Almost 3 months in…

Some days I think I’m a crazy person and have made a horrible decision.  What kind of person decides to live on a boat??  Then there are days that I absolutely love it and can not imagine going back to living on the land.  I have moments of panic thinking “people don’t live on express cruisers”, and that I should have stuck it out for a sailboat.  However, it wasn’t in the cards at that time.  I had to live somewhere.  And as a person with no day to day sailboat experience, it’s a better decision to buy a newer cruiser and ease into the nautical life.  For me at least.

I’m not a “full time” live aboard as I do spend time at my boyfriends house.  He comes to the boat a couple nights, I’ll be here by myself a couple nights, and then I go there a couple nights.  I call my boat home and prefer to spend my time here.

There has been a bit of adjusting.  It only took a few days to figure out how to ninja and matrix myself around so I don’t trip and fall or just crack my head off something.  Deciding which berth to use as my main bed took a couple weeks.  I’m still sorting out how to fit everything in here and not have a mess.  I’m still learning to be comfortable in such a small living space.  My boat is 30ft at the waterline with an 11ft beam, so 330 square feet (right?).  I have a full canvas enclosure for the cockpit/back area, which is fantastic.  I can use that section as my living room as soon as the weather gets just a few degrees warmer.

I have everything a land dweller has; computer, internet, tv (no cable, haven’t had that in over a decade), stove, microwave, sink, fridge, queen sized bed, couch, table, sewing machine (yup), bathroom, shower (needs to be repaired) and so on.  I actually have a bit more since I am allowed to use the hotel amenities…score!!  Vending machines, gift shop, tennis courts…oh, and the pool.

I do feel very overwhelmed at times.  I didn’t grow up around boats…or sailing, or even near a nice body of water.  I had to drive an hour to get to the jersey shore, and that was just a day trip or weekend adventure.  My lack of knowledge of boating makes me feel like I’m damaging the boat.  Having just spent almost $5k to rebuild an engine I hope not…  I’ve bought a few books about electrical systems, and how my engines work.  A lot of that seems like a foreign language, or I just get frustrated and don’t retain anything.  But I’m trying.  I’m learning, even if it’s a little at a time.  For example, I now know that a stern drive boat doesn’t have a rudder.  I also know how sacrificial anodes work.  Which reminds me…ahhh, always something to do!!

The short story is that I live on a boat which I own (as soon as the bank says so) and I’m not dumping money into a rental.  I’m learning a little every day.  I’m spending quite a good bit of money, which I hope will benefit the functionality of the boat.  I can move a hell of a lot easier than anyone else I know.  I’m in San Diego, on the water, across from the beach (and an ice cream shop).  And I am looking forward to all of the adventures ahead!

Here are some recent photos:

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my anodes…

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the funky shaped v-berth

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this is my lovely pathway to the marina

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a photo off the bow during one of the storms

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maiden voyage! not the best placement for the surfboards

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my awesome touchscreen. 3 miles out for the christening

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yes drinking and driving is bad, but it was for the maiden voyage/renaming toast

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the new name! in star wars lettering

Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you at sea!

-Eileen

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I’m afraid of my boat….

Not exactly afraid “of” the boat.  I’m more terrified by the fact that I have no idea of how boats work.  I’m fairly certain that every noise is a direct result of my nautical ignorance which will immediately result in the boat meeting her demise.  As I settle into bed I hear something kick on.  Do I look?  What exactly am I looking for?  And what on earth do I do if it looks “wrong”??  Who do I call?  (Ghostbusters, clearly)

I think I’ve identified one noise as the fridge just kicking on to cool itself.  Is it kicking on too often?  Do I have it set right?  Am I using too much power?  How much power is too much?  And why is that light on that box over there red?

I know it’s hard to believe, but on land I’m actually a fully functional adult.  Seriously!  I can dress myself, turn lights on and off, make and eat a sandwich, open and close an umbrella…I can even hold down a job!  Yay me!  I have an obscene amount of things to learn about the boat.  With every sound I hear as I try to fall asleep I can’t help but have the feeling that I may wake up a few feet lower in the bay.  Just keep floating!

The toilet flushing is one of the most unsettling sounds I’ve heard.  It’s like a chainsaw got stuck in some huge tree and is trying to break free.  Then the water pump…or at least what I think is the water pump.  I’m crippled with the fear that I’m doing everything wrong and slowly destroying the boat.

One day at a time…keep on floating…

See you at sea…I hope…

-Eileen

“Si Yes Da”…more like “No No No”. The boat search continues.

Well, I just wasted $1500 I desperately need.  I have walked away from the 31ft Sea Ray Sundancer named “Si Yes Da”.  I’m actually happy about it.  The owner was not willing to acknowledge the fact that the boat needs a ton of repairs (over $17k worth), and wouldn’t budge on the price.  So, I’m certainly not going to spend $30k on a boat which doesn’t work properly that I will have to spend an additional $17k to get it up to where it should be.  The owner spent money on custom beverage napkins and pillows with the boats name on them, probably should have spent more on the engines and connected the bonding wires.  With those disconnected, the boat can actually damage other boats in the marina.  What a mess.  And now, since we’ve disclosed all of the problems, he legally has to disclose the issues in his listing.  Priorities will come back to haunt you…spend less on show and more on function.  Who knows the fate of the boat.  I wish it worked out!

Now that that’s all in the past I’ve begun to scramble for another boat.  My loan is only approved for so long, and I have a slip ready to go at the beginning of December.  I looked at a sedan with a flybridge.  It was a 1990, pretty cool layout.  Initially I was super interested in this one.  The next day we looked at two express cruisers.  One was a Maxum, the other was a Bayliner Cierra.  Both were 30ft, both were late 90’s, both were in very good condition.  The Cierra edged out the Magnum mostly because of the condition the engines were in…a compression test was being done when we looked at the boat.  One feature that I really like which they both had was the walk through access from the cockpit to the bow.  Both cruisers had touchscreen navigation, and electric controls.  I think that the cruiser would be easier to learn how to drive as opposed to the flybridge sedan.

Pictures below have little descriptions.

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Nice sitting area on the sedan flybridge Bayliner

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Rear deck and ladder on sedan flybridge Bayliner

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The spacious galley

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Maxum interior

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Maxum interior

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Maxum berth

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Maxum galley, nice storage!

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Maxum center access to bow from cockpit

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Cierra center access from cockpit

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Cierra controls

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Cierra berth

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Cierra interior salon

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Cierra galley, a little less storage but still very nice.

The importance of honesty…*or* Why the hell didn’t the seller mention that the starboard engine is broken???

Another episode of my ongoing journey to buy a boat.

Last week after my survey day was well underway and we had already begun the sea trial, the current boat owner decides to say “the carburetor on the starboard engine won’t go into secondary so it doesn’t go above 3000RPMs”.

Even I knew that the beat needs to run at full throttle on a sea trial.  The owner obviously knew about this before we left the dock.  It wasn’t noted in the listing, nor at the beginning of the survey.  Did he think we would’t notice?  Why on earth did he drive in from Arizona to the survey if he wanted to hide information?  This wasn’t a craigslist find…a style of purchase which I’m assuming may be less likely to go through all of the proper inspections.  He has the boat listed with a broker so he must know that a potential buyer will have a survey done.

Speaking of the survey, it came back today.  There is about $16,000 worth of repairs that need to be done.  Plus more non-immediate things to be repaired.  The $16k refers to the work that is necessary for the boat to be insured and be permitted in a marina.  And that doesn’t even include the engine repair which must be done before the boat can go out on a full sea trial.  I’m not even sure how that will work as far as cost and scheduling.

One main problem is that the bonding wires are disconnected, which has caused a bunch of parts of the boat to corrode.  Why they were disconnected is a mystery.  There’s no benefit to disconnection, according to the people I’ve asked.  Apparently these wires control the scientific issue of electricity  and water and metal.  I’m not quite bright enough to explain that, but I am bright enough to understand that they should remain connected.

I am in quite the pickle now.  Today I also had a meeting with the dockmaster who has rearranged other boats in order to fit the Si Yes Da for me.  I can move in whenever I like.  Too bad I may not have a boat.  My loan approval is only valid for 30 days.  Annnnnd the slip I secured is only so big, we planned for an 11’6″ beam (width of the boat), which is fine for most sailboats, but a power boat may be more.

Worst case, I lost the money I spent on the survey, lose my loan, lose the slip and have to start all over again with a lowered credit score.  Better case…I get a survey allowance for the repairs and the owner repairs the starboard engine…then I only have to look forward to about $7k in other repairs that need to be done.   Best case…I forget about this boat, get reimbursed by the seller for my survey since he concealed information which prevented a proper sea trial and I magically find another boat in the same range, get a survey done immediately and move into the slip.

The search continues….

 

The Cat 30…how I decided on a powerboat over a sailboat.

About a month ago I was still set on buying a sailboat as my liveaboard home.  It had been over a month, at least, since I put in an offer on a great boat and then learned the reality of getting a loan.  I was bummed, but had already taken steps to get more money saved.  I sold my Mustang and entered the world of riding a scooter for transportation…which is awesome by the way.  I found an add on craigslist for a 30 foot Catalina.  I forget the year, but it was newer for the budget I’m working with, probably late 1980’s.  I reached out to the owner, she gave me a detailed reply.  I contacted my broker, asking if he could come along.  I was hesitant to ask him because this boat was selling by owner, not through a boat brokerage.  So we worked out a fee for him that I would pay directly if the sale went through.  After a couple more emails to the boat owner, and a few hours spent scanning the posted images imagining this boat as my new home, we set a date to view the boat.

First thing; I had seen one of this boat owners boats before.  The very first sailboat I saw was one of hers.  I remember it being small and having a laundry list of “fixes” she had done.  I don’t know enough about the inner workings of  a boat to say whether they were good or bad ideas, of it that’s just the reality of boats as they age, but it was odd.  Upon realizing I would now see another one of her boats I was already disappointed.  We went down to see anyway.

The boat was what it was.  Small, decent shape and somewhat patched together as far as internal operations.  The v-berth is tiny, so if I sneezed in bed I’d knock myself out.  Limited galley, decent head, small salon.  I couldn’t live in this.  But since my financing was limited, I wondered if this is just what I’ll have to get.  The boat was on a slip at hotel marina, which means I’d get full use of their pools, hot tubs, gym, spa and discounts at their restaurants…kind of cool.

A lot of this process involves compromise and balance, and reality.  What can I afford?  How far is it located from work?  How small is too small?  What do I want out of this?  How often will I take the boat out?  With all of these questions bouncing around, and the ever looming idealistic delusions of grandeur, it’s important to ask questions and take time to analyze.  A lot of decisions I’ve made in life were impulsive or fast, done with little research.  Some were great decisions, some not so much.

Long story short, the boat was too small.  As we left, Brent (boyfriend) and Jason (broker) brought up power boats…for the millionth time.  I’d been dead set on a sailboat…the charm, the skill, the freedom from gas reliance.  But this was the last sailboat I’d see (except for that weird catfisher).  With a power boat I’d have a newer boat, more room and most likely an easier time getting around for my newbie, minimal boating needs.  I’m not traveling the world.  I can still take my sailing classes.  I can buy a sailboat down the road when I have more skill and can take a week or two or more off to travel.

That’s how the decision was made from sail to power.  A little part of me felt down, but I’m about 10 days away from owning my first boat, and the future is wide open(you have a Tom Petty song in your head now don’t you?).  I’ll be in a great marina closer to work, at another hotel (resort actually (; ), the dockmaster is wonderful, I’ll be in the smaller bay which has both my sail class school and Brent’s job…we can dinghy him to work, and maybe a cocktail or two.

That’s my story of sail to power.  Now all I need to do is figure out how to drive the thing ;).

Thanks for stopping by, hope you’re all having a great day!

Haul out/sea trial day, whew!

Wow.  I am exhausted!  All I did was sit on a boat and watch other people inspect it, but boy oh boy, was it hot out today.  90 degrees in November…are we in the tropics?

As this is an ongoing learning process for me, I’ll explain everything we did today.  Since I am buying my boat through a broker (Jason at Cabrillo Yacht Sales is awesome!), I am going as by the books as possible.  After my offer was accepted, the next step was to schedule a survey…what the hell is that??  This whole process is similar to buying a house.  I had no idea since I had been super close to buying a boat as is off craigslist. The survey is similar to a home inspection, you need professionals to go through your boat and make sure it’s working as it should, and that it is seaworthy.   Jason provided me a list of mechanics and surveyors that his company has worked with.  He can’t actually help me pick one out or say one is better than the other, just provide me with a list of contact information.  I could also find my own…but I’m new to this world so an suggestions help!

Since I am not purchasing a sailboat, I did not need to hire a rigger.  There are two parts (almost 3) to the survey day.  First is finding a mechanic.  He goes through the engines and generator.  Then the surveyor, he goes through every other part of the boat, making sure the lights work, the bilge pump works, the bathroom, the horn (mine isn’t working, dang!) and under the boat.  This is the sort of third part.  I had to schedule a time with a boatyard, and seeing as how I’m in San Diego there are a lot!  We went to the Shelter Island Boatyard.  They literally haul the boat out of the water, then the surveyor pokes around looking for blisters or imperfections and examines the props.  “Pokes around” most likely is not the technical term, but hey, I’m a newbie.  The sea trial part took place on our way to  and from the boat yard.  The boat is currently docked in San Diego Bay, which is the larger bay in San Diego.  I thought that we had to go out to the sea…I mean it’s a sea trial.  Basically they just need to run the boat at full throttle and see how everything handles.

The boat owner came out from Arizona to be present for the beginning of the day.  He’s already cleaned out most of his stuff.  It looks like new boat owners just “acquire” some of the previous owners items.

The mechanic today was Alfredo from Quality Marine.  He was great!  I would absolutely recommend him!  And the surveyor was Dean from Frank K Wyatt Surveyors; also awesome and would also recommend!

I”ll get their findings back in a couple of days.  From there I share it with my broker and we communicate with the seller to see if we have some wiggle room.  The starboard engine has a problem with the carborator(which I can’t spell).  There are a couple options to move forward: 1-we can ask if the overall price can be lowered to compensate for the issues, and 2-we can get a “survey allowance”, which would be the amount of money needed to repair the problems, but held in an escrow account that can only be used for the boat repairs.  For the second option the sale price would be the same but the difference needed would be in escrow.

We’ll see how it goes!

Here are some photos of the boat up in the air!

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Fast forward to an Express Cruiser…

Greetings from the worst blogger of all time.  Tomorrow is my survey and sea trial.  I’ll make a bunch of posts documenting whats been going on, but…I am very close to having a boat.

I’ve looked at a lot of sailboats.  I was set on owning a sailboat.  I’ve been enrolled in classes, bought a book about knots, watched all kinds of sailing videos on youtube, you name it.  The charm and opportunity of sailing free of reliance on purchased fuel and connection to the rest of the world felt like the right choice.  Unfortunately, I don’t live in a book or a movie.  I live within my income and debt.  So, I have to work with what I’ve got.  After seeing another disappointing tiny sailboat (if I sneezed in bed I’d have a concussion) my broker and boyfriend said for maybe the 100th time that I should check out a powerboat.

So fast forward to about 13 hours from now I will have a boat named “Si Yes Da” surveyed and hauled out.  She’s a 1991 31ft Sea Ray Sundancer.  Keeping my fingers crossed!

Recap of the process to follow.  Yes, I do a lot of things out of order.

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