It’s white and burgundy outside with a teak interior, four beds (one shaped as a “V”!), one bathroom and a fold-away dining table. It also floats and can take us to far off places.
We arrived in Florida eager to see, in person, the boats we’d been reading about months ago back in Edmonton. We quickly found that when you’ve got a strict budget, there’s no perfect boat and it’s all about where you’d like to compromise. Budget and a few seaworthiness factors were the bare bones no-comprising list. Outside of that, we had many nice-to-haves, but we soon found most of the boats were severely lacking the nice-to-haves.
After a few weeks of searching, our spirits were low when the number one boat on our list (and our main reason for coming to Florida) was sold the day before we arrived to look at it. The next day we found a beauty of a boat, but Jeff then calculated the capsize screening factor and comfort ratio, telling us the boat wasn’t as seaworthy as we had hoped. The broker showing this boat asked if Jeff was an engineer, because he “has the disease”.
Feeling a bit discouraged with our boat hunting trip, we headed inland to Indiantown, Florida, where loads of boats are stored during the hurricane season on a canal. As luck would have it, one of boats we came to look at had just been reduced in price by 25% that morning. We hadn’t seen a boat at this price that was as ready to go cruising and in such great shape. We drove back to our room excited and overwhelmed that we actually might buy a boat, and called the broker to put in an offer.
We have to give a big thank you to Dennis Dodge at Advantage Yacht Sales and Service. He is quite likely the most honest and helpful boat broker out there. Our month in Indiantown working on the boat was made a lot easier (and cheaper) with Dennis’ knowledge and help.
Since then we’ve been working everyday on our new floating home. Bilge pump rewiring, lifeline fatigue, hidden leaks, seized through hull valves, hidden mold under the fridge’s insulation, replacing all sanitary sewer hoses, old cushion covers and v-berth mattress, replacing deck hatches, seized propane valves, leaking propeller packing gland, inspecting chain plates, re-sealing and reinstalling deck stations and fittings, teaching Znak about life on the boat…there seemed to be a never ending list of work to do. Plus there was the 2.5 metre alligator swimming around our boat every morning.
We quickly learned that all boat owners have huge lists of things-to-do, but it doesn’t all need to be done at once. Every item takes far more time than one would possibly imagine due to the difficult access to every screw and bolt and the non-standard size for the most part. We are overcoming these small challenges the best we can and trying to have some fun along the way. We have numerous lists of work to do, things to buy and smaller work projects on hold for when we finally sail off to the Bahamas. Life is busy for boat owners and it doesn’t involve drinking margaritas all day, unfortunately.
Spare time and happy events
We celebrated two birthdays in November. First, Znak turned 5 this year, so we cooked him a special birthday breakfast with bacon, eggs and pancakes that followed by a nice walk and play in the park. Jeff also celebrated his birthday at the end of the month, which was marked by a rare day off from working on the boat and getting down to the beach. We were also fortunate to celebrate American Thanksgiving in Indiantown, with four days of food, drinks and live music. All put on by the marina. Jeff’s dad visited us for a few days too. It was great having him with us and we look forward to future visits!
Our Maiden Voyage
As much as we enjoyed our temporary home of Indiantown, making new friends and working on our boat, we were eager to move closer to the coast, where we could sail the boat and get more experienced before heading offshore. Yesterday, we completed our first solo trip to a new location on the coast. After some mild rope burns on our hands while mishandling lines in the canal locks, ever so slightly hitting the bottom of the shallow part of the canal and dinging the dock at our destination, we and our new boat arrived in one piece.
Now we’re about to slip into our down-filled sleeping bags for the night as we wait for this cold front in Florida to pass.
Alena, Jeff and Znak