How it all began

This all started a couple years back. Following an evening watching a documentary about a teenage girl sailing around the world (solo I might add), Kerri and I found that we both had a liking to life aboard a sailboat. We talked about it for weeks following that night and decided that we would aim to start sailing a few years down the road, after we finished off our land-based travel plans of 2017 ad 2018, of course.

The plans to start sailing was never firmly scheduled. We were hoping to start looking at boats some time in 2019, and spend a year looking and learning. We occasionally discuss our future in a boat, but never took any real steps forward on the plan other than putting money aside for that fateful day and informing our loved ones of the plans to be. The Mom’s were not too pleased by the idea, but accepted it, although I believe both secretly hoped we would forget the whole idea.

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Getting another look at the Baba

We both had so many questions about our [possibly] new boat, so we scheduled another date to get on-board and take a closer look at everything. We spent hours on the Baba, opening every hatch and sticking out heads in as far as we could. We wanted to see the condition of the wiring, plumbing, and possible leaky points. We also wanted to get some questions answered from the seller’s broker who also attended for a period. He was also nice enough to start up the motor for us and left us alone to poke around even more. In the end we were feeling much more comfortable with our choice. Everything was in great condition, especially for a 40 year old boat.

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Survey day

After our original offer was accepted by the sellers, the next step was to schedule a survey (inspection) and sea-trial (test drive). It was at this point that we realized that the Puget Sound is full of sailboats… many needing surveys. It was a three-week wait to get a survey scheduled, but we did get it scheduled with our top-choice surveyor. And as it turns out, he had inspected this very boat only two years prior, so he would know it better than most. The three week wait was excruciating, but we somehow made it, barely.

Finally, the big day has come and gone. Survey day, where the boat gets a full inspection inside and out (and the diesel motor too) so we know of any and all issues with it before we move forward with a purchase. We were told to be in attendance for this, not only because we want to be onboard if/when they find anything, but part of the inspection is to take the boat out on the water and raise the sails. It started bright and early at 8:30 with the engine surveyor having already pulled the cover and started his inspection. During this time we could not access the cabin of the boat, so Kerri and I hung out on the deck up top talking with the brokers and just trying to soak things in a bit more. But, for the most part of these early hours it was a whole lot of sitting around while the inspectors did their jobs.

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Moving in to our new boat

It has been a busy past few days. We were out on Orcas Island when the paperwork on the new sailboat was starting to pour in. Documents needed to be printed, signed, and the boat still needed to be paid for. And we really did not want to extend this whole closing process even a single hour, so we jumped on a mid-day ferry and got back to the mainland – mostly to get to a bank to wire the funds. Two days later we received the title. The boat was 100% ours with no way for it to fall through anymore.

We rushed to Bellingham – after a visit to a Walmart to pickup cleaning supplies – and got straight to the job of scrubbing and wiping ever surface. Literally, every single shelf, panel, wall, ceiling, nook and cranny needed to be wiped down with vinegar to clean up the little bit of mold that had already collected in the boat. Kerri went to town on it, crawling into every space imaginable – and new areas we just found – to ensure no alien life forms existed before we moved in.

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Gettin’ salty

We have been living on the boat for a week now. It is all the time required to start writing internet how-to’s and producing YouTube videos on which is the best way to perform daily tasks while living the #SailLife… am I right? I promise, I will not be doing any such thing. Instead, allow me to tell you the tale of a couple living their first few days on a new-to-them sailboat.

Once we moved aboard we didn’t expect life to change all that much over our current ways from the van. Honestly, it hasn’t… except it has. Now, I know it wasn’t too long ago that I was complaining about having all the luxuries of the Airstream, and just how boring that made daily life for me. Here, on the boat, I have all those luxuries again – a full size bed, a toilet, plumbed water, hot water, etc – and I am diggin’ them. Maybe I have officially entered my elderly years, but something about having a dedicated bed, bathroom, and my own personal lounging space is exactly what I need right now. In my before-Kerri-life, the entire van was all my own. It was more than enough space for a single guy. Add another full sized human as well as her full sized geriatric dog to the floor plan, and things were not so comfortable. The extra space is welcomed.

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Working on the boat

It has been two weeks since we moved onto the boat. We have not left the dock yet for multiple reasons; A) There are some repairs we would like to do before we start sailing, and B) our insurance will not cover us because we do not know how to sail. Technicalities I say! Actually, we need to have 40 hours of sailing experience (with a certified Captain) before the insurance covers us to sail alone. We have all winter to resolve all of the above so we will be starting our real sailing adventures around May of next year.

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Almost nomadic again

The entire past week has just been crap weather. Not that it was unexpected for this time of year in the Pacific North West, but I’m not accustomed to all this dreariness. Kerri has been hard at work – this being her busiest time of the year – while I have continued tinkering away at odd jobs on the boat, like replacing the old kitchen faucet with a new one. I don’t think I have ever publicly expressed my disdain for plumbing work, but let it be known… I hate it! It took a few days, and few trips to Home Depot, and a decapitated thumb, but it is finally in place and not leaky. You may as well get use too seeing me half-inside some compartment as it appears it will be the norm on this boat.

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Out of the boat for the winter

Yes, I’ve been very quiet in the past few weeks. I’m not much the kind of guy to give a play-by-play of each individual repair or upgrade I do, either on the van or the boat, so I have spared you all that tedium. Needless to say, I was working on final repairs on the boat with a December 10th deadline to get them all done. The 10th was the scheduled haul-out day so the professionals could accomplish a few repairs that could only be done with the boat out of the water. Leak prevention, sail removal, and wood preservation was the name of the game for two weeks.

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Returning to our boat

We have been away from our boat for nearly four months, mainly to escape the brutal winter weather this far North. We certainly didn’t need to ride out freezing temperatures while living on the water for our first time ever, so we drove the van to the South West for those few months. It was nice to be nomadic again, and to see some of our nomad friends too, while staying mostly warm.

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The long, long list

It has been all about the todo list as of late. Just crushing out as many items as we can before our mid-May departure date… did I mention I had a departure date? For every item checked off the list, two more appear. Most are simple enough, but there are a few big tasks; like adding a full solar setup, or installing the wood stove. Since we are still awaiting parts for those bigger projects I got to tackle one that I enjoy…

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