Karen and Roy Thorpe both grew up sailing on Manhassett Bay, Long Island. "Everybody we knew had a boat," says Karen. They later owned a series of boats that they sailed on Smith Mountain Lake, in Virginia. The last one of these, Good Buddy, a Hunter 27, they took with them when they moved to the Chesapeake Bay area. Two years ago they sold it, deciding then that they would get their sailing through chartering. That way they could try different locations, preferably where evenings and the water are warm, like the B.V.I., where they've been chartering since 1999. They could also try different boats and maintain the pretext that they were looking for the ideal one--or, at least, that was the plan. Having convinced themselves they had no good reason to own a boat in their home waters, in January they then went and bought a 1993 Hunter 42, named it Freedom, and found a berth in Solomons, Maryland, a little over an hour's drive from Falls Church, Virginia, where Roy is the city attorney. They expect to begin their explorations with forays to places within a day's sailing range before succumbing to relatives' invitations to sail to Maine.