Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wax on...wax off

I am on Lake Erie to close on the sailboat. After going over her with the owner I spent a day and a half cleaning and waxing the hull so it would be done before we put her in the water. The people at Parker Marine supply water and electric for there customers so they can prepare their boats for launch. They had given me a quote to wax and buff the boat and I decided I could save money by doing the work myself, as well as get some good exercise.  The mast and rigging still need to be added which should happen tomorrow or Monday depending on the weather. The boat was not used last season and is very dirty from being in storage that long. I will clean and wax the deck after the boat is in the water.
I have not yet had time to miss work...officially I am on vacation until next week.

Spent a lot of time on a ladder to wax the sides. Serenity has been in this rack inside a storage building for 20 months.

This is a good picture of the full keel. Serenity is a very strong well built boat. You can see the bottom paint is in great shape and ready for salt water. Since she has been sailed on the great lakes, she has been stored indoors 6 months a year, contributing to her overall good condition. I think she is in great shape for being 21 years old. Just needs some TLC.

            You can see a very clear line as I waxed from stern to bow. The hull shines like new after a coat of wax and some buffing. I am sore and tired, but have had a great couple of days working on the boat.

Thanks to Eric, the owner until today, for all the valuable information and advice about the boat. He and his wife have taken great care of Serenity and made significant improvements over the years they have owned her. They now have a larger boat. I hope to see them on the coast or down south some time. Also thanks to Parker Marine for allowing me to use their facilities to prepare Serenity for launch .I will post more pictures as soon as possible. Until then....sail on.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Survey says...

The out of water survey went very well. The boat was given a rating of above average, which is second only to the excellent, bristol, better than new rating, which I understand is very rare. There are a few problems that need to be addressed.

1. A raw water cooling  hose with weak spots needs to be replaced.
2. LPG system did not pass leak test..
3. CO2 detectors need to be installed.
4. The starting battery needs to be replaced.
5. The emergency flares are expired.

I will be meeting with the current owner next week to go over the boat, and wax the hull before she is put in the water.
Two more days to is not easy saying goodbye to so many people I have known for so long. I am so looking forward to a holiday weekend with family. I will post pictures.

Sail on,

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Buying a boat...the process

While I am not sure how many people will be interested in our sailing / cruising adventures, I am enjoying posting in this blog . How much interest can there be in a couple taking off to cruise...going where ever they want on their own schedule, and having a new adventure everyday, trying to find the best beach on  the most beautiful islands...all while enjoying life at a much slower pace? Island time?

There are still many things that need to be accomplished before Shirl and I can cruise, but it appears that we have accomplished one huge goal...there is a deposit on a boat. I received a call from the person who did the survey and he stated that the boat was in great condition. I have not received the detailed report yet, but was very happy to get the news. This next week I need to get boat insurance, and find a slip to put the boat in. I think June 1st is the planned date to put the boat in the water. My job ends on May 24th so the timing will work out pretty well. The boat will be on Lake Erie for the summer where we plan to gain sailing experience, and get familiar with the boat and it's systems.

Below are ten of the things I did to find the right boat...not an easy task.
1. Set an approximate budget. ( I was able to stick pretty close to what I decided but went slightly higher because of the condition of the boat.) I did not want to break the bank here. We will obviously not be working while cruising so I opted for a 21 year old boat in very good shape that fit the budget.
2. Spend many hours of research and reading other's opinions as to boat type and size for a couple to safely and comfortably cruise Florida, the Bahama,s and the Caribbean...many...many hours.
3. Focus on the boats that meet the above requirements and are well maintained with at least some of the equipment you will require, and have asking prices that are within 15% of the your budget
4. Narrow the search further by eliminating boats that are geographically undesirable, and those that are not in good condition. While I realize that a boats condition can be improved, in many cases it is hard to predict the cost of improvements.
5. Once a model and length are decided make a spreadsheet of all boats, equipment, asking prices, and  relevant information
6. Get as much information as you can relative to recent sales of the model you are going to attempt to buy
7. Start traveling to find the correct boat, boarding the boats and inspecting them. (not all boats look like the pictures on Yacht World)
8. When you find a boat that is in good shape and well maintained...that your sailing partner is happy with... you know looks nice, smells good, and makes a good presentation. Then if possible  talk to the owner about it. A lot of information can be gained in a short conversation. The broker will have some general information on the boat, but the details are important here...discuss them with the owner.
9. If all the above is good and the boat feels right...that's right I said feels right...part of this is an emotional decision as well...then make an offer. Determine what the boat is worth from all the information you have gathered. If the owner is asking too much explain your offer and how you arrived at that number. With the depressed boat market any serious offer is a good offer. If the boat has been on the market a long time you are more likely to have your offer accepted.
10. A successful negotiation will be determined by how much the owner wants to sell and how much you want to buy this particular boat. There is no formula for determining the amount of an offer based on a percentage off of the asking price. Some owners price boats too high...I did not find any priced too low. Better boats sell higher and can demand a better percentage of a competitive asking price.
If the end result is you getting the exact boat you want for the price you are willing to pay as I did, then all the hours of research and looking were well spent. Actually I am sure the owner would have liked tohave gotten a little more for the boat and I of course would have liked to have paid a little less, but in today's market I think this transaction was a win for both of us.

One more thing I considered. I have rebuilt heads (Atlantis A5 toilets), and worked on sanitation systems on boats a few times. This is the only job I dislike doing on a boat. Serenity has a new holding tank, plumbing and a new head. If you have ever worked on the sewage side of a marine head you know why this weighed heavy on my decision. I will list other things I liked about Serenity in another post.

Sail on,

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"Serenity is not peace from the storm, but peace amid the storm."

I have put a deposit on an Island Packet 35. The survey should take place within the next week. The search for the right boat has lasted many months. I have been doing a lot of research...tedious but enjoyable. I keep hearing people saying that it is a buyers market. My experience in this search is that while prices may be depressed the best boats still sell for the best price. I think one of the reasons why it is possible to get a great deal on a boat is because of the shear number of boats currently on the market. My focus had been narrowed to boats with a full keel in the 34 to 36 foot range. Even with these narrow parameters there were many boats to consider. There are many reasons why I picked this particular boat. Although ready for salt water Serenity has been sailed exclusively in the Great Lakes, and stored inside during winters... a sharp contrast to boats that are in the water all year in Florida. In conversations with her owner it was obvious that Serenity was well maintained and cared for. If the survey goes well as I suspect it will, I will post more details as well as pictures soon. This will be a great boat to cruise step closer to realizing the dream!

 Until then...Sail On   

                                          Serenity (picture from Yacht World)

Monday, May 7, 2012


While trying to make a decision about taking a break from work I received the following news. The company I work for has decided that my position with them no longer exists. I was offered a position that management knew I could not accept.  There have been philosophical differences that made it necessary for me to turn down the new position. I am faced with a non-competition agreement that prohibits me working for a period of time. This presents me with time to do something I have always wanted to find freedom on the sail.
No schedule! For the first time in thirty-two years at the end of May 2012, I will not have a schedule.For the first time in 37 years I will be unemployed.  Am I finished working?...I do not think so. I have been fortunate to be part of a wonderful profession. I will no doubt include posts about my career as a Licensed, Certified Orthotist on this blog from time to time. Knowing I may go back to work in eighteen to twenty-four months is not nearly as confining as going back tomorrow. For now I have to negotiate with the company concerning my exit and say goodbye to people I have worked with for years. There are mixed emotions. I no longer want to work with my present company, but I sure will miss what I have done for over three decades. Did I mention that I made a deposit on a boat...more soon.
Sail on,

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"Go fast enough to get there, but slow enough to see. Moderation seems to be the key" Jimmy Buffett

I have been looking at boats for several months now. After a lot of research I have decided to 
narrow the search to a 35 foot boat with a full keel that has been cared for and maintained. I have developed a list of desirable equipment, but obviously the type and condition of the boat is my first consideration. Equipment can always be added, but I would prefer to get a boat as cruise ready as possible. Since the boat will be used on the east coast, the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and hopefully the Caribbean, I am debating on whether to look for an older blue 
water cruiser or a newer production boat, or something in between like an Island Packet. 
I have decided on a monohaul instead of a catamaran because of the initial expense of a cat, and most all of my sailing experience has been on a monohaul. Shirl and I will be living on the boat, so adequate space is important. It will be just the two of us most of the time but I am sure we will have family and friends visit us from time to time.Thirty-five feet should be adequate for our needs. I need at least 6' 4" of headroom as well, which rules out many 32' to 33' boats. I am 6' 3" and really don't want to be bending over constantly while in the cabin. 
I have done a lot of research on different types of boats, and have read all the Cruiser Forum discussions on the benefits of the various types. I know enough about boats to know that quality and strength are important. Many of the criticisms of Island Packets that I read actually make them more appealing to me. I am concerned more with safety than I am speed...if I wanted speed I would not be looking at sailboats. I am more interested in getting somewhere safely than I am in getting somewhere quickly. Because I do not have much sailing experience I prefer a heavier full keel boat. Island Packet owners seem to be very happy with their boats.
There are so many boats for sale right now, and researching them although enjoyable is very time consuming. I have narrowed my search to an Island Packet 350 or the older 
IP 35, or another boat with similar characteristics that is in my budget.
Is it a buyers market?