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A Dream That Came True

This Zaal 38 by Bodam is a Fast Passagemaker

Phil Parrish

Boat Details
Built by Bodam in Holland
2003 Volvo engine
3/4 Rig
LOA 38'
Beam 11'
Draft 7'

I first saw Grey Ghost, a Zaal 38, in 1994 and she had a magical attraction for me. Over the next 12 years I kept in touch with the owner hoping to be aware if she came up for sale.

In November of '05 the owner contacted me to announce that he finally wished to sell her, so in February my wife, son and I flew to Sausalito, test sailed, surveyed and bought her. She arrived in Maryland in March by truck. The purchase, survey and trucking all went smoothly and was a pleasurable experience. My wife and son were very excited and supportive of the purchase.

My son and I flew back to Sausalito, unstepped the mast and packed the boat for shipping. The truck shipment was easy and at a very reasonable cost by Andrews Trucking, a Canadian company out of Niagra. It arrived in Maryland in early March where it was launched and rigged.

Sailing on Grey Ghost has become almost a mystical experience - on her, motion is more like swimming than sailing - she is quiet, easy to steer and handle.

During the summer of '06 we raced her successfully in the bay, continued to detail her gear, made upgrades to the systems and became familiar with our new family member. She had been beautifully maintained but not used for the prior 3 years.

This boat was built for the 1984 two-handed Around the World race but not launched until 1985. She then came trans-atlantic and was trucked to California where she raced 3 Trans-Packs, winning her class in each race.

The designer and builder put extraordinary care in her details and the quality of construction was superlative. Although she is a sailing machine, she is also comfortable at sea. Built as not to tire a short-handed crew, she is also a "geriatric" vessel with a competitive side.

The name Grey Ghost was the moniker of a Colonel Mosby of Middlesburg, VA - a confederate raider whom was never captured by the Union. His luck and her luck seem to be a shared trait.

During the winter of '06-'07 her sails were replaced, a new chart plotter was installed and the rest of her gear was inspected and detailed in readiness for the racing season ahead. By June we were off on the Annapolis / Newport Race with a crew of six veteran Eastern Shore race enthusiasts - all of whom had made numerous races to Newport, Halifax, Bermuda, etc.

We did well racing down the Bay and cleared the Bridge Tunnel just ahead of our class about noon. Early that evening, the winds increased to 30k+ as a tropical storm came up the coast. We took off north on a very close reach. It was Grey Ghost's kind of weather! We arrived at Montauk/Block Island just at the start of the flood with a fair wind and rushed to the finish line (1st in class, 4th overall). 30 boats had dropped out due to the weather conditions.

Enroute from Newport to Salem, our transmission failed due to a neglected warranty recall 3000 hours and 23 years later! We sailed into the dock at Fair Haven Shipyard in New Bedford where we hauled out to remove and rebuild the transmission. And although they did not have the time to do the job for us - as we were on a tight schedule, they were very helpful with our do-it-yourself project. We give our accolades to this outstanding yard.

July 8th we were off again to Halifax from Marblehead. We sailed well south of the rhum line, missed the current off Cape Sable and picked up air offshore. The result was 1st in class, 3rd overall out of 123 boats. Again, it was good luck and a great crew that led to our victory.

We changed crews for the return trip to Maryland - my wife, 12 year old grandson and another couple did the CCA cruise in Nova Scotia - visiting Chester, Leuenburg and Locksport - then on to NE Harbor, Isle of Shoals, Oyster Bay and home.

Issues for the trip were a lost 12 lb Danforth anchor when a wind / tide situation caused our anchor line to wrap the keel. The sharp trailing edge cut the line at midnight in Plymouth; a chaffed preventer; and an older Sailor VHF transmitter failure.

We will race the balance of the '07 season here in the bay and I look forward to the Bermuda and St. Pierre races next summer.

I am 72 and have sailed all of my life in and offshore. I have had the best times of my life with the Grey Ghost and am privileged to have had the opportunity to own and sail this wonderful boat.

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