I suspect many of the folks who choose to build a PAINE 26 will be retired in places like Florida. Anything finished as beautifully as a PAINE 26 should be will cost a chunk of money― the sort of money it takes a lifetime of work to acquire― but owing to its just right size, a sensibly modest proportion of a Florida retiree’s net worth. We who have earned our nest eggs in Northern climes seem illogically to be slow learners. Even the birds with their pea sized brains have the sense to go south for the winter. We humans seem only to make this discovery at age sixty.
So you’ve finally seen the light (literally), and you’ve made the change in latitude. You love to sail rather than motor, for the silence, the peace, the ecological rightness of it. There are thousands of miles of aquamarine water within easy reach, and Florida is a huge state that it will take years to explore, with hundreds of waterfront restaurants and a fascinating history and a lifetime’s worth of Bahamas just waiting only sixty miles away. Trouble is, lovely and warm and inviting as all this water is, the lot of it is only waist deep!
Enter the PAINE 26. She draws all of 3½ feet soaking wet. Her keel is the essence of grounding-proof. Pushing her off a sand bar is nothing more than an excuse to cool off. Her propeller, if you fit one, is absolutely invulnerable. And her designers- my lads and me- have thoughtfully made entering and exiting the water not only trivial but fun, so you’ll be able to go swimming well into your geriatric years.
Yes there are alternatives. Sharpies are dangerously tender, catboats and catamarans more stable upside-down than right side up, and none have the headroom of a PAINE 26 with its optional companionway tent. Most important of all, the PAINE 26 is a real, stable, swift, heirloom quality, beautifully balanced SAILBOAT whose gravitas will compensate for the occasional lapses that seem to beset us with increasing frequency in our mature years.
Maybe you’ll want to celebrate your arrival in the sunshine state by making a PAINE 26 part of our life. She’s legally trailerable during daylight hours, behind a vehicle that you can buy for next to nothing thanks to the gas crisis. You won’t get very good mileage but how many miles have you got to go, really? You won’t sleep aboard very often, won’t need to since Florida abounds with convenient waterfront hotels. And when you do, your vessel is a comfy cocoon that will envelop you in loveliness for weeks on end whenever you wish.
Changes in latitude invoke changes in attitude. And colors. Did you notice that every place you looked at in your search for a retirement home seemed to be painted coral and lime green? So if you want to fit in, your PAINE 26 will just have to follow suit. Which is why I painted this rendering of a PAINE 26 in Florida colors.
Build yours soon. It’s the perfect Florida boat. The big life event that follows retirement is awfully permanent.