Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Hunt

Our QUEST for our Puget Sound vessel started back in early June of 2015. We knew we wanted to downsize from our previous 42 foot sailboat as we peered into the next ten years. Banging on the door of Medicare and Social Security our considerations included age, money, physical abilities, and the purpose of the Puget Sound vessel. We wanted a vessel that we could live on for several months at a time and safely sail the waters of the mostly protected waters of Puget Sound, the San Juans, and into Canada. Both sailboats and trawlers in the 36' to 38' range were on the table. After seeing about six versions of trawlers that were in our budget we eventually gave up on them. The only trawlers that we would want to manage were out of our budget and/or maintenance commitment. We both know sailboats very well and feel comfortable already without having to go on a whole new learning curve. The sailing lifestyle in our blood.
Our first look at a 1989 36' Catalina in Anacortes got the ball rolling That particular vessel would enter our sights again months later when she came up for sale again in Seattle, and what a tale that one is! Time seems to be more valuable than ever in 2016-2017 so between the two of us we learned to make our boat shopping efficient and thorough on the first visit. We would take copious notes, lots of pictures, and go through every nook and cranny removing any boat stuff in the way. Many brokers remarked that they had never seen anything like us. Since we traveled to all points between Tacoma and Anacortes Washington, including Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo, Gig Harbor, Shillshole, Lake Union, and Lake Washington, making use of our time on the first visit seemed mandatory to us. Why would you want to take time for a second visit if the boat was not the One? Best to determine that immediately and either pursue the vessel or reject it. As soon as we got home after viewing a vessel the real work would begin. Carefully examining the 100-150 pictures (often the camera is better than the eye), researching boat history gleaned from boat documents and online resources, and sometimes visiting boat yards who performed work on the vessels for information. I am really good at the big picture  side and the Admiral is a detail person. She is very good at stacking up all the details so that I can see the Big Picture in HD!
We made a total of seven offers including a 1983 Catalina 36, 1984 CS 36, 1988 Catalina 36, 2002 Catalina 36, a 1989 Catalina 36 and a 2004 Catalina 36. After making an offer on a boat the timeline for the process to ownership starts ticking. So repeated visits to each vessel to make sure our investment in surveyors would pay off. If there was any issue with a boat we wanted to make sure we knew them all before a surveyor stepped foot on the boat. Why pay $2000+ in survey cost if your not going to buy the boat?
Fortunately we found the one thing that stopped the survey's in three of the cases. in one other case we just had the $700 worth of engine and rigging survey before stopping the sale and one other case the C&V Survey stopped almost as fast as it started so we were  only out $350 into that one.
We decided that a Catalina 36 was the preferred boat if we could just find one that was structurally sound and did not have a history of damage that we did not want to inherit. John Baird, a surveyor we worked with on two vessels, said "once you buy the boat their problems become yours." All used boats will have something come up on a survey, it just depends on what your tolerance level is when it comes time to repair or upgrade. Each vessel we made an offer on involved weeks of time, research, emails, travel, and phone calls. You are also required to pay a 10% deposit when you make an offer so there is a big commitment in the process. If at anytime during the process you can throw in the towel and get your money back but the whole thing becomes a stress point.  There were two very promising vessels that came on the market that we were interested in. One a Catalina 36 and the other a Jeaneau 37. They both sold after being on the market for two days. Obviously there were buyers who had prior knowledge of the boats and pounced on them when they came up for sale. The 2017 boat market up here is almost as crazy as the housing market. The Admiral learned the term "Least Worst". We began to think that the vessel we were now searching for was the least worst.
We exhausted the Puget Sound so I turned my attention to the California Coast. There were eleven C36's for sale from San Diego to San Francisco Bay. After researching what I could on the internet on these vessels I started with a 1998 C36 in Emeryville, CA located on the Bay just across from San Francisco. Since this would require additional expense of travel, rent cars, and hotels I began to try and find a way to get as much of this work done long distance and have surveyors lined up after our initial inspection. This was contrary to the way we behaved before but I felt it was necessary to be as efficient as possible with our travel expenses. Our offense and defense for this effort had to rest primarily on two excellent surveyors: Chuck Thomas of Chuck's Marine who surveyed the engine and Kent Parker of Parker Marine who completed the C&V Survey. My research on the surveyors paid off for us and while this is a solid vessel it will still take about $10K to get her up to our standards. After some further negotiation for a repair allowance we bought the boat.

Here is a video of the previous owners sailing on San Francisco Bay: 

The book that I have been writing for the last two years is complete except for a last round of editing. All of the experiences we had in The Hunt paid off huge in putting the finishing touches on the book

Available soon on Amazon

Sunday, March 5, 2017

February in Seattle: Winter is For REAL and the Hunt is Over

February started out with a 3-4" snow. We woke up to a snowy court yard in our condo building.

Some one got up early to shovel the sidewalks.

Seattle Center was turned into a winter wonderland.

This was the wet version of snow so it packs well and is heavy.

These two adults are straining under the weight of the snowman balls.


Record Snow Pack along the entire West
Coast this winter.

The February storms come in a howling.

Our Eagle Harbor Marina gets a complete make over, soon there will be one more sailboat in this picture.

The Sea Trial Captain guides us to the boat yard. A windless day on San Francisco Bay, we had winds for a moment, as soon as we got the sails up we enjoyed all of about 5 minutes of light winds. 

Motoring down the channel to the boat yard.

The Google Catamaran that is the mothership to their submarine.

Hopefully the Survey goes well tomorrow and we will bring this 1998 Catalina 36 back to Seattle.

The seatrial started n Emeryville at the bottom of the map and ended at teh boat yard in Richmond.

This may be the largest boat yard we have ever seen.

Preparing to have her hauled out.

So far so Good

Kent Parker - we were lucky to find this excellant surveyor.

No play in the rudder!

William Randolph Hoisted.

This guy is in for two new engines. $$$$$$$$$$$$

Huge area just for the mast.

Taking a break between days at the boat yard. A visit to Berkeley Campus was interesting.

And Inspiring.

The huge courtyard area was full of very vibrant students and you could just feel the dynamic energy.

The Survey went well and the next day I got lucky to have another chance at a Seatrial with Captain Chuck on a windy San Francisco Bay for the trip back to the marina at Emeryville.

Full sails with 15-20. Nothing wrong with the way these Catalina 36's sail!

San Francisco and the Golden Gate in the distance.

Really wish we had time to sail out to the Golden Gate!

San Francisco

The Admiral went home the day before, I waited an extra  day just in case there were other things that needed to get done so I got a second sea trial out of it.It took two of these to get back to Seattle.

It's February so it must be Fort Worth Texas.

The day after I got back to Seattle we flew to Texas to help the Admirals dad organize his Hobby Shop. The goal was to get everything down from the second floor so he would not have to climb the stairs anymore. We gotter done in three days! Big Dave drove the fork lift while the Admiral and I loaded up the fork lift and then ran downstairs and unloaded. 

You know the world is changing when Ft. Worth Texas gets their first Whole Foods. 

I can tell you there is NO Other bar like this in any other Whole Foods.

Liv, our second oldest granddaughter shows off her designer science project. 

We were lucky, my sister made sure we got tickets to see my Brothers production of The Great Society.

I managed to get the time to see an old Sailor friend as his long time home near Canyon Lake Texas in the Hill Country.

This picture does not do justice to the beauty of the Texas Hill county.

Cooper's new ride. What else do you do when you retire from a long life of sailing?

On our last day in Austin we spent the midday at University of Texas, this is looking South through the Mall with the Texas Capital Building in the background.

Then turn 180 and the view North at the UT tower.

Bluebonnets in February? Never before....Texas has experienced the warmest February in recorded history. Humm wonder what summer will be like. Maybe a few Texans are going to consider that Climate Change is real?....Nahhhh!

A new mural on the drag showing the state from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to Oklahoma Border and out to Big Bend.

Jim Franklin lives forever in the heart of the Armadillo.

February in Seattle: Winter is For REAL and the Hunt is Over

February only has 28 days but we packed it in for sure. A cold snowy start gave us two days of Fun in the snow before it completely melted off. I found a vessel in Emeryville,CA that had the promise of being "The Boat". Since we would be traveling long distance we researched the vessel hard and probably became a bit of a pain to the broker and the owner with all of our questions. Going into a whole new community to shop boats has a new set of challenges. Just one visit to the San Francisco Bay area can easily add up to over $1000 so we wanted to make sure our time counted by doing as much preliminary work as possible to get the full history of the vessel. I pushed the schedule a bit by scheduling surveys immediately after we did our initial inspection. The vessel passed the two surveys but not without issues. We decided to continue on with the purchase after evaluating the expense of the necessary repairs to get the vessel up to our expectations. We managed to come to terms with the current owner and so we are now the proud new owners of this 1998 Catalina 36 Hull #1711. We already have a transporter scheduled to truck the boat to Tacoma the week of March 20th so our lives will continue to be full getting the vessel decommissioned and then re-commissioned with the necessary repairs when the boat arrives in Tacoma.  The two best days in s sailors life...........

The day after we returned from the Bay Area we flew to Texas to help the Admirals dad in Ft. Worth get some long needed clean up and organization done in his hobby shop, a small 3,000 square foot space. Fortunately his fork lift skills are as sharp as ever. The Admirals goal was to get all the stuff down from the second story so Big Dave would not have to climb the stairs anymore. We Gotter Done in three short days! We started early each morning and ended around 1:30 each afternoon due to the heat building up in the shop with those 80+ degree Feb. days.
 Back to Austin we got to catch up with the Austin family and enjoy some valuable time with our grand kids there. We enjoyed 9 days of sun in Texas with temps in the 80's, a interesting change from our record Seattle winter weather. February was an incredible success and all that in 28 days!

The book is finally complete with the final sentences coming from our experiences in the San Francisco Bay area. My daughter, the editor, is adding her final touches so if all the babies stay happy and healthy it should be on Amazon soon.