Once the decision was made to purchase a boat, we began the task of finding the right one. It was very discouraging because there aren't many cruising boats for sale in the Dallas area (imagine that). I would have settled for several of the ones we looked at but know now that would have been a mistake. We knew we had at least two years before we could actually go cruising but we wanted to use that time to get a boat in top shape.
After several trips to Clearlake, south of Houston, we decided an Irwin would most likely be the boat for us. The weekend Rainbow's End came on the market, I had a house full of family visiting; so Bob headed to Houston alone. He was convinced that this particular boat would sell quickly and so made an offer on her without me ever seeing her. When I did see her the next weekend, I was ok with the decision Bob had made. I'm not sure that would have been my first choice but I was relieved that he had finally found one he liked. It was too late anyway since the offer had been made. We became the proud owners of Rainbow's End on July 2, 1998. We eventually renamed her to Escapades.
|Escapades is a 41.7' Irwin, center cockpit, cutter-rigged-ketch. She was built in 1984 in Clearwater, Florida by Ted Irwin. From the time of purchase until we moved aboard in October, 2000, we spent almost every other weekend, every holiday, and vacation in Kemah working on the boat. Another five months of work after moving aboard and we were finally ready to set sail.|
|The overall layout was the selling point at the time of purchase. We knew we could change many things but the layout wasn't one of them. A galley out of the flow of traffic, a center cockpit, a "back porch", and a roomy master cabin were very important. We got all that on Escapades.|
|There were trade-offs, many of which we were able to correct; others we have learned to live with. Some of the changes originally planned are still "projects for the future"; others have been scrapped as bad ideas.|
Next: Getting Her Ready