We Offer These Libations…

After living on our Valiant 32 for roughly 120 hours, we were happy to take her out on our first shake-down cruise. Our agenda was simple:  Make it through the channels into Galveston Bay, complete the renaming ceremony, and then go sailing!

Since we had been planning on taking her out all week, our excitement and anxiety had been building. When the time came, we were thrilled to get the boat out of her slip and into open waters. To get into the bay, we had to follow a series of channels. Luckily there was a power boat in front of us to show the way and it helped that the channels were well marked. We made our way into some neighborhoods, past the Kemah Boardwalk and through some areas which we want to later explore by land as well.

Once in Galveston Bay, we had to go through the process of renaming our sailboat.  According to legend, each and every vessel is recorded by name in the Ledger of the Deep and is known personally to Poseidon, or Neptune, the god of the sea.  In order to change a vessel’s name,  we must 1st purge its name from the Ledger and from Poseidon’s memory. The name changing ceremony is a lengthy and wordy process which requires 3 stages and 3 bottles of champagne.

The first ceremony was to wipe the previous name from the Ledger of the Deep. It requires 1 bottle of champagne (minus a bit for the captain and 1st mate) and a metal tag with the old name written on it to be thrown into the ocean to be wiped clean. 

“Oh mighty and great ruler of the seas and oceans, to whom all ships and we who venture upon your vast domain are required to pay homage, implore you in your graciousness to expunge for all time from your records and recollection the name, redacted,  which has ceased to be an entity in your kingdom. As proof thereof, we submit this ingot bearing her name to be corrupted through your powers and forever be purged from the sea. “

Immediately following, was the renaming ceremony which adds the new name to the Ledger and requires 1 more bottle of champagne (minus a bit more for the captain and 1st mate). 

“Oh mighty and great ruler of the seas and oceans, to whom all ships and we who venture upon your vast domain are required to pay homage, implore you in your graciousness to take unto your records and recollection this worthy vessel hereafter and for all time known as Nymeria, guarding her with your mighty arm and trident and ensuring her of safe and rapid passage throughout her journeys within your realm.”

The final step in the renaming ceremony was to appease the gods of the winds to assure fair winds and smooth seas. We were required to pour a generous libation of champagne to Great Boreas of the North Wind, Great Zephyrus of the West Wind, Great Eurus of the East Wind and the Great Notus of the South Wind.

“Oh mighty rulers of the winds, through whose power our frail vessels traverse the wild and faceless deep, we implore you to grant this worthy vessel Nymeria the benefits and pleasures of your bounty, ensuring us of your gentle ministration according to our needs.”

After a few sips of the remaining champagne, it was time to put out the sails and have some fun. The conditions on the water were quite perfect for our first solo cruise in Nymeria. The bay was calm with 10-15 knots of consistent wind. We hoisted the main and then the head sail. We were able to get close to 7 knots of speed sailing close to the wind or close hauled. Nymeria was steady and strong as we pushed our limits with letting her heel over. We were much more comfortable when having the wind from the side, at a beam reach, or from the back of the boat, on a broad reach, since she didn’t heel over so much.

Justin and I both took our turns sailing and navigating. We were having so much fun getting to know Nymeria that we almost didn’t realize that a front was fast approaching with bigger winds and waves. As we headed back through the channels and into the safety of our marina, we looked forward to a 4th bottle of champagne. This libation was just for us, to celebrate our first successful sail with Nymeria.

We have had so much fun sharing our stories with you. Please stay tuned for our next adventure!

 

The move is on!

Well, it begins, again. After four months here on the beautiful Bolivar Peninsula, we are on the move. This time across the bay to move aboard Nymeria. The boat spent the last week at the shipyard getting a new bottom job and some plumbing repairs required by our insurance. Tomorrow morning we get to relaunch her as our new home.

We will miss the quick beach access, the very quiet neighborhood, and we had just learned the name of all the bartenders on the peninsula. Its time to move on though.

Yet another session of downsizing has to happen, and everything that we have not used in the last four months needs to be stored or sold. We already downsized a ton when we left Durango to fit and live in the camper, but not enough. The boat isn’t necessarily any smaller than the camper, in-fact, living space is a bit better, but the storage space is spread through a lot of smaller and awkwardly shaped spaces.

There is also a todo list about a mile ling once we are on-board. Days worth of cleaning, light fixtures, fans, engine work, tests, more cleaning. Then, maybe a bit of sailing. First on the list is get the main water tank clean. It looks like it has been sitting with 80L of water for years. There is a layer growth all around, and a bunch of sediment at the bottom. Nothing a bit of bleach and some scrubbing cant take care of. Then its onto the engine for me. It may not need any maintenance right away, but I want to do an immediate oil change, water pump, and other general maintenance just so I can be sure, and get some experience doing it before too long.

We have our own satellite internet set to be installed on Monday, its expensive, and has many drawbacks, but we need internet, and this is our only choice as the free marina WiFi just wont cut it for our jobs.

Wish us luck!

24 hours with Nymeria

Its official, we are boat owners. Shannon and I took delivery of Nymeria on Friday and got to spend the day really getting to know her. It wasn’t an easy road to get here. It started back in July when we arrived here in Texas. After a few weeks the boat search really got going. Finally in October, after many boats toured, we found the right one. After making an offer, and taking her out for a survey and sea trial, the real test began.

It seems the hardest part of all this was actually moving the money from one account to another. Seems like such a simple task, but it we actually had to travel back in time before the internet in order to make it happen. Several phone calls, 8 hours of driving between post offices and banks, one  lost transfer check direct from the bank, and an overnight mail of “temporary” checks, I was finally able to get everything deposited in one place.  Only to have Wells Fargo question the final wire transfer, then finally agree after some persuading only because I have been an account holder since 1985. “That would be one hell of a long con” they said.

After the most stressful week I think I’ve ever had, we finally hopped aboard and moved her to our new slip at Waterford Harbor Marina. It had been over a year since our sailing courses in Thailand, and I had never actually docked anything larger than our friend Jeffs’ 22ft day sailor, so, trial by fire I guess. One lesson I remember clearly was “if your bowman isn’t bored, you are docking too fast” I took that to heart and several slow minuted later we tied up to slip 9-21.

Even before we pulled in completely, the friendliness of the sailing community started to show. The livaboard couple in the slip next to us came out to greet us and help with dock-lines. They happily listen to our story of getting there and offer congratulations and whatever advice we are in need of.

We needed to replace one of the old stern lines of the boat as it was rather old and frayed (even tied and held together by some tape) so we took off to our first official trip to West Marine (or my new toy store). They say its nearly impossible to get out of there without spending $200 on stuff. I can totally see why. “Yea, we need one of those”, “oh sure, that would be nice”, “that one light really needs replacing, so lets buy 7 and replace them all.” With an unbelievable amount of personal restraint, we walked out with a new line, one new light, and a fan. $197.95, we had done it!

Now the fun begins. The next several hours were spent folding ourselves in strange ways cleaning and testing everything we could. What pipes go where?How does this light turn on? WTF is this thing, and what does it do? Where are we going to put all our stuff? By the time the sun went down we were nasty and exhausted.

As we were finally getting ready to clean up and order a seemingly traditional first night in a new home pizza, that wonderful sailing community showed its worth again. As we walked down the dock, a couple came out and invited us to the Friday Marina Happy Hour. They meet every Friday at the pavilion and share stories and snacks. We had intended to just have our celebratory champagne and eat pizza on the boat alone, but why not be social? We ended up having way too much fun and had a few too many drinks and no real food while meeting the other owners. We finally ordered that pizza far too late and after stuffing our faces we took to our first night sleeping on the boat.

After a better night of sleep than I expected, we got up and prepared to take the boat to the shipyard for a haul-out and full bottom job. As we were getting ready, Shannon remarked “this should feel weirder.” I think I agree. For some reason things just felt OK, like we were supposed to be there.  Even our last few months in the RV never seemed too normal, just part of a vacation or something. Ill take it as a good sign.

One more week of RV living while we have the Nymeria worked on, then the adventure really begins!

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.

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.

In Search of Wind!

In case you didn’t know, it is hard to find a sailboat in the landlocked state of Colorado!

When Justin and I had this crazy idea a few years back about heading to the coast and finding a Sailboat, we didn’t quite know what we were getting into. If anyone knows me, you know that I love doing research and have been happily consumed with it ever since. And where did I start, the only place I could, online! Justin and I dove into YouTube and began to follow some amazing video bloggers about their adventures on the sea. Some of our favorites include: Sailing La Vagabonde, White Spot Pirates, Sailing Uma, Sailing SV DelosFollow The Boat, Wicked Salty, Cruising Lealea, and Sailing Nervous . Along with all the inspirational videos about the beauty of sailing, the wonder of traveling to vacant islands and meeting new cultures from around the world, we absorbed all the technical details that Sailing Nervous gave in their boat search and the amount of control and precision can go into a boat refit like Sailing Uma and Cruising Lealea have done and/or still doing. (Refit: repairing, restoring, renovating)

Before we got too far into the boat searching and future planning, our good friend, Jeff Leith, suggested that we spend some time sailing in order to determine if it was something at we really wanted to do. Justin had the most previous sailing experience playing around on his friend Nate’s boat in Portland and in helping Nate take his sailboat from Portland to Squamish, British Columbia. I had only toured Nate’s boat once, meaning that I had zero sailing experience. Heeding Jeff’s advice, we piggybacked onto a trip to see my nephew, Quade, graduate high school in Seoul, South Korea with a trip to Phuket, Thailand to spend a week in sailing school with Yachtpro. (See previous blog posts: Sailing Thailand Pt 1 and Sailing in Thailand Pt 2.) While there, we were able to get our American Sailing Association certifications for 101 Basic Keelboat Sailing, 103 Basic Coastal Cruising, and 104 Bareboat Cruising. (See also previous blog link) While there, we only strengthened our resolve to make this sailing thing happen!

After gaining video and actual sailing inspiration, in came the google searching! What type of sailboat do we want: ketch, cutter, sloop…? Do we want a monohull, catamaran or a trimaran? Do we want a fin, wing, bilge, centerboard, or full keel? Do we want wood, steel, fiberglass? Do we want a wheel vs tiller? And what do all of these terms mean? Of course there are more factors that we have to consider and the list is long and tedious.

As I dug deeper I learned that there was also math involved! Displacement/Length Ratio, Ballast Ratio, Sail Area/Displacement Ratio! The Displacement/Length ratio gives a sense of a boat’s speed potential – the lower the number, the faster the boat. The Ballast Ratio is the percentage of the boat’s weight that is the ballast. This number refers to the ‘stiffness’ or the resistance to the heeling or the leaning of the boat when under sail.  The Sail Area/Displacement Ratio is a measure of the power of the sails when compared to the weight of the boat. The higher the number, the higher the performance, but the boat will be harder to handle.

All of this makes my head hurt but it all means that we will have to do some calculations in order to make sure that we have a comfortable ride.

A person could easily get bogged down with all the formulas and specs but in trying to simplify things for my own sanity, it all comes down to safely.

After digging through mountains of online information, we feel that a ‘blue water’ monohull sailboat would be the best fit for us. These boats are more slow and heavy but tend to be more stable in the water. Using bluewaterboats.org and Mahina Boat Consultation websites as a guide, online searches found that boats mostly fitting my criteria were in the 32-42 foot range and ran anywhere from $15000-$45,000. Pricing depends on the age, condition and location of the boat. Of course I would prefer a larger boat for more comfort and stability but that also means more money for the purchase, maintenance and docking fees. Upon arriving in Galveston last week, I started contacting brokers in the area to start the process of actually going on board some of these beautiful sailboats. We are set to go to Corpus Christi this Friday to look at an Ericson 325 and a Nicholson 35 along with a few others. We also hope to get on board a Downeaster 32 soon. We will let you know how it goes.

‘They’ say that the moment you walk onto the right boat you will know immediately if she is ‘the one.’