And then, around March of 2017, Mike started thinking maybe we should look for a new boat, a get-away place for the summer. He began looking at Kijiji and yachtworld.com (even eBay once, just for kicks). We explored various options, but one make and model kept catching our eye: the Hunter 33. One really nice one (even had green trim--my favourite colour) sat waiting in Nova Scotia, but obviously that held the least practicality for a couple living in Ontario. We briefly entertained the idea of getting it anyway and sailing it back to Hamilton, but a couple of things prevented that. First, we weren't keen on buying it sight unseen, even if we arranged a survey and everything. Second, it was on the wrong side of the island, so we'd have to sail it through the ocean around NS, then along the St. Laurence, which might prove an entertaining, but very long trip (closer to a month than a week), and Mike could only take so much time off work.
So we nixed that boat. Went and saw a couple closer to us--one in MacDonald Marine, where we kept FF-T, and one in St. Catharines--and also looked at a few different models, but none felt quite right (although the one in St. Catharines came close, even though the owner kept babbling on, making it difficult to really get a feel for the boat).
Finally, one out in Kingston kept coming up. So on the Friday of the long weekend in May, we took a road trip. We had planned to visit Mike's family north of Peterborough for the May 2-4, and figured Kingston wasn't too far out of the way (OK, it's not exactly on the way, but if we're going to drive for a few hours anyway ...). We saw the boat, we liked the boat, we ended up buying the boat (conditional on a survey). Survey did find dampness on most of the deck, which is not ideal, but knocked the price down (Mike figures maybe we still paid too much, but as it will help keep his sanity, I don't begrudge the extra cost).
Now, the owners clearly loved this boat, and so we wrote into the deal that they could have a couple of extra months to sail it if they paid to get it in the water, meaning we wouldn't get the boat (conveniently already named Freedom) until July. With Mike's work schedule, this didn't seem a problem. Funny thing, the owners never did get out sailing, what with rain and repairs and maintenance (excuses, excuses), but we wouldn't have taken her out much in May or June either, so no great loss for us.
July arrives, Mike and I take a train from Aldershot (just outside Hamilton) to Kingston (via Toronto's Union Station--which is not pretty, at least the dingy underground portion we see), meet up with Marie and Jeff, the now-previous owners, and get to our boat. We spend the next week sailing (or motoring, as the first three days have either no wind, or wind coming exactly from the direction we need to go) from Kingston to Hamilton, on the sunniest, most beautiful week of the summer so far. Go us!