If it were only as easy as that! Looking for a sailboat is an interesting experience that I would assume is a lot like looking for a house. Not everyone is looking for the same thing, but half the battle is figuring out what you actually want. The other half is agreeing with your partner. The third half (this is a boat blog – stop doing math) is finding a boat that fits that description and falls into your budget. Craig and I had some disagreements on the fundamentals at the start of our search. He had been doing a lot of reading and number crunching and was convinced that we could only look at old monohulls in the 30ft range. I was looking at 40-45ft catamarans. There were
a couple a lot of heated conversations about how this was going to happen. In the end, I gave in on the catamaran but I demanded something larger than 30ft. If this adventure was ever going to be successful, I needed a space that could feel comfortable in the water and in the marina. I wanted something that would be heavy enough to cut through the choppy water and big enough to feel like a home instead of a sardine can. This wasn’t just a boat purchase, it was also a home purchase. Craig finally saw the light and after crunching some more numbers he agreed that we could make it work.
What came next was a flurry of emails between Craig and myself filled with countless links to various boats around the Seattle area and beyond. “This one looks great! Could be ready to go!” “Look at this price! We could fix it up any way we want!” No two boats are the same and comparing them was a challenge for me. Without
much any experience owning a boat, we weren’t sure where to place our priorities. There are a lot of great looking boats and ones that even sparked our interest enough to email the owner/broker. We were shocked (shocked, I say!) at the complete lack of communication skills some of these people had. So many inquiries went unanswered. The ones that were answered were more minimalistic than a strippers outfit at the end of the song. Did people really manage to sell their boats this way?
Then it happened. I came across the listing for a boat in Florida that I couldn’t stop thinking about. Craig and I already had a trip to Grenada planned and we knew we would have to catch a connecting flight in Florida so why not extend the trip a bit to do a little boat shopping? Craig was convinced that it was still out of our range, but I emailed them anyway. Something about this boat gave me the warm-n-fuzzies and I was suddenly determined to make it work. The following morning, an email from Todd and Gayle, the owners, greeted me and I nearly jumped out of my skin with excitement. It was practically a novel and I couldn’t read it fast enough. It was the start of a correspondence that lead to a trip to see the boat named Small World which had left Florida and was now located in the Virgin Islands. This was no small feat of coordination, but Todd and Gayle were super helpful and in the end everything seemed to fall into place so perfectly. Unfortunately for me, the trip was for Craig and I had to stay home in Seattle. In February. Do you know what the weather is like in February in Seattle? Do you know what the weather is like in the Virgin Islands at ANY time of year? I totally lost that round.
By the end of Craig’s trip, there was a conversation with him, Todd, and myself (via voice only Skype) to discuss making an offer on the boat. As it turns out, Craig got the warm-n-fuzzies, too (despite getting ciguaterra poisoning while sailing with Todd and Gayle). We agreed on a price and started down the next path- actually purchasing it.
As you can maybe imagine, we had zero clues about how to purchase a boat from a foreign country, a bajillion miles away (rough estimate). The sheer number of decisions and things to coordinate are just insane. We also started to really learn what BOAT(S) means: Bust Out Another Thousand (Suckers). We had fully committed to this journey and I hadn’t even seen the boat in person. I’m not sure what the definition of “crazy” is, but I am pretty sure I qualify. Then again, showing up to work every day and expecting to feel any differently than the day before is equally crazy.
Stay tuned for more to come!