Boat fever had officially set in, we did a lot of shopping around during the fall of '03 and over the winter season. In September of '03 while visiting my brother and sister-in-law in Chicago, we made a side trip up to Waukegan to look at a few boats on the hard at Larson Marine. Was particularly impressed with an Erikson 'Independence' that we saw there, 31 ft, it was a little rough looking, but it looked like repairs we could probably handle. Keenan and Tim were most impressed with it, but Terri was a little hesitant. We did a little research and learned that only 78 of this particular model were ever made, and almost all seemed to be still sailing, and that they had a small but devoted following. We planned on waiting until spring, and if it was still available, think about making a lowball offer on it. By December, the Erikson had already sold.
Tim discovered around this time that the Dickerson he had his eyes on in Sutton's Bay had been reduced in price by about 5000 bucks. He started lobbying the others but there were still some major qualms about it - wooden boat, would we be able to handle the upkeep - it did not have roller furling, which we have grown accustomed to - bigger boat than we have ever handled - the way it kept popping up like providence gave Tim the feeling that it was 'meant to be'. By the time we returned from a xmas trip to Florida, the Dickerson had already sold.
In January, we attended the Strictly Sail show in Chicago at Navy Pier. Toured many new expensive boats, sat in on a lot of seminars, on traveling abroad, traveling with kids, sailing charters in Greece, sailing around the world, and sailing on the North Channel (which sounded like a LOT of fun).
In March of '03 we took a few looks around the Torreson Marina boatyard at various boats they had for sale. One boat in particular caught our eye, tucked away back in the corner of the warehouse, an old Chris Craft that had been newly awgripped, listed as a 1970 ( we later learned it was actually a '67 ). A newer engine from the late 90s, a simple, roomy, solidly built boat. After our second trip out to look at it again, a rainy spring day (which would be how most of the spring would look that year), we decided to make an offer, which was accepted that same day, and we were in business. We also inquired about boat slips while we were there, and we ended up with a slip directly across from the Classroom boat 'Pandora' where we took our sailing lessons the previous summer.