We bought our first sailboat, Rainbows End, in December 2012 when we were living in New Zealand. She’s a Raven 26 (one of 400 built during the 1970s and 1980s), popular among local boaters, and considered to be a real Kiwi classic.
Unlike Mollie McGhie, the main character in Murder at the Marina, my husband didn’t present Rainbows End to me as an anniversary present. It was actually my idea to buy a sailboat. I’m not sure who was more surprised by the suggestion – him or me.
Scott had sailed quite a bit in Europe and had fallen in love with the idea of buying a boat, selling everything we own, moving aboard, and heading off into the sunset. I took a little bit more convincing. We had charted boats a couple of times in New Zealand and were talking about doing our next charter in the Whitsunday Islands in Australia.
When I did the sums, adding up airfare, car rental, and the charter costs, I realized that it would be more cost-effective to buy a small, relatively inexpensive boat in New Zealand. As a result, Rainbows End entered our lives as our “for now” boat. We decided to try out the cruising life in New Zealand and, if we both liked it, then look for our “forever” boat.
Although she was tiny (26 feet length, 8.9 feet beam), she was a great little starter boat. Sure, she didn’t have refrigeration, my husband had to sleep in the main cabin while I slept in the v-berth with the laundry (not enough room for both of us to sleep in the same spot), we didn’t have an oven, and there wasn’t any protection in the cockpit from the elements, but we loved her.
Rainbows End not only inspired us to buy another boat (a Moody 346 named Tickety Boo), but she also inspired me to write my cozy mystery series which follows the adventures of Mollie who is completely new to boats and sailing, much as I was back in 2012.
If you’re interested in reading more about Rainbows End and her specs, check out this post on our other blog, The Cynical Sailor.