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West Wight Potter

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The Journey of Hull #1 by Michael Thomas

Back in 1988, I was doing a remodel in a condo on one of the upper stories of the Sunset Tower in Hollywood. Every day on my way to work, I passed an empty parking lot, behind an empty building on Sunset Blvd. Underneath a tree in the back corner, filled with leaves and trash was a very lonely and neglected boat.

At the end of the project, I decided to get the CF # and check with the DMV. I located the owner and asked if they wanted to sell her. They made a big deal out of it saying it was not just another sail boat, it was a West Wight Potter. That really didn't mean a thing to me since I had never sailed a day in my life, but I bought her, for $1000 (I think) and towed her home.

I'm sure I spent at least two weeks cleaning her up, fixing things and figuring out how to set-up the rigging. Learning to sail with no training and no friends that knew how to sail either, was not a very graceful venture, but she and I both survived. The first few times were in Puddingstone Lake. Now that I was a pro, my buddy and I took it out of Long Beach harbor. The first time out, there was absolutely no wind at all. The second time, there was way too much wind. We were lucky not to end up on Gilligan's Island.

After that first summer, I moved my family to Los Osos (near Morro Bay) where I still live. The first few years, I had her out several times in the bay and Nacimiento Lake. For awhile I kept her moored in the back bay so I could go out whenever I wanted to. Unfortunately, that was not as often as I had hoped. In the bay, you have to wait for a high tide at the right time of day, time off of work and a breeze to all come together in order to sail.

In 1995, I became a self employed, single parent with three small children, a 2 year old, a 4 year old and a 7 year old. That meant all of my toys and other interests had to go on the back burner. The boat came out of the water and went into storage where someone broke into the hatch and stole a couple of my sails and other rigging. In 1999, I bought another piece of property in Los Osos where I brought her home and where she has sat for the last twelve years.

People over the years have asked me if I want to sell her. Others have tried to convince me to just get rid of her. I love my boat. It has always been on my bucket list to bring her back to her original glory and sail her again. I knew she was special, being a Potter, and I knew being hull # 001 had to be somewhat important, but I never really researched it. As far as I knew, they only made a fourteen footer and a nineteen footer, and mine was an eighteen. I thought maybe a prototype? I didn't know.

A few months ago, a Potter owner and enthusiast, Vin O’Hara, while visiting a friend, spotted my boat. He asked lots of questions, including "do you want to sell it". He seemed to be very excited about it being hull #001. A few weeks later, another Potter owner (Dan Ricker) came by to see her with even more interest. He asked if he could take some pictures of her including the hull # plate to post on the Trailer Sailor website. The interest she has stirred-up has been incredible.

At this point in my life, my youngest daughter has now moved off to college and we have an empty nest. All of this attention she has received lately could not have come at a better time. This has been just the kick in the pants I needed to re-spark my enthusiasm. With Dan's help, I have been in contact with Ken at the International Marine factory in Inglewood. Ken and Oscar have graciously offered to have me bring her down to the factory where the crew can help me bring #001 back to her glory as an archival project. In twenty five years, I never got around to naming her. I've decided on "Daisy Mae"

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