down. He was scared. We were bashing along in the Gulf about 5 miles off Fort DeSoto Beach and I hollered to forget it.  @#$34%& stuff happens. We borrowed another GPS for the next 2 days. On Monday, the Park Ranger at Fort DeSoto called my office to ask if I owned a GPS. Incredibly, they float!  Even more amazing was that it blew/drifted 5 miles and washed onto the beach, a tourist picked it up, it turned on, my name and number came up and they kindly gave it to the ParkRanger! That student was so happy to hear all this. I still use it- even 7 years later. Maybe not a J/Boat story, but part of the good J/Boat karma.

J/29 launchingHighlights of the refit were the dark blue Awlgrip hull, red Vivid bottom, white Awlgrip spars, two tone deck (gray/ white), 4 new Lewmar ST winches, new forward hatch, carbon pole, 4 new North Sails and a designer interior w new teak and holly floor (dubbed the “lounge” by our competition) courtesy of Kat. So, off we went sailing again. 2 years later we have decided (with our friends “the Misteles”) to buy a J-112e due here in February. The virtually new WILDKAT is now looking to be adopted and we will be very sad to say good-bye!”

Contact Stanton Murray @ Murray Yachts for more information on the J/29 WILDKAT- or ph# 504-283-2507