maintenance

The Liveaboard Transition

April 2015, I bought my first boat. A 1975 Catalina 27. More or less derelict, but I got her for a song. I figured I could buy this old girl with some bonus money from my employer and “get my feet wet” as a boat owner.   I’ve sailed quite a bit on Puget Sound, but never owned a boat before… I was sailing club boats back then.

I and my ex girlfriend worked on the boat, cleaned her up and sailed a bit.  Her first experiences on the boat weren’t positive.  Clean up issues, and then a sailing trip that was frightening for her (she’d never been out in much of a blow) and she sort of distanced herself from the boat.

On the other hand, I was eating it up, more and more time spent on the boat, sleeping over.  We lived together in Ashburn, about 1:45 drive from the boat.  We just drifted apart, and in the late fall of 2015, I decided to move out, break up, and live aboard.

A Catalina 27.

In the winter.

I’m 6’2″.

A Catalina 27 isn’t.

But I wanted to see if the lifestyle was for me.

Oh my god.  I just ate it up. Everything was small, close and simple.  It’s almost a monastic lifestyle. Even in the dead of winter, snow and ice, it was like an attack of sweet butter creams.  I’d have been content on her indefinitely, except for one thing.

My daughter.  She lives with me in the summer.

A 15 year old girl is not going to fit on a 27′ Catalina with her 53 year old father.  She would need her own cabin.  The search for a new boat began.

My budget was insanely tight.  I didn’t have much in the way of resources, but I had a steady income and could make steady payments.  That limited my search to an older vessel.  I had a good friend who helped me with the financing.  I knew I wanted a center cockpit, because I knew the master’s stateroom and V-berth would be suitable for me and my daughter.  After exploring a number of boats, I came across this old Morgan 41′.  Her name was Jawz.  Not a good sign.  Then I checked her out, and had her surveyed.  Worse and worse.  She’d been allowed to freeze.  Her plumbing was badly damaged.  Her wiring looked like a tribe of monkeys went after her with balls of yarn…

We took her out for sea-trial.  She was unsailable, her main misrigged, and her genoa missing sheets.  Motored back in.

Something told me to give her one last look, so I said a little prayer to the universe, “If I’m supposed to save this boat, give me a sign.”

When I went back to her, she had 8″ of seawater on her cabin sole.

“This is not the answer I was looking for.”  I almost shut the hatch and walked away… But I couldn’t.  I couldn’t leave her there flooding.   So I found the leak (stuck seacock and damaged A/C water line), ran off to West Marine for fix-it-tape, secured the line, and manually shorted her bilge pump to battery to get her to pump dry.

It was just the weirdest damn thing.

She wasn’t proving to me that I should take her.

She demanded that I prove to her that I was the master to save her.

And I was.

April 2016, She was mine.