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How We Got Started

Written by Cathy Siegismund

Ken got his start sailing in New Jersey. He was looking for a motorcycle to enjoy on the weekends. Sailboats were next to motorcycles in the classifieds, and he ended up with a 12’ Snark, which he enjoyed until his mast was stolen out of his backyard in Trenton.

Ken subsequently took sailing lessons in Annapolis, and did some chartering. Back in Seattle, he decided to get a bigger boat, a San Juan 21, which was a ‘fixer-upper he got for a steal’. Ken quickly learned this translated into hours of laying fiberglass while on his back to rebuild rotten decks. After investing three times the purchase price, he had what looked like a brand new San Juan 21, which we sailed around the Seattle lakes and Puget Sound.

Ken with the rebuilt San Juan 21

The San Juan with her new owners, in very little wind

I grew up sailing in and around Seattle. Her parents had a Skookum 53 hull built in Port Townsend, which her father finished. The boat is currently cruising in South America with the second owners. I cruised with my family in Washington and British Columbia and chartered in the Virgin Islands. My parent’s plans had been to take the family offshore cruising, but it got put off one year after another, and never became a reality

In college, I did some Laser sailing and got my first taste of blue water sailing, when I was a member of Charley’s return crew from the ’84 Vic-Maui race.

We started to have serious discussions about going cruising the conversation always turned toward what sort of boat. Ken had made an offer on a Baba 30 a couple of years before and was still keen on a Baba 30 for our cruising boat.

To get a better feel for the boat, we chartered a Baba 30 out of Anacortes Yacht Charters for 9 days and went to the cruising Mecca, Princess Louisa. A wonderful trip. We both liked the Baba's solid feel and traditional look. I did feel that the Baba 30 was a little small for extended cruising - especially the head.

We started to browse the cruising magazines more seriously and looked at all the Baba's in the Seattle area. We hadn't found a Baba 30 that met our needs, and as I hadn't every seen a Baba 35 we contacted Robby Robinson at Signature Yachts in Seattle and he began searching outside the area for us. When he started to line up some Baba 35s for us to see, he also suggested we look at a Tashiba 31. It seemed like an awfully big jump in price for an extra 12 inches, but he said we should look at one to see if we liked it.

Robby arranged for us to see a Baba 35 but said on our way we should stop by Karin Venator's place to see her Tashiba 31, which wasn't for sale but was close to home and Karin was willing to show it to us.

Robby had been right. The Tashiba 31 was very comparable to the Baba 35 and Karin's was beautiful. We continued to look, but kept comparing all the boats to Karin's. We had discovered that Karin was considering buying a new boat if she could find a Swan 391 she liked.

We made Karin an offer, she found a Swan and we had bought ourselves a boat!

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