Sunday 2nd August 2009
We began our search for a yacht some five or so years ago. You might perhaps say that we were playing, since we realised that ownership would be something to do when we had time – lots of time. Sailing every other weekend wasn’t in my mind, and having only sailed in the Greek Islands and the Caribbean, the Solent wasn’t cutting it! (That has changed, before too many cries of horror). We were happy yacht charterers, and happy to build a dream. We knew that ownership would tie in to Pete’s retirement, one day. Like most people with dreams of owning a boat, we cruised the Southampton Boat Show, window shopping. Some boat builders weren’t that interested in us, our honesty was met with some skepticism. Rustler treated us seriously, as did Sabre, and both invited us to test sail. The others in the league simply didn’t seem to value us – Malo perhaps the worst. We sailed both Sabre and Rustler about 3 years ago. We kept on going back to the Boat Show, and we’d go and see Nick. Rustler always treated us warmly. We learned that there can be a lead time of up to a year when you order a boat, and so the timeframes became exciting for Pete. If he was retiring in 2011, then you might need to have your boat a season early “just to get used to it”, and so in September 2009 the reality of actually buying a boat was with us. Pete had spent hours wilfing on line, and had come up with a short list. Rustler 42, Finngulf 41, Southerly 42 and Malo crept back onto the list. We had by now sailed 3 of them, with Malo still not believing they needed to offer us a test sail. We had experienced each of the 3, and by now had an impressive list of ‘likes’ gathered from all the different charter boats we’d sailed. How do you turn it into a decision making process? Enter the systems specialist! I devised a scoring system for each of the boats, and final observations and musings were to take place at the Boat Show in September 2009. Pete and I scored independently, and Tom (Pete’s son) was moderator. It was a close call for me between Finngulf and Rustler. We both scored Rustler a clear winner, but I later learned that Pete had decided that before my scoring system was in place. Mine was the only true result! Tom had also declared that there was no other option! Rustler won, and I think I confirmed it in a text to Nick (I seem to think he was leaving the show to run a road race in Bristol). Contracts soon followed, and our slot was reserved.
So why did we both fall in love with Rustler? For both of us it is one of the most beautiful yachts in its class. The build quality is outstanding, with some modifications possible. For Pete, the fact that it would be built in Cornwall, his birth county, was a huge draw. The 42 is ocean going, big blue water sailing (which was essential for Pete), so would be built to sail off into the proverbial sunset. A huge part of the decision to me was down to Nick and Adrian at Rustler – the way they consistently treated us, welcomed us. The love that they clearly have for their product, and their expertise when you discuss the finer points of navigation equipment or sails… They gave us time, respect and passion. What else could we ask for?