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RED – A Cruiser Among Friends

When Richard Dowling stepped down below for the first time on the Waterline 48 RED in 2006, he was so taken he told the owner (and his good friend) Kevin, “Thanks for having my boat built for me!” Richard and Fran Kelly were visiting their friends in the Marshall Islands, after RED had already sailed from Alaska to the South Pacific.

When Kevin and Beth sailed RED back to the Northwest, finishing their South Pacific adventure, Richard and Fran wasted no time purchasing the serious steel cruiser. RED retained his (yes, his) name, since he already was “part of the family,” explained Fran. At first, RED cruised the Inside Passage to his home in Alaska, and during the colder months served as a warm and snuggly winter cabin.

But RED had in mind something more. In 2011 during a three-month cruise down the Inside Passage, a plan took shape for RED’s second South Pacific adventure. In 2012 RED sailed down the coast to Mexico, then in 2013 went on to French Polynesia, Tonga and Fiji (aka Paradise). The passages were notable for their lack of drama. “We heard of all kinds of problems on other boats,” Fran said, “Autopilot issues, refrigeration, wet cabins and beds, and so on. We didn’t have any of that and in fact, never gave it a second thought.”

Of course the cruise was an awesome adventure for about 6 years, ending up in New Zealand. Check out the ourREDboat.com blog for the story of the cruise and some great photos. RED’s crew was happy cruising, but knew that other adventures, and family, beckoned. “We have seen people who have stayed out there too long and we didn’t want to do that,” Richard said.

RED took the easy way back to the Northwest in 2018, shipping from Auckland to Tacoma. “The boat was delivered in pristine condition,” Richard remembered.

Fran and Richard weren’t quite done yet, though. They spent another summer cruising Hood Canal and living aboard at Seattle’s Fisherman’s Terminal, getting RED ready for his new owners, whoever they might be.

These days Fran and Richard are doing some land cruising, following their passion for sheep dog trials.

RED is currently at our docks in Seattle. The price was recently reduced to US$335,000. One can see from the Yachtworld listing, RED is fully equipped and ready to go. He’s bobbing comfortably on freshwater but has something more in mind.

And for those of you who can appreciate dogs herding sheep, here is a gallery of photos from the New Zealand Dog Trials that Richard and Fran attended.

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