Nine years ago I decided to take the leap from trailer-sailer to smaller ocean cruiser, and went looking for an affordable, seaworthy and comfortable sailboat capable of exploring the Pacific Northwest and maybe, someday, sailing around the world. When I first viewed Mariah, a 1978 Gulf Pilothouse 32 I'd found on Craigslist, I was struck by her lines, her interior volume and the flush deck. My wife, Vinnie, who is prone to claustrophobia, appreciated the view and the light from the pilothouse windows. I liked the idea of an inside steering station protected from the cold and the sun. Mariah appeared to be a proper "big little yacht," so with great hopes and expectations, we took the plunge.