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

Forgot to mention one thing…I finally got a boat!!!!

“The two best days of your life are the day you buy your boat and the day you sell your boat”.  I don’t know who really said that first, but I’ve heard it about 20 times over the past couple of weeks. I’ve got one of those days checked off.

I got my boat…finally!!!

She is a 1999 Bayliner Ciera Sunbridge, and express cruiser.  Not exactly the boat I pictured myself buying…but I have to say, this is a great boat!  She has a great bimini top with canvas to the aft and really nice eisenglass up front.  (Clearly I can’t spell that word yet.)  Plenty of room for storage, touchscreen radar, very nice auto pilot, overall in pretty darn good condition.  She’s got 2 Mercruiser engines, which as my survey mechanic Alfredo said “you can find these in a Camaaarroo”.  It sounds like a couple of sports cars are trying to escape the boat when you start her up…pretty cool!

I’m still getting everything on board, and I can’t technically take her out on my own until I have a few more hours of instruction under a captain…but I have a boat!!  For some reason I have very few photos of her.  Here are a couple, please, take a gander:

One of the features I really like is how you can walk out onto the bow from the cockpit via the opening window.  Saves you from the dangling around route.

Right now as the rest of the world is counting down to midnight, I’m sitting on my boat with tissues everywhere as I have some relentless sinus infection/massive allergy attack/cold/what the hell is going on I eat healthy for crying out loud.  The water is tossing us around a bit due to it actually raining in San Diego…yes, it does happen.  The weather has pretty much been solid rain since I got her to her slip on Dec 20th.

The fix it list had officially begun before I was even the owner.  New valve, freezer door needs to be replaced, some engine things need to be cleaned, new props…but other than that…

And to think, I pictured myself just gracefully loading all of my crochet stuff on board with my laptop and a bikini…popping open a beer and watching locked up abroad while crocheting in the sun.  Yeah, I’m silly.

I hope to have a number of boating adventures in 2017.  Catalina, Mexico, the big bay…fishing, diving.  Can not wait!!

Oh, and all of the money I saved on gas by buying a scooter instead of a car was quickly evened out when I filled the tank to get her down to San Diego from Dana Point.  Yikes!

I also hope to be more diligent with sharing my stories on this blog.  With all of the craziness involved with buying a boat coupled with a new job, and five other things I’m sure, I’ve not kept up with sharing everything I’ve gone through.

Happy new year to everyone out there on land and sea…stay safe, stay happy and spend time with all of your friends.

See you at sea!

-Eileen

PS:  Yes I’m changing the name.  Yes I know it can be bad luck, but I’m going to do it the right way and have a little champagne on her maiden voyage over 3 miles out.

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!

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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From Mustang to Scooter….

In an effort to save up more money for the boat I’ve sold my car.

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I had the Mustang for over 8 years.  I figured it’s better to sell it now and get a decent amount for it rather than wait a while.  It’s weird, I feel like I still have it but am just not using it.  I’ve had a car for the past 20 years and now I’m driving a scooter…weird!

And here is the little scooter…img_2928

It’s a lot of fun!  Every day is a little adventure.  I’m finding new ways to do simple things that I used to take for granted.  Exercising the old brain parts!  It’s an older model, a 2005.  Gas costs me about $8 a week at most.  Insurance is $38 a month, and that is for more coverage than I even need.  I’m thinking about putting some little design on the front, maybe a mariachi themed pattern?

With this little scooter I can always park pretty much right in front of wherever I’m going.  And now I’m having fun making some crocodile leg warmers and wrist warmers.  Of course, if I didn’t live in San Diego this would be a lot more challenging.  I felt a little odd making the change, but then I realized that the whole car culture in America is a little out of control.  I’d rather spend my money on other things…like a boat, instead of blowing thousands on insurance I’ve never used (20 years with Allstate, not a single claim).  I also remember my trips to Europe where so many people use scooters or motorcycles for everyday transportation.  So I’m embracing and enjoying the switch!

Boatwise…I’ve found this goofy looking catamaran called a “Catfisher”.  It’s odd looking, but I like it!  Haven’t gone for a proper viewing yet, but maybe next week.  I am curious about the difference in slip fees for a multihull boat.  I really hope by Halloween I’ll have a boat.  I can technically afford some boat on craigslist out of pocket alone, but I’d rather spend a little more with a loan since this is going to be my home for the next 5 years at least, and I’m a newbie, so I don’t have enough knowledge of boats ins and outs.

Heres the catfisher…5948174_20160923102429181_1_xlarge

It’s a 1985 and is listed for $35,000.  Maybe this will be the one!  There’s a nice layout below the pilot house for the living area.  It’s goofy but functional, like me! 😛

Hope you are all doing well!!!

Thank you for stopping by,

-Eileen