Thursday, December 30, 2010

My plumbing is defective

Allow me to explain.

Your water comes from a faucet.  Mine comes from a tank in my boat, which is delivered to our faucet by a small electric driven pump.

That pump was not operating properly and Kerry was unhappy with the performance of my water system.

So I promised her I'd do something about my defective water system soon.  Today seemed like the day.  I set out to clear a space under the port side lazarette, where the little water pump lives.  This meant hauling a bunch of stuff out into the cockpit (I didn't mean that pun -- sue me), and climbing down into this space...

This is the area under the lazarette when it is empty of stuff.  This is where I'd have to squeeze my ass, arms, legs, and tools into to get to the little pump and remove it.

Now, today was freezing, literally, but it was nice to climb down into the space.  At least I was warm.

When I got down there I assessed the situation.  This meant looking over the stellar wiring job (this is the first negative thing I have said about the previous owner at this point) that awaited me on this job.

"Wire nuts? Wire nuts on a fucking boat?" I said out loud.

Yeah, wire nuts, and butt slices, all corroded, that pulled out in my hands.  The pump you see here is the bildge pump.  It's what keeps my home from sinking should the basement (bilge) develop a leak.  In sorting out the wires, I pulled the corroded connections for the bilge pump loose from the multiple butt splices (sometimes two or three per wire run) and the male/female spade (no shit) connectors.

So I had to rebuild the wire connections on the bilge pump too.

But the little water pump wasn't that hard to pull out, if you count being crouched in the space, arms bent up, then down, trying to get at the mounting screws.  Finally it was out.

That's it, one defective water pump and one soaked crotch (see photo above). After changing my pants and hanging my soaked ones up to dry, we headed for Fisheries Supply to get a new pump.  After figuring out they had the right one and finding a strainer recommended by the manufacturer, I headed for the electrical aisle.

Yes, I got butt splices.  I also got diaelectric grease for the insides of the splices, to prevent the very corrosion I discovered at the start of the job.

Returning to Brigadoon, armed with new pump, strainer, splices and a sandwich, I got to work.  Kerry was very patient as I, buried in the lazarette up to my shoulders, called multiple times for help; get this tool, hand me that, etc.

It took more time figuring out how to de-splice, de-spade, clean up the wiring than actually doing it.  However, once started, I removed about eight connections (opportunities for failure and corrosion) and replaced them with exactly two.  The new pump was in.  Now to flush the system and proclaim victory.

Not yet...

The damn system finally flushed the air out of the sink in the head but the galley faucet would not flow.  It was very frustrating.  Finally after staring at it for a while, I unscrewed the aerator from the faucet and -- sploosh! -- water everywhere.  The damn aerator was clogged with a teeny piece of debris.  Now the thing worked.  The pump happily chugged along, shutting down when I closed the faucet.  Success!

Except the quick release fittings on the pump leak a little.  I took care of that with a quick trip to the hardware store for various sized "O" rings.  I'll soak my crotch again when I install them tomorrow.

Your water comes from a faucet.  Mine comes from two stainless steel tanks buried under the cabin sole of Brigadoon.

Wait until you hear about where my electricity comes from.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Winds of Winter

We have what our yacht broker called, "a million dollar view," of Seattle and Lake Union.  This is because we have an end-dock slip.  There is nothing between us and the Center for Wooden Boats at South Lake Union except the length of the lake.  That means, when the winds blow from the south, the entire fetch (waves) end up against our starboard side.  So, we have learned to deal with her rolling and bucking then the winds pick up.  It's not that bad, really.    Then...

Brigadoon weathered her first real storm at the dock this last Saturday.  We have had a rocking boat before, with winds pushing two or three foot waves, which pushes Brigadoon against the dock.  It's why I upgraded to spherical fenders.  They don't jam like the cylindrical ones and they squeak less, due to the fact that they act like large ball bearings, allowing the boat to roll on them a bit.

However, though they had weathered some pretty hard winds the week earlier, like when the previous Sunday night was pretty high, they weren't enough the morning of the 18th.

As Kerry and I lay in bed, in the early hours around dawn, Brigadoon struggled with the winds, both the constant and the gusts.  The constant winds held us firmly against the dock, putting the fenders to the test. Then the waves started to build, causing Brigadoon to buck like a pissed off 22,000lb Clydesdale wanting loose of a loaded beer wagon.

We were pretty snug in our bunk, dealing with most of the hard rocking, until the heavy waves hit, slamming against the boat.  Brigadoon bucked and heaved, in large figure eight motions under the approximately four foot waves that were forcing their way against and under her hull.

I lay there, being tossed about a bit, listening to the fenders hold us off the dock, wondering if we needed more.  I knew we had enough lines but, I wasn't sure if the fenders would take it when she really heaved.  Kerry wondered if we should get up.  I joked that I was going back to sleep.  Just as I closed my eyes on my pillow, nature's alarm clock went off.

The the wind gusted.  Brigadoon heeled at least thirty degrees to port and, held by the wind, stayed there for a good thirty seconds.  Then the waves got under her...

And the port cap rail hit the dock, I'm sure of it.  Now, sometimes the waves hitting the bottom of the hull can bang but this was different.  Kerry was a little scared as the motion was getting pretty violent.  When Brigadoon leapt and rolled and I heard that bang again, I was dressed, told Kerry to do the same and was outside in the cockpit in less than a minute.

"Be careful!" Kerry warned as I headed out the hatch.

"Don't distract me, luv!" I yelled back.  "I'll be careful."

I grabbed fenders out of the dingy and tossed them on the dock.  Timing my step off, as Brigadoon was rising and falling three to four feet with the wind and waves, I found my self on the dock.

Brigadoon looked angry.  That was the only way to put it.  She looked angry.

"Ok, girl," I thought.  "Let's get you settled."

Carefully, I stuffed the four additional fenders between her and the dock, being careful not to get my hands between an irresistable force and and immovable object.  I didn't want to have my arm torn off.  I'm not kidding here.

Finally, all the fenders were set.  I boarded Brigadoon again to check on Kerry and to encourage her come on out. We went ashore and stood back to watch Brigadoon dance against the fenders and her moorings lines.  Again, an angry Clydesdale came to mind.

Kerry took a video.  This is what Brigadoon looked like, when the wind calmed a little.

Knowing that there was little we could do, aside from getting aboard and casting off to finding better shelter, even riding it out in the center of the lake, we decided to trust the six dock lines, a good ten fenders, and go to breakfast

As we sat there at breakfast, at the Fremont Dock, we watched the traffic signals hang at 45 degrees as gusts continued for a good half hour.

Returning after breakfast, we found things much calmer.  I surveyed Brigadoon for damage.  One brass rub rail has lost a screw and the port cap rail was scuffed in a couple places.  Aside from that my stout boat was just fine.  Good girl.  Good Brigadoon.

So, I'll make some adjustments in fender placement (a little higher I think) and keep additional fenders on her for the hard stuff.

I guess a million dollar view comes with some costs.  In our case, it was a little drama, some lessons in boat rigging and a couple minor scuffs.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Short report

I don't have much to say, maybe more later.  We took Brigadoon out for a real shakedown sail.  We took her to the fuel dock for a pump out, then out the cut east towards Eastlake and Montlake bridges.

We sailed her close hauled, with all sails out, towards Sand Point, where we turned home on a broad reach.   We hit an easy 5.7 kts in 10kt winds.  Not bad for a 1980's, full keeled, 22K lb boat.

It was my boat (yeah, it's our boat but, when I'm responsible, it's my boat), as I sailed her, as I talked the crew, as Kerry sat happy in the pilot house.

And she pointed 30 degrees to windward, at 5 kts.

Then Brigadoon ran, on a broad reach, with my father in law happily at the helm.  The GPS said we hit 6.2 kts (not bad for a 5 kt shitbox) on the reach back to the cut.

It was a good introduction.  The cleats on the port side interfere with the winches, the yankee really needs those winches, the mainsail is really baggy, and I really need to replace those battens.

Our home moved.

Our home moved.

And Kerry said, "now, we don't have to pack up our stuff and go home...."

You see, we were home.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Boat warming

Boat warming over the Thanksgiving weekend was a good choice after the sub-freezing weather we experienced the week before  The cold had been harsh, with morning temps in the very low twenties.

People kept asking us if we were staying warm, which was reasonable indeed, considering the icy winter wonderland that Seattle had become.  Brigadoon was covered in ice and snow, as was our dock.  This was a good test for us, a little more than a week into living aboard at the marina.

With the temperatures forecast so low and snow in the picture too, we had prepped the boat as best we could, filling the water tanks before the water supply was shut off at the docks.  We also purchased a second DeLongi oil filled radiator the week before.  The heaters are completely safe for boat use, not using any hot coils or fans.  They are quiet, provide a soft heat and made the inside of Brigadoon cozy and warm.  They do draw as much as 1200 watts at full tilt but, we only had to run one at 1200 watts and the other at 700 to maintain temperatures above 55 degrees.  Yes, I said 55 degrees inside the boat.  Now that seems cold but, really, it isn't.  Our large V berth is very warm and comfortable and waking up to a cool cabin was just fine.  Also, I was able to figure out how to operate the Dickenson Newport heater on the boat.

I really love this little heater. It's simple, easy to light, runs on the same diesel the boat engine needs, and only burns about a gallon if fuel a day.  We had a little trouble with it at first as we figured out how to get it lit and keep it that way but, once that was past, it will happily push the cabin temperature up to 70 degrees, even with ice and show all over the boat.

We have had a couple instances where it has done out and belched black smoke into the cabin, but we have learned to deal with that quickly enough.  It happened last night, during out boat warming when a strong gust of wind came down the stack but, because we knew what to do, we aired the boat out ad had it re-lit in a few minutes.

As an added bonus, when it is running, we can make tea directly in our tin cups, place a small pan of pud thai or reheat pizza on top of the thing. 

Then, there is the berth where we sleep.

I have rarely had a more comfortable bed.  We added an inexpensive foam mattress topper to the already adequate cushions.  A few warm blankets, a comforter and a pretty girl are all I need to sleep warm and safe, on Brigadoon, surrounded by ice and snow, looking out over Lake Union towards the city.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The View

This is what it looks like, at midnight, looking out the starboard pilot house window, on a very very calm night.

I sat there, while my beautiful girl slept in the fore-cabin, looking out over a supremely calm lake -- at this.

I could not help but get out and take a shot or two.  I placed my camera on the pier tops, taking eight second exposures without a tripod, in the drizzle, at this place, this lake, just north of the city.

I live here.  I do.  It's, so far, magic.

Because the best part is, I get to go to bed on Brigadoon.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

And now, the list...

Now that we have Brigadoon, I have a list.

* solves survey items -- some of these must be fixed in by Dec 1.

1) Remove the electric head, close the inlet and outlet sea cocks, cap the sea cocks, pull the macerator, pull all hoses, pull the holding tank, wreck the electrical serving the macerator. *
2) Install a Natures Head (Composting Head). *
3) Relocate the Dickenson Diesel stove. *
4) Verify the safety and integrity of the propane stove system. *
5) Relocate the aft nav light (blocked by dingy on davits). *
6) Replace corroded hose clamps.  *
7) Ground fault 115v socket in galley. *
8) Rebed all eight of the chainplate escutcheon plates to stop minor leaks. *
9) Review and clean up *all* electrical connections.
10) Inspect, wash, and condition all the lines on the boat.
11) service the winches.
12) secure batteries better. *
13) get new battery boxes.  *
14) investigate increasing battery capacity.
15) deal with chafe issues on some hoses and electrical lines. *
16) replace some of the lifelines. *
17) bond some unbonded through hull fittings.  *
18) replace welding cable for actual tinned battery cables. *
19) service manual anchor windlass

Long term:

1) cutlass bearing in a year.
2) refrigeration system
3) get sails inspected, cleaned and resewn as necessary
4) maybe get an assy spinnaker for the boat.

So, that's the short list.

There is, of course, a complete inventory of the boat, some rerouting of lines to make single handing easier, a lot of creature comfort stuff.

So much to do.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cleaning out the house

You get four bins.

One is for trash, another goes into storage, another is donated to charity, the final one goes on the boat.

The trash is emptied continually as you finish each room; kitchen, wardrobe in the living room, your closet, the drawers of your dresser...

You put as much as you can into the donation box.  Why waste?

You put as little as you can into storage. Remember, this is not about stuff, memories, mementos (life isn't stuff), and things. Room costs money and carries weight.

The final bin is yours. You only get one.  It's what can go on the boat with you.  22 gallons of bin is all the personal possessions you can take, besides the clothes that can fit in your half (15") of the hanging locker, the two drawers, the one cabinet, and the shoe storage under the cabin steps.

That's it.

Four bins of stuff.

Only one is yours.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Camping on the boat...and heads.

There are a few moments when it really hits you; this is mine.

One of those is when you sleep on the boat.  It's reinforced when you sleep on the boat again, and you've addressed issue raised during the first night.  We stayed again on Saturday night too.

We took delivery of Brigadoon on Monday the 1st.  We didn't get to sleep on her until Thursday night.  We stayed there, sorting things out, went out for dinner and shopping in our new neighborhood.  We made plans to address some things short term and get a list for long term.

Our friend Thor, who lives at the Fremont Tugboat Marina, on his Catalina 36, stopped by on Saturday and Sunday to lend us a hand.

One of the things we had to do was make some more room in the salon.  This involved removing the huge teak salon table and putting it in storage.  We are planning on building a smaller, fold-out table in the next few weeks. We also removed the custom boat cover and other unnecessary sundry off the boat while we were at it.

Sunday, after a night learning how to quiet my main halyard from smacking the mast (smack, smack, smack) at 3:00 in the morning, we woke to a beautiful Lake Union outside our ports.

Sunday was the day we would full the water tanks, figure out if the propane systems are working properly, learn to get the boat off the dock and get out in the lake.  I needed to learn how to handle and drive my boat before we took her over to the boat yard for some engine repairs.

 So, we spent the afternoon with Thor on board, driving in circles, backing her up, and generally playing around in the middle of Lake Union.  This boat "backs like a drunken sailor," as my friend Thor put it.  It took come coaxing but I finally learned out to handle her with proper use of throttle in forward and reverse, some cursing and Popeye facial expressions.  

I finally became confident enough with that we....

Actually Went Sailing! Finally! For the first time in our possession Brigadoon had some real wind in her sails.  We sailed her under main and staysail, leaving the genoa out of the mix for now. The boat really pointed well.  As soon as we got the sails powered, she heeled about 20 degrees, stiffened and took off.  I'm going to love sailing this boat.

Kerry did a great job as first mate, making an awesome lookout and doing her hand at the wheel.  Thor and I handled the lines and mostly drove the boat, except when we threw the wheel at Kerry and said, "steer this boat into the wind."  She did great.

The sky to the south was starting to threaten. We didn't want to be docking at the boat yard in a pouring rainstorm so, we stowed the sails and headed west to raise two drawbridges.  I drove the boat more and more, getting the feel of making her spin in place, hold station and drive under the bridges.

Brigadoon, at full throttle (2800 rpm), seems to make about 4.7 kts, though it seemed faster.  I'll have to verify the knot meter with a GPS.  Throttling back to 2400 rpm still showed 4 knots, so that looks like my cruising speed.  My research says we have to calibrate the knot meter.

We made it to the boatyard dock and, after puttering around and deciding how to land her, did so with no drama, no dents, no scuffs and no stress.  It was awesome.  It looked like this when we were done.

Brigadoon will sit there a week while the engine work is completed.  We don't get to sleep on her until Saturday night.  Until then we get to plan to work on planning the following big project:

1) Wreck (decommission) the head and septic system on this boat. It stinks.  I see no reason to throw money at it to deal with sewage on my boat. Besides, we want the storage.

2) Order (done today) a composting head for Brigadoon.  We have two friends that use this system and, aside from being Coast Guard approved it, doesn't stink, it requires almost no maintenance, and is very very green.  It basically turns poop into dirt.  You dump the liquids at the marina head.

We are getting a Nature's Head.

Removing the head system will provide many advantages.  Kerry has been very excited about doing this (she won't shut up about it -- and that's good).  I've been moving along slowly, weighing options, before doing the wrong thing.  Well, it's the right thing so, we are doing it.

I have to wait a week for my boat. That will give us plenty of time to plan before we move aboard the weekend of the 13th.

 Thanks for your help, Thor.  I couldn't have done this as easily without you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

And....we've just begun.

Brigadoon has a new home, nestled against the end of our marina, on Lake Union.  I surprised my broker by wanting to move the boat today, just as a storm system was leaving.  We had a dicey moment at the marina but, once we got out into the lake, it was a pretty easy shot to our slip.

We took no pictures today.  There was too much to do to fumble with a camera.  A good friend, who is making a documentary about live aboard folk, did come along and videotape our maiden voyage.

Brigadoon now sits against the doc.  She's still afloat (we checked after a celebratory dinner at 9 Million in Fremont) last we left her.  I'm sure I'll go by and check on her daily.  We return Thursday night to settle some more things and plan on camping out on her this weekend.

There's much to do.  I'll be busy re-bedding chain plate covers, stopping a few small leaks, sorting out the entire boat, building a big todo list, scheduling some engine maintenance, and transitioning to moving aboard the weekend of the 13th of November.

It's taken eight long months, looking at possibly a hundred boats, talking to tens of brokers, until we found Brigadoon.

Thanks for listening and, as I said to Kerry tonight, "Whew!  Done."

"No," she replied. "We've just begun."

Gosh I love her.

The boat isn't bad either.

Here are the pictures we have so far.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Papers signed

All monies paid out, papers signed at the bank.  Now we await the title company to tell the broker to give us the keys.  If everything goes well, that will happen on Monday.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


We sign our papers tomorrow.

Closing is on Monday.

Friday, October 22, 2010

And on to closing...

After a round of back and forth with the sellers, we came to an agreement as to how much they would cover on the items from the survey.  It doesn't cover everything but it covers enough. 

We have notified the marina that we are on track.  Our slip will be ready on 11/1.

So, the next step is to engage the title company (does the boat have a clear title), the banks (get the financing closed), finalize the insurance, wait for the paperwork, sign the papers and close the deal.

It's been over six months since we started this....and...wait...wait...wait...wait.

Almost there...almost there.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

the answer isn't 42

That's the number of items in our survey results.  Most of them, however, are easily corrected (by me) with little cost, and not much effort.

We have gone back to the seller and requested they take care of a few things on the engine and rebuild parts of the head and septic system on the boat.  Our broker thinks they will take it.

And the insurance company thinks it will be fine, as long as we address the 15 or so items in the critical list, most of which we can just fix in 45 days.

Here's hoping for more good news tomorrow.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Suspension and apprehension

Brigadoon, all 22,000 lbs of her, swings in a sling above the waters of the Ship Canal, at CSR.  We took the day, poking around inside her hull, lifting every cushion, every board, opening every hatch, and learning all we could about her in the day allotted.  Our surveyor, Matt, did a great job of just poking along, getting a good understanding of what he needed to tell/show me, and doing just that.

We drive her to the CSR on the cut, where she was hauled, pressure washed ($375.00), so Matt could inspect her 30-year old hull and, upon my question of, "is there anything you see under here that I need to address right now?", answered with a direct and honest, "Nope."

We put her back in the water and headed east, towards Lake Union.  There we raised her sails and, in the feeble afternoon puffs (of course there was no wind!  we were on a sea trial!), at least had her moving at half a knot.  We learned a lot about rigging her, routing her lines, and wondered at why there was a permanent reef in her main.

Overall, though, she is a solid, well sorted out boat, that Matt pronounced, "favorable."

We will have her, with a few adjustments for leaky holding tank (stinky) hoses, a bad propane gauge, a exhaust hose in need of replacement, a bad water pump, and some hoses and electrical stuff that needs sorted out.

All in all, a very good survey for a boat that is thirty years old.

It was great driving her, even trying to sail her.

I can't wait to own her and put Brigadoon in her slip at what our broker Tori called a "million dollar view" at North Lake Union.

Friday, October 15, 2010

So much to do

  • Survey is scheduled for Monday, where we spend the entire day inspecting the boat, ensuring all her systems (sails, engine, electrical, propane, heating, rigging) and structure are sound and functional.  We will sail, motor, then take the boat to a yard, where all 22,000 pounds of Brigadoon will hang in the air for the hull and underbody inspection.
  • Insurance is in progress -- I've had to answer a million questions.
  • The slip is confirmed for us.
  • We are starting our vacation rental business (Yes!  You can rent our beautiful Capitol Hill condo instead of staying in a cramped and expensive 400 sq/ft downtown hotel).
  • Shopping this weekend for the vacation rental space.
  • Moving storage.

So we are almost there.  So much to do but, we think we have a boat and we think we will be on her by November 1, 2010, just in time for winter!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

And...happy birthday to me...a new sailboat.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the Baba 35 Pilot House Cutter, designed by the renowned naval architect, Bob Perry.

We saw her a couple weeks ago, placed an offer, had it accepted, applied for financing, had that accepted today (happy birthday to me -- it's my birthday today).  Next Monday, we go to survey, resolve any issues, and should be on the boat by November 1.

We have plans to moor her in Seattle, on Lake Union right here.

We'll have some issues with storms from the south but we will have the best view in all of Seattle.

We have been staying silent as we did not want to publicly deal with the disappointment or questions if this fell through. We don't expect the survey to be an issue so, with financing approval, we think this is time.

After six long months, here she is.


Friday, September 17, 2010

We have not given up, just chosen a different tack

The sailing jargon applies here.  Our plans were:

  • sell the house, get some cash
  • find a boat, make an offer
  • qualify for loan, find some moorage
  • move onto boat, start our adventure.
Well, the house sale doesn't seem to be happening so maybe now it's a port tack to:

  • get pre-qualified on the boat we want.
  • keep the house, start a vacation rental business
  • make an offer on the boat we want
  • finalize financing
  • find the moorage and get the boat.
  • move onto boat, start our adventure.
Yeah, maybe that will work...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Short Update

  • old broker fired ($20K down the drain) for not working our sale and costing us a sale
  • new broker hired
  • house back on the market today at a new price which will co$t us but not so much as to be unreasonable
  • new savings plans made
  • the Paragon still awaits it's mast
  • still holding...

Monday, July 19, 2010

She Won't Go to Windward

I had a conversation with a broker, the other day, about the Paragon.  He had called to ask how we were doing, to check in with us about our home sale and boat search.  Gary is a good guy and someone who took the time to let us look at boats when we were figuring out what we wanted.  He listened to us, took his time, and let us figure things out. 

When I told him that we think we have found the boat we want in the Paragon, a Hardin 45 XL, his first comment was, "She won't go to windward."

"Compared to what boat?," I asked him.

"There's a good point," he said.

He told me of knowing an owner, down in Cabo, years ago who had a Hardin.  That owner hated that boat.  He said it wouldn't go to windward.  Then Gary said that, well, it would make a pretty good liveaboard and all boats are a compromise.  We had a good discussion about the boat, why we are interested and maybe the reason the other Hardin didn't go to windward as well, maybe why the other sailor didn't like his boat, wasn't because of the boat; maybe he just wasn't a good sailor -- Gary said this.  So maybe the statement wasn't absolute and the boat isn't a wallowing unsailable barge.  It really depends on understanding a few things.

And that's the two points.

1) all boats are a compromise.


2) all boats are compared to others in features, performance, comfort, etc.

This means that statements such as, "She won't go to windward" are useless unless compared to something, some metric, some standard.

It's like saying, "that motorcycle is slow." 

People who use such statements rarely provide a context for their judgment.  It's assumed that what they say is true, on it's face, by the speaker and that, often, it should not be questioned. 

I doubt a Hardin will go to windward as well as a sleek, narrow boat with a high aspect fin keel.  Fully understanding this makes the boat easier to sail -- not harder.  If I can understand the limitations of a boat (or a motorcycle for that matter), I can learn how to make the most of her positive aspects and work around the negative ones.

So the Hardin is unlikely to sail like a very modern high performance boat. 

I wonder how the modern high performance boat is in heavy weather?  How is she at anchor?  How roomy is she?  Is the deck level or sloped like so many of the racer/cruiser Benetaus we have seen?

I'm willing to give up a little sailing performance for comfort, room, the ability to lay at anchor well, the ability to take waves and not pound.

The Paragon is not perfect.  Like all boats, it's a compromise.  I maybe the last one at anchor but, maybe when we get there, we'll be the most comfortable.

So, I'll give her a good sea trial.  We will sail her, even if it takes some time to find the right wind.  If she can't sail (which I doubt -- I've seen pics of them underway in good air) then I won't own her.  I just won't expect a full keel 33K pound boat to perform like a fin keeled 20K boat.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Home Sale

After yanking us around for a few weeks, the 'buyers' decided to "pull themselves off the market" for now.  We "might hear back from them" their realtor said.

So, still waiting on an offer we can accept.  We have an open house this Saturday between 1:00 and 2:30 (the time seems to be getting shorter -- hmmm). 

In good news, the Paragon, the boat we want is still undergoing a refit of the main mast, there are no other buyers, the current owner and I had a great talk the other day, and it's still on our radar.

So, still holding...

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Home Almost Sold -- Maybe

Selling our current home is part of this process.  Our plan is to have the home sold before putting an offer on the boat.  It makes no sense to be over committed in these economic times.  Besides the Freedom Project is also about freeing ourselves from the burden of credit.

We got an offer on the house a couple weeks ago.  It was dismal.  True, the market is bad but places have been selling in our price range.

So far, we have dropped our price from 369K to 349K in order to better adjust to the market.  The day we dropped the price from 355K to 349K we get an offer for 320K and the want us to disassemble and remove a $1100 mirrored wardrobe that we said was staying (meaning that, if the new owners don't want it, like if they don't want the wall colors, they change that.

Note that, at this price, we walk away with single digit number of thousands.

We respond, "Thanks for the offer.  We have already reduced this home to sell and don't have much room."

We counter with 347K to make that clear.

Their agent comes back with, "They understand that and here is their offer for 335K."

My first albeit emotional response could not be printed in most newspapers.

So, were we dealing with bargain hunters, someone trying to get a deal, or someone who wants an adversarial deal.

So we sit on it or a day (not longer because we are trying to be honest and timely) and offer back 344K and let them know we can't really go any lower, that we are getting very little out of the home and if there is *anything* else we can do other than selling the home for a price less than it is actually worth, we will do it.

They do dark for a week.  No communication.  Out broker said it's a good sign, that they are likely trying to make it work for them financially.  We have to chase them down.  We try to talk ideas like accepting more for the home and kicking back closing costs for them to make it easier. Then I hear, through the sometimes frustrating game of Realtor Telephone, that we are "$4,000 apart".

I ask my agent, "What does that mean?  They are 4K short of the down?  They want us to drop another 4K in price?  They will negotiate some more?  How about figuring out what it means.?"

We get clarity.  It means that they don't want to pay more than 340K for the home.  We are talking a difference of $10.00 to $15.00 a month if mortgage and very little difference down payment.

So we, though still staying open, have kind of had it.  We have dealt with them honestly and openly, have tied to work with them and make this happen for all of the parties involved.  We get the impression all they care about is getting a deal (based on the first low ball offer).  We hear they want the house.  Well, they may lose it over $10.00 a month.  I won't just give it to them at their price and lose *thousands* of dollars we need to help us buy the Paragon (yes we know what boat we want).

I have basically told our broker to communicate to them that I will not sell this home for an unreasonable price and if they truly want it, if they aren't just trying to take advantage of the market and us, then to start dealing with us honestly.

Even if they accept, I don't trust them not to go nuts and be unreasonable on the inspection.

In other news:

* Yes we found the boat we want.  It's a 1984 Hardin Ketch called Paragon.

* I got a much *better* job and I start this week.

* Attorney engaged to deal with back wages from the old job.

* Kerry is making good progress in her better job.

* We have a really good understanding about finances and how much money we need, how we will go about getting it, and what it will take to make this happen.

We are keeping out eye on the prize (Paragon) while she has some rigging work done and hope to have the house sale issue settled (either  a signed offer or a communication that they have lost their only chance and we won't deal with them again) one way or the other.

Eye on the prize.  The Paragon is the prize.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Looking foward

It's very difficult, right now, to look forward, past the current challenges to the Freedom Project.  However, meeting the owners of the boat we think should be ours, helps hold that vision and keep our eye on the prize.

Things may be falling through, and others not happening, but Kerry and I believe in each other and what we are doing.  That makes all the difference.

There are many pithy and sometimes awful quotes about sailing and boats.

Here is one I think applies:

When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your goal.
--Napoleon Hill

And this is exactly what we are doing.  I couldn't think if a better partner and friend to share this adventure.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

And now...

No, no offer on the house yet.

We have an interesting boat or two lined up to see in the next couple days.

One of them is the first Hardin 45 we looked at.  The price is a little high but, it's worth seeing again.

The other is a Beneteau 456, in bright red no less, with the deep keel, a tall rig (perfect for NW waters) and at a price that seems too good to be true.  We'll see if it is.

So that is where we are.

We did buy a couple lottery tickets today.  It's never a serious thing.  It's a lark we enjoy. Talking about what we'd do with the winnings was worth a couple bucks.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I know I'm serious about this when, after riding motorcycles for 35 years, and buying the ultimate sport-touring bike in 2000, and riding that bike from memory to memory all over Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, it's sold to someone else to capitalize the boat. At least it's going to a nice kid and a good home.

It's a good day and a hard day at the same time.  I'll miss the Green Velvet Hammer (my Suzuki 1200 Bandit).

Now, let's see the house sell.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

still waiting

I'd love to make Pat's day; buy my house.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Well, wadda ya know...

The Ste Marie is still available.  Seems the guy with the 100K checkbook has "issues" and so does the other person who wanted to offer. 

She's a lovely boat and we'd love to have her.

Maybe someone will fall in love with Casa Christianson this Sunday and we can get moving.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The first real dissapointment

How can a great day of looking at boats turn out disappointing, especially after being able to walk around on this beautiful Hunter 40.5 on a great sunny day, and talk to the owner about the boat he loves?

We found it.  We have been looking at this boat for months.  It's simply stunning inside and out.  Pat, the owner, is a former USAF pilot who overbuilt everything on this boat.  While most Hunters aren't considered so, this one is truly offshore capable, with examples of this boat scattered all over the world -- they sailed there.

The S/V Ste Marie was it.  Inside and out, it's the boat we want.  

Therein lies the rub.  This may sound a little bitter but, bear with me.  As we arrived Pat was showing it to another couple.  They seemed a little confused about all the systems, asking questions that clearly belied the fact that they knew *nothing* about boats.  Now, don't get me wrong here.  We all know nothing about something when we start.  It was clear though that, they had never moved about a boat before and, as I confirmed with the broker, never sailed a boat before.

So Kerry and I gave them space and waited out turn to talk to Pat.  He was a great guy.  He had improved the Ste Marie in ways that I would have, basically doing my work for me.  We had a frank conversation with him about how much we liked and and how we are in a holding pattern until our house sells.  He even said he'd drop the price 4K when we were ready.  Just let him know.

As we were walking away, after wishing him well, we heard that the first couple had made an offer, a cash offer, and were taking the boat.  They were writing a check.

We saw a very happy Pat on our way back out.  Congratulating him, we went on our way.

Later, on the drive home, Kerry said, "want to bet they don't even haul her and get a survey?"

"True," I replied.  "It's likely they are treating this purchase like their BMW and, when they get bored with it, or scared by it, it will be on the market again, worse for the wear."

There were a lot of feelings around this event that I've yet to process.  We found the perfect boat and, someone with over 100K to burn, cash, just bought it.  Until now we hadn't really wanted a particular boat, found a boat we actually thought we could or should get.  It was perfect.

Kerry and I reminded ourselves that boats grow on trees as we headed home.  We confirmed that by finding about 20 Hunter 40.5 boats from Vancouver B.C to Mazatlan Mexico.  

Still holding...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Learning to sail

When I was nine or ten years old, my father taught me how to sail.  It was a hot summer day.  The water was warm.

The first thing we did was get the smallest little sailing dingy (I forget what it is today) and learn to rig it. 

We sat there on the grass, at the Navy yacht club in Florida, putting it together and taking it apart a few times until I could do it myself.  There would be a pile of parts at one point and, after mounting mast, hanking on the sail, running the sheets; sailboat in about 30 minutes,

After that we took it down to the dock and put it in the water. It sat there floating beside the dock.  Just as I was asking what we were going to do next, my dad picked me up and threw me in the water next to the boat.  I came to the surface to find him laughing -- at me. 

"Climb in," he said.

I did. It took a few tries as he held the bowline so the little dingy didn't float away, but I made it into the boat.  It was kinda fun, actually.

Then he jumped in the water with me (it was only about four feet deep there) and knocked the boat down so the mast was in the water. 

"This is how you right it," he said as he showed me how.

Then he knocked the boat down again and said, "you do it."

And I did -- a few times.

"Now you aren't scared of dumping your sailboat.  Why don't you bail it out and I will teach you to sail," he said, tossing a cut open bleach bottle at me.

With the boat bailed out, dad climbed in and we took off for a bit. Dad showed me where to sit (windward).  He showed me how handle the main sheet while he handled the tiller.  He had me handle the tiller while he handled the main sheet.  He showed me how to point up or release the mainsheet to depower the boat and keep it on it's feet.  Then he handed me both controls and had me sail towards the dock.  We practiced pulling up to the dock without crashing into it.  Once we were there, Dad hopped out and said, "take off that way, I'll be right behind you."

He climbed in another larger dingy and followed me out.  We had a good time putting around in the bay, him giving me pointers, and me learning the boat.

So, that day I learned to rig a boat, how to climb back in one, how to right one, how to sail and how to dock. Yes, in one day. May dad was a great teacher.

Years later, as I sailed other smaller boats I can honestly say I never capsized one but I wasn't afraid if I did.  Oh, I came close sometimes but, the confidence he gave me that day, the way he impressed upon me how to not let a boat get out from under me, really made a difference in my sailing and taught me not to be afraid of the boat.

The second anniversary of his passing comes this next Tuesday.  Thanks dad.


Being good with holding makes sense right now.  All our friends are asking us when we are getting out boat.  The standard answer is, "when we sell our home."

Now, it isn't that we cannot afford the boat and slip right now.  We can.  We could buy any of the three boats on our list and be fine until the house sells. Sure, until the house sells, and as long as we have our jobs, etc.  We could also buy four times the boat we have been looking at for twice the price after our house sells too.  The thing is, if we go through all this and still owe the same debt, and have the same payment load, what have we gained but a simply a different living space?

One of the things I learned a while ago is to not confuse the ability to do a thing with whether or not one should. 

The Freedom Project is *not* about getting a boat.  The boat is one part of the overall manifestation of changing our lives from one focused on owning a home, on using, purchasing, consumerism to something else.  Sure, this *will* involve purchasing a boat but, that is but one small part of the process.

Done right, done with some sense, we will own less, owe less, enjoy what we own more, and have more freedom, both physical and financial.

So we are holding, waiting on a house sale so we can move forward with the shedding of possessions we don't really need or use, finding an enjoyable and suitable boat to live on, and to start a different phase of adventures in our life.

And that may include one of the following; a Nauticat 33 Pilot house sloop, the Freedom 39 Cat Sloop, maybe a Hunter 40.5 that we are going to see this weekend.   So, it's not about getting a boat but that part is sure, so far, enjoyable.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Why owning "stuff" isn't fulfillment

The text in case the link dissapears:

Why material purchases are unsatisfying and what to do about it.
Buying stuff can be disappointing. After swallowing the hype, checking out the options and trolling for bargains, finally you've got it; your brand new whatever-it-is.
Before long, though, the excitement fades. Your whatever-it-is isn't so great any more. They've brought out a newer model with more features and anyway you've seen it cheaper elsewhere. It's happened to all of us.
Psychological research tells us that this disappointment is particularly pronounced when people buy things like mp3 players or watches, compared with experiences like vacations or concert tickets (see: experiences beat possessions).
In a new series of studies, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Carter and Gilovich (2010) explore six reasons that material purchases are less satisfying than experiential purchases, and what we can do about it.

1. Objects are easy to compare unfavourably

In their first study participants recalled past experiential and material purchases costing at least $50 and were asked to rate their satisfaction with them. People were consistently more satisfied with their experiential purchases compared with their material purchases.
The reason is that experiential purchases are difficult to compare. The band you went to see on that wet Tuesday after work on the spur of the moment is likely to be literally incomparable. On the other hand mp3 players are much easier to compare: one has more memory while another looks prettier.
When it's easy to compare two things, like salaries, dissatisfaction isn't far away because there's always someone who earns more than you or, in this case, has a better mp3 player than you. And if they don't have it now, they will in six months because that's the nature of consumer culture.

2. A 'maximising' strategy leaves us less satisfied

There's a crucial difference in the way we make decisions about material and experiential purchases, as revealed by the second study.
When people choose material purchases they tend to use a strategy psychologists call 'maximising'. This means comparing all possible options. But because we live in a world of endless choices, maximising takes a long time and is hard work; so people often end up irritated and unsatisfied even when they chose the best possible option.
However, when people choose experiential purchases they tend to use a strategy psychologists call 'satisficing'. This means setting a minimum standard for a purchase then choosing the first option that fits the bill. Studies show that this leads to greater satisfaction with purchases and people are relatively untroubled by the existence of slightly better options.
Although maximising seems the better strategy, paradoxically it leaves people less satisfied than settling (sorry 'satisficing', ugh).

3. Material purchases more likely to be re-evaluated

Imagine you buy a new electronic gadget costing $1,000. After you've bought it, do you ever go back to look at the other options, just in case? Would that change if it was a vacation you'd bought instead at the same price?
When researchers simulated the situation they found that, having bought a gadget participants were more likely to continue investigating the alternatives than if they'd bought a vacation, despite not being explicitly asked to do so.
We automatically re-evaluate material purchases after we've made them. In comparison decisions about experiential purchases, once made, are not revisited and so we have less opportunity for disappointment.

4. The new option effect

It's always the way: right after you buy it they bring out a new, improved model, or introduce better options.
When Carter and Gilovich simulated this situation in the lab, participants reported that the new option effect was more disturbing when buying a watch, a pair of jeans or a laptop than when buying a holiday, movie ticket or fancy dining experience.
Once again experiential beat material purchases.

5. The reduced price effect and 6. A cheaper rival

Like the introduction of new options, retailers also have a habit of dropping the price right after you buy something. Worse, the next day you spot it cheaper somewhere else.
Carter and Gilovich found that people were more troubled about the reduced price of laptops and watches than they were about cheaper holidays or meals out.
Similarly participants reported being jealous of rivals who'd paid less for material purchases at another retailer, but weren't so jealous when it came to experiential purchases.

Think experiential

This all begs the question of how we can be more satisfied with material purchases, other than simply trying to avoid all the above.
Carter and Gilovich wondered if it comes down to how we view our purchases. Take music for example. Buying music can be viewed as both an experiential and a material purchase; it's an object (even if digital), and it's the experience of listening to the music: where you are, how it makes you feel and what you're doing at the time.
Perhaps thinking experientially can help us avoid disappointment?
In their last experiment the researchers encouraged half their participants to think of music as a material purchase and the other half as an experiential purchase. They were then told the price had been reduced. Sure enough participants who were thinking in experiential terms were less bothered by missing out on a bargain and therefore likely to be more satisfied with their purchase.
This experiment suggests that thinking of material purchases in experiential terms helps banish dissatisfaction. Try thinking of jeans in terms of where you wore them or how they feel, the mp3 player in terms of how the music changes your mood or outlook, even your laptop in terms of all the happy hours spent reading your favourite blog.
By thinking experientially we can make more of what we already have and ward off the invidious comparisons that can make the treadmill of consumer culture so unsatisfying.

Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, and to do list.

While we are in this holding pattern...

All the camping stuff in one box.

All the party stuff in one case.

Looking at my clothes again and seeing that I need to shed.

Move some stuff to storage.

Sell a table, move a table.

Show a bike, maybe sell the bike, make room in the garage.

Get pre-approval on boat financing closed.

Review financial changes both current and planned as we have shed a car and gained a cheaper car.

Thank about and look at more boats for fun.

Go sailing on Sunday at the Center for Wooden Boats.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

and the Freedom Project isn't just about a boat

It's about the overall idea of downsizing, both in the amount of stuff we own and how much we owe.

So, to that end, we went from this:

to this...

Smarty (yes, that is what Kerry named her) has a screaming 70hp, ABS, traction control and, get this...paddle shifters.  I kid you not.  It has paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

At least they are both German.

So, why the change?

Well, the BMW Z4 is a stupendous car -- really.  Driving it around the potholed roads of Seattle - not so much.  When we get the boat, it will move from a secure, private garage to a parking spot near the marina.  I just can't do that to this car.

Also, we are saving *hundreds* of dollars a month doing this (combination of car payment, insurance and such), which means that money can go towards paying down other debt or going into savings. 

After driving it a couple days in Seattle traffic, I have decided that

1) this thing is a breeze to park,

2) is actually easier to drive on crowded Seattle roads than the Z4 thoroughbred and,

2) I am going to install two (2) of these:

Yes, 139dB each.  The next ^%$#%^#@ that changes lanes into Smarty will be seeing his audiologist for permanent hearing loss and a hearing aid.

Saturday was a day

We had another open house.  Apparently, there were quite a few people going trough the place and, today, we had another showing.  It really comes down to people seeing the place until the right one sees it.

In other news, we downgraded on the car Friday night.  I traded in my 2005 BMW Z4 (yyeeeeeeehaaaaaaa!  Zooooom!!) for a brand new Smart Car (beep!).  This saves us about half the car payment and I'm sure, on insurance.   Now, onto boats.

The SkipJack: Saturday started out with an exploratory look at a 35 foot Skipjack in Tacoma. It was priced at an amazing 29K and was solid as hell.  It was an interesting boat, and worth seeing but, in the end it wasn't for us because the layout just couldn't work for us.  We ended up not figuring out where we could sleep together.

37' Gulfstar in Poulsbo:  This was a typical shoal draft sloop and medium priced at 48K.  We took a serious look at this boat.  It was clean, in good shape and priced well.  Though we did find out it has osmotic hull blistering going on so, right off the bat we would be talking a few thousand dollars to haul her, clean that up, seal the hull and get her back in the water.

After that we decided to head over to Marine Service Center on Westlake.  We walked in the door on 4:40 on a Saturday (they close at 5:00) and ran into Gary.  He was great.  He got information together on the Tartan 37 and the Maple Leaf 48 we were interested in and...we started walking the dock and...

Nauticat 33: As we were walking out to look at a Tartan 37, we stumbled across this; a Nauticat 33.  We both stopped and said, "gee that's a nice boat but the Nauticats have been out of our price range."

"Really?  It's only 99K," Gary replied.  Well, we looked at each other in amazement while Gary got the keys.  Climbing aboard we were amazed at the pilot-house design.  All the gauges were right in the house, along with all the electrical systems and the controls. You can literally sail this boat from inside.  Granted, it's a motorsailer more towards the motor end of the spectrum than I usually look at but, it had plenty of sail and Gary said it actually sailed pretty well.  So we looked around there for a while and tried to decide if a 33' boat could work for us and, you know, it just might.

Tartan 37:   Decent, like the Gulfstar in accommodations,   systems and performance.  All in all a decent boat for 58K.  That's about all I can say about it.

Can you say Yacht? But then there was the Cooper Maple Leaf. This is a yacht in many senses of the word.  It was huge, inside and out.  Kerry was awed at the space and accommodations inside this thing.  A huge sloop like this will have little problem sailing in the lighter airs of the Puget Sound. As our home, it can also handle larger parties and visitors, so it's clearly on our radar.  

An asking price of 129K is within our range too.

So we had a good day, looking at some interesting boats.  We got a good sense of space and usefulness of these to suit our purposes.   There is nothing like seeing  a lot of boats to get an idea of what will work for us and what will not.

Now, to spend Sunday resting.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Another open house this weekend and my broker is surprised at the lack of people who have seen it...I am mixed on his suggestion that we lower the price just yet.

Holding....holding...and dreaming of boats.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The process

My key here is to get a good deal for me and not be an dick to the seller and make their life shitty -- I expect the same in my direction. This doesn't mean I give away the farm to get their boat but it also means I don't lowball them or insult their boat. Respect goes a long way in my book, so I give it a go in every deal I make.

1) I go look at a series of boats and get a general idea of the condition and suitability for our needs.

2) Once I am ready, I pay a second visit to a boat and do a more through buyer's non-invasive inspection (using the boat inspecting tips I have seen posted here), letting the broker/seller know that I intend to make an offer and this is a basis to inform that offer.

3) Based on #2, I either reject the boat or make an offer and give them a deposit to be placed into escrow.

That offer is contingent on the successful completion, to my satisfaction, of my inspection, sea trial or survey (I prefer that order but they can be swapped or mixed, depending on the situation), and financing.

My deposit is fully refundable if the above conditions are not met. This is not negotiable on my part, just as not letting me haul a boat or sea trial is not negotiable on most seller's part.

If the owner does not want to accept this offer, which should be reasonable and fair from what I have learned from you all here, then I will go look at the 2nd boat on my list. Lather, rinse, repeat if necessary. I don't expect this to be a problem though.

#2 and #3 can be switched as necessary....

4) Sea trial -- check every major system, check all sails, rigging and general performance of the boat. I'm not talking about expecting a Baba 40 to sail to windward like a race boat but, to answer the question: "based on my knowledge and research on the boat in question, does it perform as expected for that boat?"

5) Survey -- am I satisfied that the results of the survey are either good to go, or do I need to note some items to bring back to the table (problems found).

Like I said, #4 and #5 could be swapped, depending on how the survey is done.

If anything is found in the sea trial or survey, I'm not satisfied, so I can go back and respectfully see if we can work out the differences. Hell, the *seller* might not know about an issue.

6) Financing -- now I am getting pre-approved but, finance companies can be finicky.

So, if all this goes well, and we can work out a good deal for the both of us, then we each get what we want. The seller sells and gets a check. I buy and get my boat.

At least that is my understanding now and the process I will try to follow.

So, how are we doing this?

Anyway, we added up all the costs (the load) if you will, of living in our home. These included the mortgage, homeowners insurance, HOA dues, utilities (gas, electric, cable). That number came to be known as DryHome costs.

Then we added up all the costs (the load) of living in a marina on a boat This number is called WaterHome costs.

Those costs were comprised of estimates of:

1) boat payment

this was based on the asking prices we are seeing for boats in our size range -- 38-45 feet long and the financing estimates for the balance after down payment.

We can drive this down by putting more down on a boat or finding a less expensive boat.

2) moorage (liveaboard costs more here) in a marina

3) insurance for the boat loan

4) liability insurance if we live in a port of seattle marina

5) utilities

6) boat maintenance ($6000 per year which equals $500 a month) going into a savings plan. I've been told this is a pretty good number by quite a few experienced boaters and brokers.

DryHome Dollars - WaterHome Dollars = about 1.5 K savings.

I've built up a spreadsheet with all the costs, so we can verify out estimates as we go along including up front costs like, down payment, surveying fee, hauling costs for survey, and licensing of boat, etc. All those are known and reasonable.

We have also built a down payment by selling off stuff that we don't want (cars, scooters, bicycles, etc) or can't have on the boat or don't want to store.

So it makes sense for us to do it, financially.

And that's how we are doing it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

And do you know what she said to me?

That she is in for this adventure because she trusts me, that I'm not going to do something foolhardy or stupid.

Damn but this is nice.

And now, the Freedom 39

Some of the best parts of this is seeing interesting boats of all types and sometimes, if we aren't dealing with brokers, the actual owners.

In the case of the Freedom 39 we saw on Easter Sunday, it was a double whammy.

The boat is very interesting.  It is an unstayed rig in a cat/schooner (the mizzen, or rear mast, is taller than the foremast) configuration.  To top it off, the masts are unstayed.  That means that, unlike most conventional sailboats, there are no stays, or guy wires supporting the masts.  In this case each mast is a huge, hollow, carbon fiber and fiberglass pole, supported by the reinforced deck and set against the bottom of the hull.  This is an extremely cable and simple boat.

The really nice thing about this rig is how easy it is to single hand. Everything is led back to the cockpit; everything.  There are only two winches necessary to run the entire boat and they both reside under a very nice dodger and bimini.  If you are going to windward (sailing upwind) you set the sails and basically don't have to touch them again.  You just tack with the wheel and the sails self-tend all day.

All in all it was a wonderful visit with the owners.  The man who owns her is very knowlegable and helpful.  He seemed quite honest about his boat and was more than willing to spend as much time as we wanted talking about the boat, sharing his stories, and just sitting about.

As we left, we were struck with the thought of not getting this one if we want it but, Kerry said, "Maybe we haven't gotten an offer because we haven't found the right boat for us yet."

I found it funny, the coincidence between the brand of the boat and the name of our little adventure.

Who knows?  Maybe it will be our boat.  I think we can honestly do a lot, lot worse than this one.

Here is what we have looked at so far (that are acceptable) in our search for a liveaboard cruiser:

Ta Shing Baba 40
Price: 90K
Pros: price, seaworthyness, interior, honest private seller, good sail inventory, blue water capable and proven, price
Cons: teak decks need recalking, a little dirty outside

Hardin 45 Ketch (3)
Price: 110-140K
Pros: Roomy (did I say roomy), great decks, good rigging, nice lines, good engines all, awesome engine access, blue water capable with window covers.
Cons: boutique boat, one had teak decks, proud owner$, full keel

Hunter 380
Price: 111K
Pros:  clean, bright, well equipped, modern, great coastal cruiser
Cons: owner i$ very proud of boat, not necessarily good for leaving the coast, not as roomy as the others.

Morgan 43
Price 114K
Pros: fairly modern, in good shape, clean, well laid out, fairly handsome
Cons: ignorant broker, obvious stern damage from being backed into a dock that broker said, "oh really, where?", once had 6" of water over the sole of the aft cabin (why?), huge mast dead center in salon, some slightly worn and broken pieces.

Freedom 39' Schooner/Cat
Price: 115K
Pros: excellent condition, great single handing rig, almost as much room as the hardin, good decks, good engine, well equipped, blue water capable, free standing masts, awesome private sale owners
Cons: free standing masts (some see it that way), heavily crazed windows (but owner will fix if price is fair), and that's it...except for the fact that the company is out of business.  So, where do I get a replacement mast again?

Franck/Seaborn Raised Salon (52')
Price: 119K
Pros: unique, beautiful, masterpiece, floating museum piece, one family owner, immaculately maintained, fast sailing boat, blue water capable with salon window reinforcements, price
Cons: wood construction, length, single handing ability in question, odd berting layouts, 8' draft.

Hunter Legend 40.5 (not seen this one yet)
Price: 119K
Pros: one owner private sale liveaboard boat, well equipped, known history, clean, modern, good coastal cruiser
Cons: not many aside from being a Hunter in some eyes

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In the holding pattern

It's good to feel patience at this point, in this holding pattern.  I don't mind being here and I've been known to be impatient.  Would I like an offer on my house now?  Sure!  Would I like to place, and have accepted, an offer on the boat of our dreams?  You bet!  The thing is, we are in a good place right now and we don't feel rushed.  We aren't trying to buy and moor a boat while we still own the home so we aren't over extended.  We aren't rushed in any of this process so far and it feels really really good.

The home has only been on the market for two weeks and, even though the broker has made mention of a price reduction, we aren't ready to do that.  Why?  Because only about 20 people have toured the house. It's priced fairly and it's a very nice place.  I just know that, if enough people see it, someone will walk in and love it.  It will happen. We will get a good offer and we will walk away with what we need.

Our boat broker is keeping an eye out and letting us know about possible boats.  She is understanding that we are in a holding pattern and we don't expect her to be jumping through any hoops right now.  All is good on that front.

The shedding of stuff is going well. Two scooters, a couple guitars, a car, some electronics, books, and all the bicycles have put a good chunk of cash in the bank.  It's a good start.  Still, two motorcycles and a few other items to go.  Then, when the house sells, the huge estate sale (not run or managed by us) to finish the deal.

Until then, we look at boats.  We schedule day sails at the Center for Wooden Boats.  I investigate what it takes (time or money) to recondition and recalk a teak deck, should we find a boat that suits our needs that is so equipped.  Clarity is manifesting itself on just what kind of boat we want.   More and more we are visualizing what would work for us.  We keep talking our dream and speaking with our friends about it.

There is a sail on the horizon.  It's our boat.  It just hasn't come to port yet.

Monday, March 29, 2010

And it's really coming down to ...

Space. It's coming down to spaciousness (if such a thing is possible) on a boat that actually can sail pretty well. This does mean that we are often looking at boats with full or partially full keels but, while they don't point to windward (sail close to the wind) as a modern fin keel, the better ones do tend to sail well enough.

Last weekend, we looked at three boats. The first one was a big "NO" due to general quality of the overall boat, the issues in the interior and such. It was basically a project boat (which we don't have to buy) and a mess inside.

After that we looked at a Morgan 41 (aft cabin pictured here) and a Catalina 36.

The Morgan was quite roomy, with space approaching that of the Hardin 45. The aft cabin was roomy and boat modern. Overall the boat was a good choice even though I'd have to address a couple issues. The first one is, when did someone back this boat into a dock, how extensive is the damage, how expensive would it be to repair? Also, when was the rear cabin flooded with water (about 6" deep) and why?

The Catalina 36 is what some friends are living on. It's a nice boat but, as we looked at it, I kept getting the impression that it just doesn't have enough room, or the kind of room we want.

The thing to remember is, as a boat grows in length, it also grows in volume.

This means I'm finding myself thinking of volume, of space, the ability to move about and live on a boat. I'm looking for decks that aren't sloped, that have some space, that aren't tripping hazards. Too many of the modern boats like Beneteau and Juneau really seem to have this thing for sideways sloping decks that paint pictures in my head of people slipping sideways into the rails and breaking both their legs as they go over the side.

So, I'm looking for space and I'm willing to be the last one at anchor that night as long as, when I get there, I'm comfortable.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Unless it's about which boat

First it was the Helene, a Ben Seaborn design. Constructed in 1957 (yes, that's a year before I was born), this wood constructed sloop was way ahead of her time. She had a deep *fin* keel, and looked like a time traveler from future. When we toured this boat we were amazed at her spaciousness, the quality of her workmanship, the cleanliness of her bilge. The glass decks helped. Sure there were some questions like, how do you finance and 52 year old wooden boat? Where do we moor a 52 foot boat? Can we handle her?

It was easy to go down the road of saying that, if all these questions could be answered (and I will be honest they have not entirely left my mind), that I'd take her in a New York minute.

All of that for 119K asking price.

Then we looked at a Hunter 42, the modern end of the spectrum. Sleek, roomy, more expensive at around 140K asking price, but none of the problems of an older wooden boat. Then again, she'd look like every other Hunter at the dock.

After that, a walk around a Hardin 45 had us seeing possibilities. Glass hull, wonderful inside teak bright work, immense inside layout. We were also impressed with her glass decks, the remasting in aluminum, and the spaciousness of the deck layout. We ended up rushing our process and actually put an offer on this boat but couldn't come to terms with the other broker/client. We ended up walking away. Touring that boat again at the Anachortes boat show, we confirmed some of our concerns about the boat along with the strengths. The Windfall is still on our radar.

And most recently, a Bob Perry designed Baba 40, located in Olympia, Washington. The boat was in great shape inside. The outside is the issue. The owner of this Baba has not been able to keep her up like he wanted. I'll be spending my time working on the exterior while we live inside. One big job is having to recalk the teak decks. Still the price is very good for this boat (about 45K under normal). So, if I don't go in blind and know what I'm getting, she might be a great boat. Bob Perry himself said so the other day on Sailing Anarchy. :)

This coming Saturday, we will be touring a Cascade 42, tied up in Tacoma.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's all about the money.

Last night, before we filled out the financing approval application on our boat, we walked along the Duwaminsh Marina.

The Marina of the Dead

I have rarely seem a more extensive collection of dying, derelict, and deteriorating boats laying about in one place. I could easily buy almost every boat in that marina -- cash. If I chose the worst ones, I'd likely get two or three. However, our boat is about a place to live, not a hobby on the water.

So we are working on a pre-approval, a vetting if you will, on financing a boat. This way we know what level of boat they think we can afford (it will likely be more than I am willing to go into debt for)before we make an offer on something we want. This makes our offer stronger. We can say, "and we are serious because we are already approved."

So, as that phase is started, we are still looking about for moorage. After all, the joy of a movable home can't be realized until you have a place to move it to, and a place to move it from.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

And now, the Baba 40

The choices are endless and, as Mark Nichols wrote in his book, "The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat", boats do grow on trees. Well, this one did. I think the entire interior was made from a single teak log.

Kerry and I spent a couple hours poking around a Baba 40 last Sunday. This for sale by owner boat need a little love topside (teak decks need recalking) but the rest of the boat looks pretty good. The owner let us poke around for a while then spent some time both sitting in the sun and then down in the main salon, just sharing stories and talking about his boat.

It was worth the trip to Olympia and back and it's clearly on our mind when the house sells.

In other news, the Hardin we were interested in was in Anachortes at their little boat show. It was much dirtier than I remember and, to be honest, I wonder if the owner really wants to sell.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The list

Since the Freedom Project Started

Things we have done:

  • Hired a realtor
  • Placed our home on the market
  • Went to the Seattle Boat show
  • Looked at about a hundred boats on line
  • Walked boats with brokers in Seattle, LaConnor, Anachortes, Friday Harbor, and Bellingham.
  • Looked at Hunter, a classic custom wooden sloop, Benetau, Catalina, Tayana, Ta Shing, Waquiez, Hardin, LeFitte, and others.
  • Figured out what it takes to make a live aboard space work.
  • Scouted for Moorage
  • Decided what we have to shed -- the list is huge.
  • Emptied the storage space in prep for stuff going in there.
  • Sold off two scooters, books, a car, all the bicycles, some guitars, stereo equipment, and more and put it all in the bank. Dealt with a lot of slime ball yahoos in the process from the craigslist ads.
  • Talked to about 20 boat brokers.
  • Made a decision to engage a boat broker as our representative.
  • Placed a contingency offer on a Hardin 45, only to have the response be not what we want, then withdrawing that offer with a friendly, "thank you."
Still to do:

  • Get an offer on the house we can accept.
  • Hear that our buyers are qualified for financing.
  • Start engaging our broker about boat choices.
  • Get our closing date.
  • Put an offer on a boat.
  • Get financing for boat.
  • Survey boat.
  • Sea Trial boat.
  • Find moorage.
  • Arrange the estate sale of 90% of all our belongings. If it doesn't fit in a couple plastic tubs, it doesn't go on the boat.
  • Arrange USCG classes for each of us.
  • Estate sale successful and more cash in the bank.
  • Start the process on the boat.
  • Close the house.
  • Move to a rented room if necessary.
  • Close on the boat.
  • Move boat to moorage.
  • Move onto boat.
Begin living aboard.

There's more but that is what it is so far.

The Begining -- The Freedom Project

It needed a name. We needed something to call this crazy idea. The germination of this came from some other posts in my personal blog and, as we started taking the steps necessary to make The Freedom Project happen, Kerry asked me if I was going to blog about it.

At first I was reluctant, because if we fail at this, everyone gets to watch. Then again, if we succeed, everyone gets to watch. In either case though, everyone gets to learn. Mulling this over, it makes sense to share the process so others who wish to follow along a similar path can do so.

Here are the two posts that started it...

"George Carlin (bless his departed soul -- wait, he didn't believe in God), once said, "you need a place for your stuff. Then you get more stuff. Then you need a bigger place for your stuff. Then you get more stuff..."

To that, I ask, "what if you got rid of your stuff?"

What if you got a place so small you can't get more stuff.

Would that free you from stuff?

It just may. "

Which was followed by this one:

"It's good to have a plan, to figure things out, to plot, conspire, until you have just the right path to take to, dare I say it, rule the world?

Well, my world, at least.

I've been thinking about stuff, and lost dreams.

I've been thinking of all the plans I made (be an architect, a photographer, a writer, a pilot, a cop) that didn't come to fruition, for whatever reason. Everyone has false starts, dreams that never come true once you wake up and have to go commute an hour to the job that pays the bills that keeps your lovely wife and beautiful children in a home, with good health care, in a good school system, in a community 40 miles from where you really want to live.

And now they are gone, grown, out on their own, and you have a chance to live the life you dreamed of, you read about, you drew up plans for that never got executed because the needs of other people came first above your own. I'm a Daddy - it's my job.

But, it's not my job anymore. I am answerable to myself and my new wife.


What now?

Well, the house is for sale.

My guitars, my books, my bicycles, my motorcycles, my bar, my tools, my furniture, guns, gun safe, ballistic vest (interesting life, no?), the movies, the records, the stereo, computer, not the art -- it goes in storage, the stuff I don't need to carry anymore -- it's all for sale.

And, we are moving, after the house sells.


To a yacht, on Lake Union, the Ship Canal, or Shilshole Bay, to live simply, in a small space, that is a sailboat.

And when the muse strikes us, to slip lines, raise a bridge or two with a sixty foot mast, and take our hearts and our souls to the open water; living an adventure under sail, on the water, with the clouds as our shade, and the wind as our horses.

Wait till you see the chariot. "