I bought her in mid 2006 from Canvey Island on the Thames estuary. She had been built in 1973 and sold for home completion, this never happened. As I found her she had half of an interior that had since rotted away almost entirely, no rig at all and no rudder. you can see in the photo the bare clear gel coat under the waterline.
She was known as Django at the time but as she rather unfortunately (I thought) had a man's name and more fortunately for me had never been launched, the name change I felt could do no harm. At the same time I was enrolling on a traditional boat building course at the IBTC (international boat building training center) in Lowestoft. So Mariposa (still known as 'the Contessa' at that time) spent her first year with me sitting in a field in Shropshire awaiting my coming across some money and time for her.
After my course finished I stayed on to work in the commercial yard that the IBTC also runs and Nat, the owner, very kindly found me some space on which to begin work.
A very trying year later she was launched and I spent a while sailing her on the southern broads, she is only the 3rd sailing boat I've owned and the first two were a GP14 and a 15' Canadian canoe I built a rig for, the open sea seemed a bit much, also on that part of the east coast a bit bleak.
Within months though I got a job in Cardiff and was separated form her once again, this has been a running theme until a few weeks ago. I have now at last managed to get myself, Mariposa and a paying job all in one place. So here we are in Southdown Marina on the opposite side of the Tamar from Plymouth.
As I headed out towards Salcombe last weekend I passed another Contessa on her way up river, I would very much like to meet some local owners, both to share ideas on interior fittings (mine is still unfinished) and to see how Mariposa performs compared to her bermudian cousins... on our way to Salcombe we passed a Hunter Sonata 28 and left her in our wake :) it was however close to a down wind course and probably his weakest. She generally sails well though, as my sail has camber sown into each panel to help windward performance.
I will find some more pictures of our beginnings together for the CO26 site, if local Contessa owners would like to get in touch they can email me at Richard Burke they would be very welcome.
Thanks so much, Richard