Purchasing a 44-foot cruising boat on an inland lake is a recipe for adventure, even before adding water. My partner, Hale, and I found our new Peterson 44, Cayuga, on Lake Lanier, in Georgia. We stripped her down to a maximum height of 12 feet, loaded her onto an 18-wheeler, and followed her down the highway to the south end of the state's coast. We spent a week building new rigging and installing the mast, the wheel, and boom gallows. At that point, all that lay between us and launching was painting the bottom-and fighting the constant mud. Yet before we knew it, we commissioned the boat and motored across the few hundred yards between the boatyard and the slip that we'd call home.