As one would expect, coordinating getting a loan in 5 days from Afghanistan is tricky. My credit union makes it fairly easy, but something as simple as faxing the paperwork is riddled with problems. I can’t fax from here, so I had my boat broker do it for me. The bank said the never got it, so I had to call and get it re-faxed, then call to verify. Because of the time window where they are open and I am awake, this has taken three days from request to fulfillment. I should have an answer later this afternoon or in the morning. The problem is, it has to clear both my bank and the brokers bank by COB Monday or technically I’m in default. Fingers and toes still crossed!
Its been a busy few days. Dave at Crusader Yachts has been a great help, but I would have been lost without my girlfriend running the show back in the states. The yacht survey, launch, sea trial, and haul is complete. And finally, the engine and generator surveys are complete as well. Nothing really out of the ordinary for a 24 year old yacht, and really less than I figured. I applied for the loan and will hear back in a few hours, so my fingers and toes are crossed.
The preliminary survey on the CSY 44 has been done and the surveyor reports that the deck and hull are solid. Great news! The sea trial looks like it’s going to be pushed by an incoming Nor’Easter. I’m looking forward to the full results, but even if everything goes well, it will be six months before I can see her again. Thanks god I have friends that I trust to help things along in the states.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve had is trying to decide how to choose “the” boat. Foremost I have decided that it is extremely specific to the person(s) that will be sailing the boat. For instance, for me, I really needed lots of headroom. I’ve been on hundreds of boats, large and small, and everyone I owned I had to hunch over to pee. So, in my search, headroom (pun intended) became important for me. To be prepared to make the decision for other factors, though, I did a LOT of reading. I started with All in the Same Boat by Tom Neale and family years ago and never stopped. I must have read dozens of cruising books from how-to to romanticizing the lifestyle. I am a member of multiple cruisers forums online.
The Voyager’s Handbook was very influential for me because it presented the challenges from three points of view; bare bones, mid-range, and champagne styles of cruising. During my reading of this book I started to coalesce what type of cruiser I wanted to be. I wanted to be as self sufficient as possible. This means anchoring, not mooring or slip cruising. It means growing vegetables and sprouts on-board, repairing where possible instead of replacing, and celestial navigation as a primary with GPS as a backup.
Most of all I learned that I want to do this as a lifestyle, and not as a singular adventure.
Knowing these things has helped me look for “the” boat. When I first started actively planning for this dream, I thought I wanted a nice fast light fin keel boat. That has changed now to looking at older proven bullet proof cruisers with loads of safety gear. Living aboard my Hunter 34 for a few years also helped shape my opinions as well.
Here’s some my list of features I’m looking at:
Strong full or fuller keel boat with good sea kindliness
Big, self draining cockpit
Storage, storage, storage
Large deck room
Good downwind sail inventory
Good at sea and at anchor accommodations
Good ground tackle with electric/manual windlass
Solar/Wind/Engine Power generation with well planned battery bank
SSB with modem
Propane stove and oven
Easy access to engine for repairs
Good tankage/water and fuel
Some important books I’ve read and resources I’ve found:
The Voyager’s Handbook: The Essential Guide to Blue Water Cruising
Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat: A Guide to Essential Features, Handling, and Gear
Marine Diesel Engines: Maintenance, Troubleshooting, and Repair
Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual
Celestial Navigation DVD by William F. Buckley (informative and hilarious)
Currently, Serenity is just a dream, but I’m working hard to make it real. I am a contractor is Afghanistan and have been over here for a little over a year. I’ve been saving most of the ill gotten booty from working in a war zone and have started looking for the boat. I got to come back to the states a couple weeks ago, and I’m pretty sure I have found the right boat for me. I’m 6’6″ tall, and have an strange desire to stand up inside my floating home, so I have a limited selection. I began the search looking into Morgan 461/462’s, Darfour 1200’s, and CSY 44’s .Luckily, a yacht broker that I really trust had a boat that I truly loved, so I just put an offer on a 1988 CSY 44 Walk-through in Annapolis. Luckily, I have a very savvy girlfriend and lots of sailing friends to do the heavy lifting on the hard parts of doing the surveys and sea trials. In the coming weeks, hopefully the dream will become more of a reality and waiting for me after my contract in the desert is over.
Like many (most?) cruisers, I’m a romantic at heart. I’m also a geek of the old school and have been reading and watching science fiction as long as I can remember. The worst punishment my mother would come up with for my most heinous acts was to not allow me to watch Star Trek. Yep! I’m that old. I watched the new Star Trek episodes on their original air date. I even remember watching the moon shots live and started reading Robert Heinlein because he was a commentator. For me, by far, the most romantic ship in space was Serenity from Firefly. The older, run down, ship that needed love to keep her in the air really resonated with me. When I first met my girlfriend and told her that my next boat was going to be named Serenity, she knew exactly why and in what context.
Capt Malcolm Reynolds: You can learn all the math in the ‘Verse, but you take a boat in the air that you don’t love, she’ll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you she’s hurtin’ ‘fore she keens. Makes her a home.