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Lots of boats come to Oriental, some tie up at the Town Dock for a night or two, others drop anchor in the harbor for a while. If you've spent any time on the water you know that every boat has a story. The Shipping News on TownDock.net brings you the stories of the boats that have visited recently.

Circumnavigators become coastal cruisers
March 29, 2018

ider paused briefly in Oriental on her way north, back to her home berth 50 miles south of the Canadian border. Her crew, Paul and Sue Meyer, were waiting out rough weather further up the coast.

Eider, a Grand Banks 36 trawler, has clocked over 3,000 nautical miles since leaving Maine in October, 2017, carrying her crew of two to Florida and back. It could be her last trip north.

S/V Eider
A hook, a light, and a name.
S/V Eider
Grand Banks brass plate.

Paul and Sue were sailors before becoming coastal cruisers. They’ve been to town before, anchoring out in Oriental’s waters before Oriental Harbor Marina existed.

At 12 years old, Paul was learning to sail on a pontoon kayak. He says it was a poorly designed boat. “When the wind came up, one pontoon would actually get submerged in the water.” Needing a better constructed vessel, he built a Sailfish and continued his lessons with it.

S/V Eider
A brass rail hinge with Hodges St. beyond.
S/V Eider
Curving deck of the Eider.

Sue didn’t begin sailing until she met and married Paul. “I grew up in Maine, so I’d always been on small boats. But I’d never sailed, actually, until I met Paul and I was probably 45. We bought a Cape Dory 45 and that’s how I learned to sail.”

Paul had a bare hull of a Bristol Channel Cutter, and dreams of building his own boat. But Sue, and a neighbor who’d undertaken a similar project, persuaded him to change his mind. “You know,” Sue told him, “we could get a boat and go now.” Paul concedes if he’d not taken her advice, he’d still be in Maine, working away at it. “Best thing that Sue said, after she said ‘I do’.”

S/V Eider
Anchor chain.
S/V Eider
An Ideal Windlass.

Selling the hull, they bought the sailing yacht Sereno instead. It took them around the world.

“A sailboat opens up your world to something different,” Sue said.

Their ocean-going home carried them everywhere. “It may be small,” said Paul, “but it has a big front yard.” That front yard showed them Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Asian islands of the Pacific. It permitted them to visit places that were stable a decade ago, but where they’d be cautious to travel now, like Yemen and Venezuela.

Paul said their favorite place, the one everybody loves, was New Zealand. They happily spent a year and a half there. “It’s a beautiful country; it’s compact,” he said. “In one day you can swim on a beach and go to a glacier.”

S/V Eider
Compass in the upper helm station, reflecting the clear 360 degree view.
S/V Eider
Paul at the upper helm station.

Eventually, the Meyers returned stateside, earning an Order of Magellan certificate from their home yacht club. They sold Sereno. “We miss it, but on the other hand, if you’re not going to cross oceans anymore, you end up motoring 75% of the time anyway.” With that purpose in mind, they bought Eider in 2012.

They’ve replaced the engine with a larger model, cleaned the engine room, and added diesel powered heaters. Paul built an adjustable captain’s chair for the lower helm station. “It needs some improvement somewhere, but we use it all the time.”

S/V Eider
An Order of Magellan certificate presented to Paul and Sue by their home yacht club for their circumnavigation.
S/V Eider
Paul and his homemade captain’s chair.

They took Eider to the Bahamas to see how they liked the change in lifestyle. “Cruising is different than sailing. You’ve gotta provision, you’ve gotta have the storage space, you’ve gotta carry more tools than you ever thought you needed.”

There are other advantages to owning Eider. True to her name, she is warm and comfortable. Paul said he can go under bridges, and into shallow waterways now that he only draws 3ft 8in instead of 6 plus. “We like the boat, but it’s not the same emotional attachment,” Sue said. “We lived on the sailboat 10 years. It took care of you.”

S/V Eider
A new engine and a clean engine room.
S/V Eider
A view through the main cabin.

Eider ferries them back and forth to Florida for the winter months, but they feel they’ve been gone too long this time. They were hoping to return to Maine by early March. Shifting weather patterns prompt them to leave earlier and arrive later than they used to.

Traveling from Oriental to Florida wouldn’t be so bad, they say, but friends and family are in Maine. However, they had the same inclination to sell last year. Eider was listed and she had interested buyers, a pair of brothers, looking at her. Sue says it was a few days after the new year in 2017 when “it was probably 20 degrees and blowing 30, and it was miserable. So we looked at each other and said, ‘Why are we selling the boat?’”

S/V Eider
Sue and Paul Meyer.

And so Eider went off the market and the Meyers went cruising again.

When they return, they’ll think about what to do next. Sue says if they buy another boat, it won’t have as much teak this time. Much of it has been left to silver in the sun. The cap rails and interior pieces are all well-maintained, but it’s more than they want to keep up. Paul says the discussion is one for the future; they have to get back home first.

S/V Eider
Eider, a Grand Banks 36.

Posted Thursday March 29, 2018 by Allison DeWeese

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