Wednesday, July 18, 2012

We may have found her!

So like I said last week, there is A LOT to update on! The biggest thing is that we may have found our floating home! A few weeks back we went up to Southern, Maine to check out a boat we'd found on Yacht World. A 1978 43' Gulfstar Mark II. She was just listed at the beginning of June and she meets everything on our top 10 "must have" list. She's bigger than we'd been looking at, a lot bigger, about 7' feet bigger. She's got the center cockpit and aft cabin we want and she's got the heavy displacement (think stability) and rugged craftsmenship that we like. She's a ketch rig which we like for heavy weather. She's in our price range AND she's local - only an hour or so north of Portsmouth! 

She's BEAUTIFUL, in great shape for her age, no visible water damage anywhere that you'd expect it, warm teak interior, brand new sails and a full cockpit enclosure (think warmth and safety). She's currently "on the hard" because her current owners bought her to be their floating, cruising home and did some work to get her ready to cruise and then last winter the owner suffered and accident and is now unable to climb on her. It's a sad tale but it also bodes well for us because the current owner is the commodore of the local yacht club so he's probably not going to buy a crappy boat!
Aren't her lines pretty? And we love the ketch rig. 
She's got a lot below the water line - stability! 

Galley with fridge & lots of natural light

Some good instruments at the helm

Relatively good size cockpit  with full enclosure

Checking out the windlass - note the full dodger enclosure. 

Warm teak interior which we love

2 leaves that open up - I will be recovering the white cushions, need cozier colors

Super long navigation station & fantastic headroom leading to the aft cabin
So, after seeing this boat which was next to perfect for us we got pretty serious about our next move. We went to have beers at Joe's Boathouse in South Portland - because you can't look at a boat and not have "debrief beers" after and there were all these locals sitting around having come in from their boats talking about their days and we thought, "this could be us, on THAT boat!" 

It's like we're at this moment where we either talk about doing this for another year or we make a move and move aboard before winter sets in. Are we rushing it? Maybe. But if we wait we are one year older, one year behind the Fall '14 departure plan, one more year of rent goes in someone else's pocket, one year of "learning" is lost. And we all know all the things that can come up in a year - there's expenses that happen, trips that must be taken, family and friends who need help, etc. There are a thousand things that can and will happen between now and next spring that could deter us from our plan. Not to mention this boat might be sold! We've done A LOT of learning and research in the past 5+ months since we started this journey and though we don't know it all or have all the answers we are accepting the fact that we might never have it all figured out. Inherent in this plan is uncertainty - will we survive January in New Hampshire in the middle of a river? How will Jill, Tim and Toby dog all fit into a small cabin of a sailboat without killing one another? Will we lose power when we try and run an electric heater and the microwave? Will we misjudge the current in the river and overshoot our dock? Where will we fit our record player :) We just have to be smart enough to minimize the amount of uncertainty and the severity of the ramifications of mistakes. This is truly living - accepting uncertainty, learning from mistakes and taking risks! I feel myself taking very deep breaths these days, my heart races sometimes when I think of all that is ahead for us and though that could be looked at as stress, I see it as being alive. Feeling my heart race, taking that deep breath, my mind racing with questions in the middle of the night - to me, that's the beauty of being alive and living life fully of embracing the uncertainty and exhilaration of our life right now. Without exhilaration - what's life?

So in the past month we've done all the myriad of things that have to happen to buy a floating home. Trust us there is SOOOOO much to get in order. It's not like you just write a check and then sail away. I keep telling myself that this (stressful) part of the journey will be a distant memory once we're aboard and sitting on deck with a cold beer and the sunset. 

So in the last month:
- we have secured a boat loan (aka mortgage) for the amount of the boat
- we did a lot of comparison shopping to be sure we have a secure idea of what we'll   offer
- we read the last marine survey done on the boat in 2009 - ALL GOOD!
- we got quotes on on the land survey, the launching, commissioning and sea trial
- we read countless blogs, forums, reviews and tutorials on the Gulfstars, on sea trials, on surveys, on boat - negotiating, on boat insurance, on marinas....
- we talked to trusted 'boat people' in our lives (thanks Doc Rynne & Dad!)
- we talked to the marina about rates to move in, parking and electricity
- we talked to Town Clerks in 2 different towns in 2 different states about registration, taxes and residency - (hello Kittery, Maine!)
- we got quotes on boat insurance
- we got tutorials and quotes on shrink wrapping for winter (stay tuned, this should be fun!)
- we planned out where we'll store stuff (thanks to our parents!)
- we had numerous moments of "holy sh*t what are we doing?!"
- we worked out our down payment and our drop dead highest offer
- we had drinks overlooking as many marinas and harbors as we could to keep up the inspiration and motivation
- we figured out the price difference from mooring to slip to compare for next summer (we are most definitely slip dwelling our first winter!)

-- Oh, and we still worked full time plus some, made 2 trips to Cape Cod for family reunions and work, 1 trip to the White Mountains for Farrell family fun, and all the other life stuff that goes on daily...WHEW!

(In all truthfulness, this all wouldn't/couldn't have happened without the amazingly organized and determined Tim at the helm -there's something so great about having a cost estimator for a husband -he gets it done, done well and done fast! He is phenomenal!)
Inspiration for all this stress! September 1 maybe???

It seems these days when Tim and I are together it's all boat all the time - we are constantly talking about the logistics, the plan, the move, the details. Every time I open up a closet in our house I have a small panic attack thinking, "oh my god, all this stuff has to find a place or be sold or thrown out!" But that part of the journey is a ways off, next up comes THE OFFER. We are heading up this Saturday at 5pm to look at her again, this time look in more crannies, lay in the bed to test out our sleeping arrangement, count closets and drawers - look at her with a much more discerning eye in terms of truly living on her in under 6 weeks! In our pockets we will have a down payment and an offer letter. If all checks out this second time we will submit our offer - HOLY COW!!! 

The next step will be for the broker to take the offer to the owner and there'll be negotiating but if we can come to deal then it's on to the marine survey...

So folks, STAY TUNED it's about to get real interesting around here....

"The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live." - Leo F. Buscaglia


  1. So exciting! Keep the updates coming!

  2. This is such a fun adventure! You'll need to sail down to NY one of these days so we can toast DINKS overlooking the Manhattan skyline. We sailed down here on a family trip, and there is something rather magical about the juxtaposition of extreme urban density against the chill simplicity of being on a sailboat. Love you both! xx B