We bought a sailboat for $1000

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We love boats.  We both grew up on the lakes of Minnesota water skiing and well… messing about in boats. We met in a boat in Florida at Barefoot Waterski School and about a year and a half later, we were married on a boat just off Key West.  We own three ski boats. We love the water.

So, we thought it made sense to leave the confines of land and live on a sailboat one day.  But first, we needed to learn about sailboats.  We were looking for a “starter boat.”  My husband found one, on Craig’s List.  A rundown 1978 30′ Lancer going for about a $1000.

The right price for sure.  And it was a boat that needed some love.

We went to to check it out and it was in pretty bad shape. What we had going for us, was that it was still floating.

Lake Odyssey: Bringing Uffda home


When we bought Uffda, our new sailboat, it was located in a marina in the Southeastern corner of Lake Lanier, Georgia.  We live in the far Northwestern part of this 38,000 acre lake.  It was a Tuesday in December and I had to work, so my husband, Ryan and our friend Al decided they were going to tow it home by themselves behind one of our ski boats.


Easier said than done.

It was a sunny, but windy 50 degree day on Lake Lanier.  My husband met the seller in the morning.  A company had acquired the boat in a tax sale and had no idea of it’s history or how it got in such bad condition.   Our poor little unloved sailboat had no story.

Fortunately, Ryan and Al were about to start a new story for Uffda.

They picked Uffda up at one marina and towed it to another to get the mast taken down so it could fit under the bridge near our home.  While they were waiting for the mast to come down, they bailed about 100 gallons of rainwater out of the cabin. By the time the mast was down, lashed and they were ready to set off… the wind was whipping across the big open part of the lake and coming over the bow of the little 1800 pound ski boat towing the 8000 pound sailboat.

And then the boys made a wrong turn adding a hour to the trip home.  They were racing the waves and the dark.  And the rope towing the sailboat broke numerous times.  Once, both boats almost ended up on the rocks.

Cold and wet, the boys and the boats were in the home stretch as the sun was setting. Uffda got tied to the dock and Al needed a scotch.


What is the definition of Uffda?

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My husband is half Swedish, I am half Norwegian. Together, we make one complete Viking warrior.

When we entered our new sailboat… I could not stop saying “Uffda.” It’s an expression we both grew up hearing and using. So we decided to call our new boat, Uffda!

According to Wikipedia: “Uffda is an expression of Norwegian origin adopted by Scandinavian-Americans in the 19th century. It is an exclamation that is relatively common in the Upper Midwest. Uffda is often used as a term for sensory overload. It can be used as an expression of surprise, astonishment, exhaustion, relief and sometimes dismay. Within Scandinavian-American culture, Uffda frequently translates into: I am overwhelmed.”

In Norwegian, uff is used when something is unpleasant, uncomfortable, hurtful, annoying, sad, or irritating. Uffda could often be translated as Oh, I’m sorry to hear that or I am sorry.

We may often be overwhelmed by Uffda, but I don’t think we will ever be sorry.  Because bad decisions do make good stories.

Taking the trash out, putting some love in

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Once we got the mast hung up on the dock and out of the way… we started the process of clearing out years of waterlogged crap out of Uffda. It wasn’t pretty.  Among the treasures we found: Some plastic champagne glasses and a really rusty toolbox.


It wasn’t long and we had quite a pile of “treasure” on the dock!  I stayed in the boat most of the day ripping stuff out while Ryan handled logistics on the dock… Figuring out what to keep and what to throw… bagging and tying.  As they say in the north country: ISH.


The Christening of Uffda


Al and Eileen came over the day after Christmas to help christen Uffda with a bottle of champagne.  Al had already spent some quality time with Uffda the day they brought the sailboat across Lake Lanier. It was a classy get together with green solo cups left over from our wedding reception four years ago.