As a youngster a friend took me sailing in a small sloop on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin, I was hooked. Then in the early 70's I finally talked Ugne into taking a sunfish out for a day while we were on vacation. She was not overly excited until I let her have the tiller. That was the day I became crew.
But it was not until my oldest daughter graduated from college that Ugne and I decided, on a whim, that we wanted our own sailboat. One day we were picnicking at Old Federal Park on Lake Lanier north of Atlanta. Across the way was a marina that we had not been to, so we decided to drive over and walk the docks. Within an hour we found our selves negotiating for a 1976, 26 foot Tanzer. It needed a lot of work but the price was right. Over the next few years SailAway was our weekend adventure just about year round.
As boat mania goes, we soon started having the desire for a larger boat. We came close to buying a Beneteau 310 at the Annapolis boat show in the fall of '91, but pushed away the 'Boat buying God'. However by the time of the Atlanta boat show in January 1992 the 'Boat buying God' had worked his magic and we came away the proud owners of a Beneteau 310. We knew it was the right decision when SailAway sold within a week. Then the biggest decision of all had to be made, What do we name her? After much search we decided on the name VILKAS, I wanted SexSation, as the boat was sexy on the water, but I lost. The Beneteau was a great boat, comfortable and easy to sail. Because of these features Ugne started taking her out by herself which went along way in strengthening her sailing skills.
Our plans to cast away the shore life and move to a cruising life began slowly, sparked by our trips to the Caribbean and interaction with couples that were actively cruising. We soon moved into the planning stage and the decision to find the boat that we wanted to call home. The Beneteau sold very quickly and we found ourselves boat less and lost for the summer of 1998. This caused us to get down to business on finding the right boat.
Armed with a lot of research we narrowed the list of boats we would consider to about a half a dozen. With this information we started the search via the Internet and visiting boats up and down the coast. The search led us to Scott Dyer at Blue Water Cruising in Seabrook, Texas. Scott had lived on a Westerly 36 for several years and had a ton of information on the Westerly boats. He showed us the 2 Westerly 39ís that were for sale and we immediately fell in love and felt at home on the boat. We closed the sale on the 1986 Westerly in October 1998 and went about the process of having her shipped to Lake Lanier. Since arriving at Lake Lanier we renamed her VILKAS and started making the changes that we felt needed to be made to make her ours and prepare her for our cruise. The changes are mostly cosmetic as she came equipped with lots of toys.