Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sea Trial

"What's Next?" perhaps this catamaran!
At first glance the sailing catamaran "What's Next?" Didn't look that different from our first liveaboard boat, "Hakuna Matata," and she certainly looked no more like our "perfect boat" than any of the dozens of vessels nearby.

But our broker, Brent Hermann of the Catamaran Company in Ft. Lauderdale was confident that this Lagoon 450 was, indeed, our "perfect boat" even though we were a good 10 months ahead of the schedule when we thought we might even consider looking for our next boat. So, we decided to make a ridiculously low offer, mostly just to end the conversation. But instead of being the end of the boat buying conversation, it turned out to be just the beginning when the owners responded with a surprisingly low counter-offer.

At that point we decided we needed to see the boat in person again (for more on the first time we saw her, check out my last blog post: We Are NOT Boat Shopping), so Nathan and I flew to Ft. Lauderdale for a quick trip.

Nothing like a kid-free, couples trip!

When we got on the airplane we discovered that not only were we not sitting together but every single television was tuned to "Shark Week," with horrible scenes of cute animals getting swallowed by massive great white sharks. Yes, sharks. I couldn't help but wonder, was this a sign that we should give up on this ridiculous boat-buying idea?

Of course every TV would be tuned to "Shark Week!"

But after the longest flight ever (mostly due to the nasty woman sitting beside Nathan who kept screaming at him every time his elbow or foot accidentally invaded her space from his cramped middle seat), we finally made it to sunny Fort Lauderdale and I couldn't help but start to feel the excitement of being back where our first liveaboard adventure began.

Roomy Master (and Missus'!) Cabin
Within a half hour of arriving we were back aboard "What's Next?" and Nathan was inspecting every square inch of the boat. The good news; the engines looked like they were in great shape and had low miles. And for me the really good news was that this boat smelled good without that yucky, musty smell that so many other boats had. Good engines + good smelling = Good news.

Clean engines with low miles!
Ugly faucet, yes. But still functional. 
The not-so-good-news; the air conditioner had obviously not been run while she sat at dock and the salty air took its toll. All of the fixtures were corroded, pitted and ugly.

As I was about to grumble about how terrible the fixtures looked, I saw the look in Nathan's eye...

He liked this one.

Almost all the fixtures are corroded.
And, when I got over the look of the fixtures (with the help of Nathan explaining to me that those ugly fixtures were easy to replace and were saving us a ton of money) I realized I liked this one too.

Granted, it did not have the 4 cabins that I had hoped for, but there was a lot of potential here. So we gave the green light to pay for the sea trial and have a thorough inspection done to see if we really wanted to buy it.
Climbing the mast for the inspection

Starting the Sea Trial

Captain Nathan taking "What's Next?" down New River
The sea trial went smoothly but the inspection left us with a list of things that needed to be fixed. From batteries that needed replacing to missing cushions for the forward deck, we held nothing back.

Some of the problems: damaged ropes
Minor damage to the wood
Small cracks needing patching
"There is a lot that needs fixing. Let's just walk away," we said to each other, knowing we were in no hurry and convincing ourselves there would be another "perfect boat" for us down the road.

So, we went back to New Mexico and responded to the very generous offer on the table with our extensive list of must-haves and must-fixes before we would agree to buying her. We knew they would laugh at us and turn us down.

But then they didn't turn us down! They accepted all of our ridiculous demands. The financing was already approved. Instead of the "dead end" response we expected, we got the total green light.

Needless to say we were both a bit in shock. And so it was, on one day in early August, despite all of our very logical reasons against it, Nathan looked at me and said, "Well, I guess we're buying a boat!"

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

We Are NOT Boat Shopping

You never know what might happen when the kids go away to summer camp.

Last year my husband, Nathan and I built a pretty awesome loft bed for our daughters (if we do say so ourselves). It was a massive project, but worth the effort for sure.

Not only did it give them a unique, private hideaway, but it also won them lots of "cool" points with friends whenever they discovered that the only entrance is a rock climbing wall.

So, last year we built some beds. This year we went to check out a boat which could be our family's future, floating home.

To tell the whole story I have to take you back to Spring Break when we stopped in to see Brent Hermann at the Catamaran Company. He was the broker who sold us our old liveaboard catamaran; the 42" Manta, "Hakuna Matata." But he is also a friend. And we were in the area. 

"We're not in the market and won't even start talking about boats for another year at least," we said. 

Like a bad game of "telephone," somehow Brent heard, "We're ready to buy another boat!"

So we went around the marina in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida checking out some boats. It felt good to be near the water and on a boat again. But mostly it was an experience of being in a constant state of rapid-fire heart attacks as our 4 year old son, Samuel, darted between one danger and the next.

After a few boats, and more close calls than I can count, we wrapped up our little tour. 

"Clearly, we aren't ready to move onto a boat with this little guy yet!" I said. 

Brent heard, "Find us a boat right away!" 

On our way out of the marina 10 year old Ahava spotted a boat named "What's Next?" and asked me to take a picture of her in front of it since it was a perfect question for this delightfully adventurous family of ours. 

Little did we know, a few months later Brent Herman would be telling us he had found the perfect boat for us.

"What's it called?," Nathan asked.

"What's Next?," Brent responded.

And so it was, while the girls were away at summer camp this year, we left Samuel with our babysitter (Miss Linda) and went for a couple's trip to Ft. Lauderdale to check out what might be our "What's Next?"

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

And then there was this possibility...

Sometimes it feels like life is barreling forward, like a freight train with failed brakes. I watch the ebb and tide of the seasons and feel like so much of it is out of my control. Kindergarten, First grade... fifth. It doesn't slow down. 

But then there is this moment. This moment when the story seems to be writing itself in the same, predicable ways and suddenly something happens that makes you gasp. Suddenly, there is a glitch in the matrix. Suddenly you see something that makes you realize that the seeds you have been planting... the reality you have been sowing... are starting to take root and reach for the light of day.

So now there is this boat. 

We are six months shy of where my most ambitious vision would've taken us. But now there is an offer on the table. And a possibility. 

And my heart skips a beat. 

We have been landlocked boat babies for a long time. So long that I stopped daring to dream. But here we are, with this offer which (shockingly) may actually be accepted. Here we are talking about flying to Florida in 24 hours to survey a boat that we may live on soon. Live on with three kids, two adults and one canine. 

And then there was this possibility.