Friday, March 25, 2011

And so it begins....

So it's about 2 weeks now until closing.  Trying to not shit myself between now and much to do, so little time.  Now let's see, let me back track a little bit and sum up what's been going on now for the past couple years.  We decided on buying a boat sometime in Dec. 2006, the concept came about kind of randomly, as with most of our thoughts and plans....Frank got inspired by reading a Moitessier book and approached me with the idea of buying a boat, fixing it up, and sailing as far around the world with it as we could.  At the time, I was a fashion designer, at the height of my career, and hating every moment of the corporate world.  Being miserable; being a slave to an industry that I no longer believed in, and yearning to have the freedom to live my life and have my time be mine.  The idea, of course, enticed me so much that I went with it.   It was at this time that I also read Tania Aebi's book Maiden Voyage and began, for the first time, to believe this was possible after all. We decided to buy Storm Bay, a steel tahitiana cutter that had sailed from Austrailia, to Africa, to the Caribbean, and then to Connecticut.  We bought her for a song, and thought that with enough gumption and discipline, that somehow, we'd make it work.  I quit my job as a designer and became a server so that I could work part time and have more free time to work on Storm Bay.  Little did we know what a mistake it was to think that it's easier to buy a project boat, and "fix-it-up," than to earn the money to buy a boat that's in better condition.  Well, we learned that lesson, it was terribly humbling to realize that we couldn't conquer everything and that just because we wanted something so badly, didn't mean that we could just get it.  

Storm Bay
Steel boats are fun..
Real fun!
After 3 years of trying to fix it up and basically pouring all of the money we were earning into her, we realized that we were never going to be able to get her into the condition that we needed to feel safe enough to sail away.  The list of problems on her were long, and it's really irrelevant for me to even mention them at this point, but regardless, we decided to move on.  It took a lot of courage and fortitude to walk away from a project that you've spent 3 years on, but we knew that somehow, we needed to move on so that that we could, literally, move on.  So, with that being said, we decided to buy a new boat.  

We had fallen madly in love with Hans Christians when we first stepped aboard Emma, a Hans Christian 38T that we had tried to crew on years ago, but didn't (long story). From then on Hans Christians became our dream boats, a boat that we never thought we could afford, a boat that we thought we would only admire from afar and in our dreams.  Then something happened, our economy started to fall apart, and then came the recession and people no longer were able to keep such lovely boats.....  so, other people's misfortunes, became our fortune, and the search began....

We started looking about a year and half ago, deciding that we had to not rush into the decision-making process and to make sure that we found a boat that was sound, safe, and most importantly, not a huge project.  We started perusing yachtworld, and Frank obsessively did research about every model, make, and size of Hans Christian ever made.  Everything from the boatyards they were built at, to the different designers, to the minute detailing of each model.  We tried to like other sailboats as well,  but nothing compared.  We became lurkers on the Hans Christian Owner's Association, reading everything we could of what owners had to say about them.  We did several road trips all along the east coast, going to see every one that was on the market.  We spent hours organizing and planning our trips, trying to be as budget savvy as we could.  When we got to the boats, we were as thorough as we could be, taking pictures and videos of each one of them, with me taking notes on all the potential problems that we could foresee.  (After a while, the memories of them all would mesh together and confuse us).  Making lists, and pricing out what each problem would cost us, and how long it would take for us to pay it off.  We never told a soul, because after all that had happened with Storm Bay, we thought that telling anyone would only jinx us.  Believing all the while that the more you talked about doing something, the more content you become with just talking, and the less likely you are to actually follow through.  Loose lips sink ships (literally...) So we basically spent the past year and half looking at every Hans Christian on the market on the east coast.  Some stuck out in my mind more so than others, with the condition of all of them ranging from complete pieces of shit to masterpieces in as good of condition as the day they were launched. 

Endless research and some of the boats we looked at
We always wanted a 38 traditional, and even went as far as making an offer on a 38 Telstar (the same design as the traditional but with an updated hull shape) in Maryland, but were outbid.  We were weary of getting into another project, like Storm Bay, and the fear paralyzed us from making a decision.  We finally forced ourselves to make that decision, as all of the boats we looked at had their pros and cons.  We realized that we could be in search of the perfect boat forever and ever....and so we bit the bullet.  We originally had an offer in on a 33' in New Jersey, but then after seeing Scout (a Hans Christian 41), decided that we needed a bigger boat if we wanted to live this dream for a long time.  

Hans Christian 33T layout

Hans Christian 38T layout
Hans Christian 41T Layout 

We made an offer on Scout, soon to be renamed Moitessier (after Bernard Moitessier) and our closing date is in 2 weeks.  The decision to go with her was spontaneous, as we were basically in the process of buying Adagio (the Hans Christian 33 in NJ).  However,  our feelings about Scout were too strong, and in the end, we decided to go with her, even though it meant moving to Florida as well.  

Scout being hauled out for survey
Looking aft

                         video walk through of "Moitessier" aka Scout

There are definitely some "Oh-Shit" moments, and during those times I have to remind myself that this is something we've been wanting for so long.  The whole thing is so overwhelming and scary.  Everything from moving from NY (my hometown) to Florida, to having to figure out how to even drive this mac truck of a sailboat, to realizing that my living space is about to go from 1000 sq ft, to far less than half of that.   And living on a boat.  Yeah, a fuckin' boat.  Worrying about new systems, spending our life savings and getting into a huge loan for the next couple of years.  All of it is so terrifying.  We've basically gotten rid of more than half of our possessions, and put the rest into storage.  We're bringing next to nothing with us (as our storage space on the boat is now a fraction of what we're used to).  We're selling most of Frank's tools and are bringing only things that are absolutely necessary.  Some clothes, kitchen stuff, a few tools, textbooks, boat related electronics, and spares.  It's been both liberating and unnerving to get rid of everything you've ever owned and known.  

2 more weeks to go until we're surrounded by new people, new smells, new sights, new ways of living, new everything, but York.  Funny I've spent the past couples of years waiting to leave and now that I'm finally doing it, it all seems so surreal and sad.  I'm so excited and so scared, but I guess that's just  the definition of adventure.....

Our new home