Orca is a Pearson Ariel designed by Carl Alberg. She is designed after the Pearson Triton, one of the first production glass sailboats. Amy and I bought Orca in the fall of 1996. She has proven to be a very rewarding boat. We use her primarily on the stretch of the Maine coast beginning at Cape Elizabeth up to the the West side of Penobscot Bay. Although the Ariel was originally designed as a racer, and indeed is still raced actively, we use Orca primarily for coastal cruising.
Now in her 33rd year, many boats would be ready for the boneyard. Orca received a new lease on life when a local sailmaker named Jan Pedersen bought her and began an extensive remake. Jan is a serious racer. He told me that he was thinking of giving up racing at the time and set up Ariel for his own boat. Jan equipped her with a fresh set of sails, a brand new dodger, cushions and redid the woodwork on deck and in the companionway. He then awlgripped the decks. Situated next to Jan's sail loft was a 1959 Rhodes that the owner, a very talented glass man, was restoring. Jan traded a set of sails for the Rhodes for a fresh coat of Gelcoat on the topsides. Orca had previously been named Moby Dick. Jan thought he would name her Phoenix as she truly had risen from the ashes. We resolved to keep a whale name in hopes that this concession would appease Neptune.
Luckily for us, Jan's interest in racing began to resurface about the same time as he was putting the finishing touches on Orca. One of my favorite things to do is poke around boat yards looking at all of the hard luck boats. Situated directly across from Orca was a line of about 6 such boats which failed to sell at an auction. I was really surprized when my wife Amy suggested that we take a look at Orca. I was shocked when she suggested we buy her. It didn't fit my pattern of picking up old boats for free and spending years agonizing over the restoration. This boat was done.
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