We almost sank it!

“The vessel was found mechanically and structurally sound, …maintained and equipped in above average condition for a boat this age.”

That was the overall conclusion of the survey and sea trial. Other than a few minor, very fixable issues the boat is in excellent condition.

The day started with yet another 6am ferry ride. We needed to get to Kemah to meet the surveyor by 8am, and the ferry only runs once an hour that early. We also didn’t really know what the traffic between Galveston and Houston would be near morning rush hour so we made sure we had extra time.

We met Nick, our surveyor, right on time at the boat and got right to work. It’s enlightening to watch him work as he meticulously tapped every square inch of the deck with his little hammer. He was looking and listening for any signs of delamination or water intrusion. He then checked every fitting, attachment, screw, and line from the bow to the stern. Our confidence continually grows as he frequently mentions how nice and maintained everything is, and is surprised at how few hull issues he is finding. “I can usually find at least one spot of delamination or water intrusion, but I’m not finding any” he said.

I consider the hull to be the most important part of this survey as it is the real soul of the boat. It’s a huge relief at this point to see that it is solid and in near perfect condition. That being said, there’s still a lot more to look at, including the below water parts of the hull when we haul it out later in the day. As we start getting into the details of all the electronics and other accessories on the boat, the issues start to arise.

We fired up the auxiliary generator, a huge bonus to have in my mind, but find that the cooling water is not flowing and the intake hoses are rotten. Not too big of a deal, but that means no generator until it is fixed. We move onto the inverter, which I’m also excited to have on-board because we have a lot of toys that need to be charged, but no go. It doesn’t turn on. Strike two.

There were several other little electrical quirks, the running light didn’t work, some of the interior lighting was bad, but all of that is fairly easy to replace, and probably something I want to upgrade anyway.

A few hours had passed and it was now time for the main event. The haul out and sea trial. Let’s see how this old girl performs, and look at her not so visible parts.

It’s a bit concerning watching a boat get pulled out of the water. It is clearly not its natural state. Even though this boat was not ours, we were both quite tense as we watched the lift pull her up. Once she was on the hard, Nick got right to the tapping again. Every inch of the hull below water needs to be checked for any issues. Once again, she came out with a surprisingly clean bill of health for a 32 year old boat. The bottom paint needs to be redone, and some standard maintenance items, but all of that is to be expected as bottom paint should be redone every few years anyway.

The quick haul out complete, it was now time to put her back in the water and go for a sail. The weather was not all that great though. It was sunny and warm, but the wind was blowing a lot harder than we wanted. Steady wind at 10-15 miles an hour, with regular gusts above 25. For any real sailor, these are not really issues, but for us, on a boat we don’t know, it was quite scary. Even with the wind, the boat performed amazingly well. “shes a tank” says Nick calmly as we get hit by yet another gust with full sails up. My knuckles are white as I’m steering the boat and have to make some small, but easily made adjustments to keep course, but the boat just heels over and takes the gust in stride. I keep watching Nick for some sort of reaction, but this is nothing to him. He is running up and down the deck checking out the rigging and sails as I nervously sail along.

Once back at the dock and coming down off the excitement of the sail, we start digging into the inner bowels of the ship. We have to check every cable, every hose, and every inch of the interior. If you’ve read this far, this is the part where the title of this post comes in.

Nick had been checking out all the plumbing of the head (nautical speak for bathroom) and noticed that there were some shortcuts taken. In particular, the raw water line to the toilet was not running through an “anti-siphon” loop. He explained to me that in the right conditions, without this loop, water can just start flowing into the boat, and we should always make sure this valve is closed any time we are sailing until it gets properly fixed.

Sure enough, about fifteen minutes later we are looking at some pipes down in the bilge and start seeing water flowing in. We check all the obvious things before turning back to the head. Turns out that exactly what he was explaining could have gone wrong, had, and the toilet was full and overflowing with sea water and it was freely running into the boat. We quickly shut off the valve and stop it before much happens, but if we had not been aboard, this could have easily sunk the boat in a few hours. Usually the bilge pump would just pump the water back out, but due to another issue we found, the the bilge pump was wired through and unprotected switch and we had turned it off earlier to test it.

Another hour or two of meticulously checking and testing everything on the boat, the survey was complete. We learned a ton about this boat and what it means to take ownership and maintain her. We have picked a good one it seems. Other than some minor and totally fixable issues, this boat is in fantastic condition and is very well equipped for what we want to do with it. A little bit of negotiating with the current owner over the final price with these issues and we may be buying a boat!

It is so very exciting at this stage, no matter how much planning Shannon and I did to get here. I’m continually blown away at where we are.

Let see where this goes!

Survey and Sea Trial

A few weeks ago, we made an offer on a 1985 Valiant 32. After a a bit of back and forth negotiation, our offer was finally accepted. Our next step is a full Marine Survey and a sea trial to determine is we actually accept the boat.

A sea trail seems pretty straight forward. Hop on the boat and take it for a sail. This is a good opportunity to feel how the boat performs, to really see the rig working, and test if all the electoics and such actually work.

The marine survey is much more in-depth. A professional surveyor that we hire ourselves (not associated with the seller or broker) will look at every inch of the boat. They will check every nut and bolt, every line, every connection, seriously everything. During this survey the boat is pulled out of the water so that the bottom of the hill cam be thoroughly inspected for the protective paint, any possible weak sections, if there are any holes, and many other things I wouldn’t even know to check.

Not only will this complete survey give us some confidence in the boat we may be buying, but also it will add many negotiation points we may be able to get off the price. Does the boat need $3000 worth of new rigging? New bottle paint? New engine, or an overhaul? These items can be renegotiated on the final selling price. We hope it finds nothing serious. But some wiggle room on the price for some new gear could be nice.

We’ve got our sea trial and survey scheduled in two days. Can’t wait to see how this boat does.

Internet Explorer

Justin and I were quite spoiled in Durango. In addition to great friends and beautiful landscapes, we had excellent internet. It was important to our lives then and it has become even more important now and I didn’t think that that was even possible.

For some time now, Justin has been working from home as a software engineer while I commuted across the state line during the school year as a speech therapist. This move to Texas meant that I also started working from home doing speech teletherapy via video conferencing. We can both suck up bandwidth with our jobs alone even without our tv and movie streaming.

Just out of dumb luck we found a RV Park on Crystal Beach, TX with the biggest internet package available on the Bolivar Peninsula. We are one of only 6 RVs in the place. We are typically the only people at the park during the week with the others RVers coming in on the weekends for a quick getaway. We have since discovered that what we have found is rare and must be appreciated. Internet is a major reason that Justin and I have stayed on the Bolivar Peninsula so long.

As we look forward to moving onto a sailboat, we have been looking into Marinas and what they have to offer. Recently, we toured marinas in search of amenities, a short walk to the restroom for Pete (and for me) and for our blessed internet. We quickly learned that what we need, does not exist out there in the real world, let alone, in a marina. It seems that marinas are like typical RV Parks, the office is the source of internet and they send it out into the world via WiFi, maybe there are signal repeaters, maybe there aren’t. While we are going to be set up with a repeater/booster and internal network, we still have to get a decent signal to the boat. The marina that would be the best fit for us offers internet but it was unpredictable when tested. Another marina that we also liked has an estimate in for a complete internet overhaul that is awaiting owner approval (it has been awaiting approval for a few years now and is not a top priority). Currently, we are still scratching our head trying to come up with a plan.

Once we purchase a boat, we will have to leave the haven of our RV Park and our available options are few and quite expensive. So far, we have determined that there are nor DSL or Cable internet options available at the marinas in the area. We have seen satellite internet plans which would be simi-affordable but not wonderful for video conferencing due to its lag in video. We have looked into Cellular Data plans which would quickly become quite costly due to our data needs. For example, I used 42 GB of data on my computer alone last month and I use it primarily for work. (This does not include Justin’s work/personal computers, both of our phones and my work iPad.)

Though we enjoy watching tv and movies, we would be willing to reduce the amount of streaming we do if that meant that we could continue to work remotely. This will probably be a good thing for us in the long run. It would mean more reading books, writing blog posts, editing video, taking long walks on the beach, playing video games which don’t require internet and perhaps more actual conversation.

 

Ultimately, we are still searching for the best solution that will allow us to continue working until we are ready to untie the lines. If there are options out there that we have yet to explore, please leave us a comment.

Whats in a Name?

How do you decide a name? Naming a boat turns out to be a bit more of a challenge than I had expected. There are so many considerations to take into account. Superstitions are a big one, they even change regionally. Bananas? Cats? Never. Lots of names today seem to be “punny”, like Knotty Lady or Passing Wind.

Once you navigate all those little things, the name still needs to mean something to you. Shannon and I have been trying to come up with a name since this adventure began over a year ago. Names like “Animas” or “Serenity” were early attempts. Nothing ever felt right.

The superstitions and rules don’t stop once you’ve come up with a name either. Neptune, the god of the sea, will take his revenge if he is not properly appeased. There is a whole ceremony that needs to be done in order to strike the old name from Neptune’s “Ledger of the Deep” and ask his permission to add a new name. Of course there are many versions of the ceremony, and several involve copious amounts of alcohol.

Now that we have actually made an offer, we really need to make a decision. It seems the best time to make the change is when the boat changes hands. There are registrations and forms that all need to have the name, and changing later is just a bit more process.

We’ve narrowed it down to some finalists.

“Valinor”

From the Lord of the Rings. Valinor is the undying lands that the elves travel too once the king finally returns. (They also invited Bilbo and Frodo to join them.)

“Nymeria”

Nymeria is the name of Aryas direwolf in Game of Thrones. Named for the the warrior queen that created Dorne.

Yes, they are both a bit geek culture related, but both Shannon and I are fairly solid geeks. Game of Thrones was even a sub-theme of our wedding.

Let us know in the comments what you think. Even tell us your own ideas!

Robert Perry designs some great boats

How many boats have we looked at so far? I think I’ve lost count. If we are not running away from hurricanes, we have been on the road looking at more. Of the many we seen, one thing really stands out. Robert Perry has designed some great boats. You can almost tell, just by looking at the hull, and the sail plan, that he had his hands on it.

Every time we really like a boat and start doing more research, it always seems to be one of his. That first boat we truly loved, the Islander 38C was his design. We’re certainly not limiting our search, as there are a ton of great boats out there, but any time we see his name, the boat jumps up on our list.

Today we got to look at another great one, a Valiant 32. Only around 65 were ever made, and it has Perry designed written all over it. First thing to notice is its round canoe stern. It loses some cockpit space, but it more than makes up for it in looks. The cutter rig provides a sail plan for most every occasion, and this particular boat is well equipped with many choices of sails.

It’s not the largest boat inside, with only 10’5″ beam, it initially feels a bit cramped as you step aboard, but as you look around, its clearly designed with long passages in mind. There is storage everywhere. Every nook and cranny is utilized and feels planned. She has significant tankage, and carries 80 gallons of water, and nearly 50 gallons of fuel. Enough to take us pretty much anywhere we need to go even with no wind.

One item we’ve run into trouble with is the size of the v-berth and sleeping quarters. The last boat we really liked had a sleeping birth of only 5’11. That may be enough for Shannon, but it just a bit small for me. This boat does not have that issue, and we both fit nicely in the forward v-berth. It also has a decent rear quarter-birth and another in the salon that can make good sea berths.

There are several other perks of this boat that go beyond its design. She has a complete wind-vane autopilot, a large solar array with chargers and inverters, and even an auxiliary generator for all our power needs.

With so many things we liked about the boat it was tough to walk away. We headed down to the Kemah boardwalk to get some lunch and a beer to discuss. Two beers later we had decided.

We made an offer.

Lets see where this goes.

Back to the Routine, sort of

That storm really threw a wrench into things didn’t it. Well, after a few unplanned weeks traveling Arkansas, we’re somewhat back to our routine here on the beach. First of all we really want to thank John and Eva Bailey, and Jonathan and Jill Brown for allowing us to crash at their houses and interrupt their totally stable and normal lives with our craziness. I’m not real sure what we would have done had we not been able to escape Beaumont before the flooding started.

Brewery Tour with Bailey

Our first stop was Little Rock with the Baileys. We spent the week working by day, then burning our mouths tasting hot sauces from “Hot Ones” and learning to drink heavily at smoke filled bars for Razorback games by night.

Not wanting to overstay our welcome, we took off to Hot Springs to crash at the Browns. We took advantage full of their boat for labor day and got to spend the day wake-boarding and tubing, and generally forgetting about the rest of the the world on Lake Ouachita.

Somehow, we got extremely lucky with this storm. We had parked our RV in a little park just southwest of Beaumont. With all the storm tracking we had seen by the time we left the coast, it looked like Beaumont would get some rain, but be generally safe. Well, things changed. Two weeks passed before the roads were clear enough for us to get back to the camper. We had been told that the RV park had in-fact flooded pretty badly, and several trailers were lost. We had also been told ours was OK, but it was still a rather stressful 6 hour drive back.

 

We could see the how high the water had gone, but it looked to not get anywhere near the bottom of the trailer, and even may have not even hit the wheel bearings. Our bikes that I has stupidly left chained up outside were a bit rusted up, and my toolbox that I forgot was underneath got flooded, but all in all, no real problems. We quickly hitched up to the truck and pulled it that last hour back to the beach in Bolivar.

We been back on the peninsula now for a couple weeks, and everything seems back to normal. Were back searching for boats, and planning our next steps. We had planned on moving on by now, but that two weeks made us miss our quiet little spot, so we’ve reserved another month.

Boat search has continued, and we spent the last two weekends in Kemah looking at several of them. More updates coming!

Harvey

I really don’t know what to say. Harvey was quite an adventure. There is still so much work to be done for so many people affected by the storm. I feel a bit guilty talking about how it affected us. We still don’t actually know the outcome yet.

We started watching Harvey early last week. At that time it was just a named tropical depression, but it was headed right for us on the Texas coast. I’ve really learned a lot about tropical storms and hurricanes since then. First, was what does it all mean? Tropical depression, tropical storm, hurricane, storm surge, dirty side, landfall, steering flows. All of this was fairly unknown to me a week ago. Now I feel a bit overwhelmed with all the information.

Living half a mile from the coast that was well in the range that Harvey could hit was not ideal to say the least. How much wind can a stabilized 22ft RV take? Should be bail north now? Should we ride it out? We didn’t have any of those answers so we sought out the best advice we could. The owner of out RV park apparently had lived there on the peninsula for 40 or so years, I assume he should have some good info. He was pretty confident, “it’s just another tropical storm, we get them all the time” and “we see 40-50mph winds off the coast frequently, you should be fine.” He also said “we built our house and the structure for the RV park to withstand 150mph winds.” I assume after Ike pretty much leveled the whole of Bolivar Peninsula in 2008 pretty much everything was rebuilt to take a beating.

After that conversation I felt quite a bit better, and was planing on sticking it out. It could be a lot of fun! I planned on filling out water tank for 400lbs of ballast and some good drinking water just in case the water went bad. Gather some food, charge everything up, and enjoy. Or, at least that’s what I thought. By mid afternoon Thursday, several other “permanent” RV residence started packing up. I went around and chatted with them. “We have sat out a few of these, but I think we’re leaving on this one” one said. “Yea, I lent my generator to a friend, and I don’t want to go without power for a few days, so were headed out. Our neighbors are arriving in a few hours to take their rig too” said another. It didn’t take much more convincing than that for me to reconsider. A quick chat with Shannon and it was clear we should probably go to. An hour and a half later we were all packed and ready to roll.

We had not made much of a plan, but about an hour north of us was Beaumont, TX. It looked far enough from the coast, and far enough north that it should be at least safer for us and the camper. We found an RV park and reserved our weekend to ride out the storm.

That respite didn’t last long. We were up pretty much all night glued to the TV watching Harvey make landfall. Many of the heavily affected areas were places we had recently been. Port Aransas, Rockport, Corpus Christi, Galveston. It was fairly surreal. As we watched, the predictions of the storm path started moving north.  With rain totals predicted to be 20″+ in many areas now including Beaumont, we started to worry again. I looked up flood plans in the area, and it was all bad, but according to the insurance ratings, were in in as good a spot as we could. Not that we were really able to move again anyway, the wind and rain had already begin, and I didn’t want to risk pulling the trailer in that weather. We spent the next day “battening down the hatches.” All the prep that I had planned in order to stay in Bolivar, I was doing now. Fill the water tank, charge everything, prep the food stores, etc. We filled the truck we gas and settled in for the long haul. We played several games of Lords of Waterdeep, and watched the Weather Channel until we couldn’t stay awake anymore.

Waking up to Tornado warnings is something I hadn’t planned on. We had finally had a few hours of restless sleep and both our phones started blaring “Tornado warning, find shelter immediately.” We trudged through the six inches or so of standing water that had already accumulated and joined many other residents of the RV park in the laundry room for shelter. Two more Flash Flood and Tornado warnings later, we decided to bail again. This time we left the trailer. Not that we could have taken it anyway with the weather, but as it is a good two feet off the ground, I figured a bit of flooding in the area and it should be ok.

We have some friends that live a few hours north near Little Rock Arkansas, so we headed there to spend the week working. For the first 3 hours of the drive it didn’t stop pouring rain. Many streets were already beginning to flood. All we could do was hope for the best. Somewhere on the road we got a message from one of the boat owners we had been talking too in Corpus Christi. At first thought, we both immediately assumed that the boat did not make it though the storm. Turns out it was the opposite. He told us he couldn’t sell the boat anymore, becasue he has to move aboard. Apparently his house in Port Aransas did not fair as well as the boat did.

We’ve been working and watching Harvey continue to drop record amounts of rain on Texas from safety here in Arkansas for the week now. We contacted the RV park Tuesday morning to check on things, but it sounded a bit hectic. Beaumont was almost completely flooded, as was the RV park. they had spent the last day moving trailers away from the lake and were not sure what more could be done. At the time, our trailer was safe, bit the rain was still falling. As of now we still don’t know if it survived the flood.

Oh the people you will meet

You looking for a sailboat? A man in a NASA t-shirt said as he finished his Coors. “Um, yea” we responded with a bit of confusion. “We’ve been looking at boats all day”, “Well, I may have one for ya.”

Shannon and I had just finished looking at several boats in Kemah, and were debriefing over a beer at the Voodoo bar. He must have overheard us, becasue he quickly began telling us of his friend who is currently sailing to Panama on a 55ft Nicholson. After a few minutes of pictures and stories, he remembered that he was trying to sell us some other boat.

At this point Shannon and I are rather skeptical as this guys seems a bit, um, spacey. He starts to tell us about this Valiant 40 that his buddy that is currently sailing to Panama has here just across the street. “Its one of them blister boats” he said. Apparently in the late 70s, Valiant started making boats with a new epoxy/fiberglass mix that caused some severe blistering. This issue eventually put the company out of business. The core of the boat though, is still a fantastic big blue-water boat designed by Robert Perry.

As we walked to the marina NASA guys started telling his stories of his years at NASA as an engineer, and all the work he does on all these boats here now with that expertise. As he seems to get more comfortable with his stories, his salty sailor side starts to show. Stories of getting kicked out of marinas skinny dipping with “many ladies”, and missing hurricanes by days with his skilled weather plotting. I think I’m starting to like this guy

The boat itself is great, its old, but well equipped and solidly built. Its quite large, and well proven with multiple trips to South America under its belt. It unfortunately suffers from, what is know in the sailing community, as the plague. The blisters that are forming in its hull are essentially incurable. Many have tried, pumping tens of thousands of dollars into repairs, only to have them reappear. From what I read though, they are generally cosmetic, and there are no reported case of any catastrophic hull failure.

Salty sailor though says that we can have this 40ft boat for $20k. That’s one hell of a deal. and one worth serious thought. It just goes to show that good things happen while drinking at the bar.

One month in

It’s now been a month in Texas, we’re on the Bolivar->Galveston ferry again to head to Kemah to look at some more sailboats. It feels like we ride this ferry a lot these days. There’s really nothing on Bolivar Peninsula. There’s only one decent store at all, and it’s a combo grocery and hardware store, aptly named “The Big Store.” Anything we can’t find there we have to head into Galveston, or 30 miles north to a small town called Winnie. There’s no Laundromat, so we have to either hand wash in the sink, or hop the ferry again. We’ve eaten all all local restaurants, all 5 of them, they’re nothing to write home about. So if we have a craving for decent food, well, you can probably guess. One of them, the Tiki Beach Bar, does have one interesting little quirk, it has its own private grass airstrip where apparently pilots from all over  come in a have themselves some lunch.

There are some great bonuses to living here as well. For one it’s really quiet, traffic is non existent, except on the beach. The weather is really not too bad, it’s hot, and humid, but a quick walk to the beach and it feels quite nice again. Oh, and the beach, I love the beach. Its half a mile from the house, and ten miles in either direction of sandy goodness. I’ve never been much for just wasting time, I usually want to be doing something (and playing video games or watching TV, does count as that) but I can just sit on the beach and drink a beer and be perfectly content.

It’s not all beer on the beach though, we’ve had some issues with our A/C, and power outages. We had a storm roll by a few days ago that knocked out the power for nearly 10 hours. No power is generally OK for the trailer as we have backup batteries, but no power means no A/C. 10 minutes without A/C it’s a sauna inside the trailer. We were having other issues with the A/C as well. Due to a lovely design feature of the trailer, the thermostat is mounted on a wall that, due to the refrigerator, has some direct outdoor airflow. That airflow with all its moisture flows directly into the thermostat. It hits the cold dry air inside the trailer and immediately condenses. This kills the thermostat. It we woke up one night at around 3am and it was nearly 90 inside. Looking at the thermostat, it thought it was 40, good thing the heat didn’t turn on. I opened it up and found it dripping with water. So I dried it out and hoped for the best. Over the next few days the screen started shorting out, and it started melting, and freezing us in the middle of the night depending on its mood, so we replaced it. (Yet another ferry trip to Galveston.) I also made an attempt to put some insulation in that hole as well, so hopefully we won’t repeat that issue.

We are also still actively searching for our new sailboat. Last Friday after work we, um, took the ferry, to Kemah to look at several boats up there. After our last adventure to Corpus Christi, we were pretty much sold on the Islander 38 we saw, but it’s not really for sale, so we can’t really do anything about that right now. The broker in Kemah has 2 Islander 36’s and a few other boats in our price range so we had to have a look. Turns out the Islander 36 is mostly the same boat as the 38, just without a bowsprit, a pilothouse (really great view from the salon), or the really cool swim ladder on the stern. It has a more standard interior layout with a v-berth main cabin, and smaller quarter berths. Overall the boat was quite nice, and actually really well equipped. Unfortunately, I was still so set on the 38, that I just wasn’t looking at it with the right eye. So today, a week later and no movement on the 38, we are on our way back to Kemah to have another look.

This search for a boat feels like it taking a long time, but we’ve only been at it for a month and we already have some good options. We have one more month paid for here in Bolivar, so we have a bit more time, but we are starting to think of the next place. Do we head across the bay to Galveston? Down south to Corpus Christi? Or across the bay to Kemah? Who knows, but that’s the best part. It doesn’t matter, just go.

The search has begun!

After years of clicking through thousands of photos of sailboats on various websites, Shannon and I were finally able to step from the virtual world into reality.

Last Friday, we rolled out of bed at 4:15, gathered Pete and some clothes, and took off to catch the 5:30 Ferry to Galveston. We had scheduled visits with two yacht brokers near Corpus Christi. There were 3 specific boats that we had found online that we wanted to see.

An Endeavor 37:

A Nicholson 35:

And an Ericson 32.5:

Online, all three looked fairly good, and seemed to be what we wanted, but there was not way of knowing until we stepped aboard. We quickly learned that pictures on the internet and reality were significantly different.

We met the first broker and toured the Endeavor 37 Ketch. First impressions were excellent as the outside of the boat looked great. Clean hull and deck, it all seemed to be well maintained and cared for. Another bonus was that it was ketch rigged. This was something that I had wanted in a boat as it means that there are a lot more options in your sail plan and can perform better in a wider range of conditions. That initial impression continued as we looked inside. The A plan layout of this boat was the main reason it was on our list, it was open and roomy as it takes the V-birth (forward cabin, usually a v shaped bad) and turns it into a large salon (dining room). This really opens up the interior and makes the living space seem much larger. It has tons of storage, and it looked well maintained and clean.

That’s where things started to fall apart a bit. There was not much more to this boat than its good bones. The electronics were ancient, and essentially non-existent. The power system was minimal, and looked jury-rigged to its limits. I expect to have to replace most of the electronics as a geek, but I was not intending to rewire and re-power and entire boat.

Overall we were happy with the Endeavor and felt it was a great start to the search. We had several more boats to look at so we hopped back in the truck and headed to meet broker number two for the main event. The Nicholson 35

The Nicholson 35, according to what we saw online, was exactly the boat we wanted, and was the main reason for the trip. It was a solid full keel ocean cruiser, and its description and pictures were quite exciting. Unfortunately, that excitement quickly evaporated once we got to the boat. It was a LOT smaller than it seemed, and a lot older. We both felt it as we looked at the aging paint on the hull, and that feeling grew as we stepped inside to see that everything onboard looked to be original 1976 vintage. While it looked nice in pictures, it was really just too small, and too much work for what we wanted, so we moved on fairly quickly.

Right across the dock was our next boat, the Ericson 32.5, it was a bit more expensive, but also quite a bit newer and better equipped than the other boats. Ericson is a capable boat in general, but its more of a coastal cruiser than a big heavy bluewater boat, which is more of what we are looking for. This particular boat was less than half the weight of the other boats we had looked at so far, and for some reason that kept us from fully embracing the idea of it. (or it might have been the bummer that we were feeling after the last boat.) It was a fine boat, and in pretty good shape, but so far it was only 2nd on our list, and just a bit more money that we wanted to spend for “mostly” right for us.

The advantage of going though a broker started paying off at this point. We had already looked at several boats and everything that we had planned, but while we talked with him he had come up with some other options. He recommended we look at this C&C 35 that had just gone up for sale and was not yet listed. It was a bit out of our price range, but it was another opportunity to see what was out there and “tune” our expectations. Turns out that it was more of a racer than a cruiser boat. Though the previous owner had made significant changes to make it more of a cruiser, it still wasn’t all that comfortable. With that and cost and general layout of the boat, we had quickly written it off.

Once we had decided that, we spent a good half an hour chatting with the broker about our goals and what we want in a boat. This gave me some hope as he really seemed to want to help us find the right one. He had hinted that there was one more, and Islander 38 C, that he thought we would like a lot, but it wasn’t even for sale yet, and was several miles away at another marina. It was getting late and with the assumption that an Islander was automatically be out of our price range, we decided not to go check it out that evening, but agreed to meet him in the morning just to have a look. What else were we going to do while we were there.

The next morning, we met him at this other Marina. As we were walking to the dock I spotted my kryptonite, a boat with a good looking curved deck and a nice bowsprit. I pointed it out to Shannon just as a “hey look at that nice boat.” As we were admiring the nice lines, not at all thinking that it was the one we were there to look at, the broker hopped aboard, and started unlocking the cabin.

We pretty much knew then that this was exactly what we wanted. As we stepped aboard, and walked into the cabin it just began to solidify for us. This one felt right. It was spacious, and beautiful inside. Large pilothouse windows all around, large cockpit, tons of storage space. While we were touring, the broker got a call and walked away for a bit. Shannon and I just kept talked to each other and it was clear we were on the same page. The more we walked around and looked at everything, the more we wanted this boat.

Unfortunatly, its just not for sale yet. We talked to the broker, and while the owner is talking about selling, it certainly hasnt been decided yet. Even if he does sell, the price may be way more that we want to spend.

While driving home and the whole next day, we discussed all the boats, pros, cons, money, what we want. In the end we just couldn’t stop thinking about that Islander. So we emailed our broker, and essentially said we were very interested and to call us first when he talks to the owner (and have him subtly hint that he should sell it to us).

Now we wait, and hope.

We cant just sit around though, there are TONS more boats to look at. In-fact, we just got back from Kemah after looking at five more boats! But we will talk about them next time.