It's funny how when you throw something out there to the universe you always seem to get a response. I'm not saying it's always the response you were expecting but it's normally somewhere along the lines of what you threw out there to begin with.
Living aboard a boat and cruising the world has always been a distant dream of mine. One of those "someday" dreams that usually ends up on the shelf because there is always something more important to do in life. i.e., kids, job, house, etc....
Not that these are bad things but they are the responsibilities that take precedence over the the things that you always wanted to do in life (aside from, kids, job, house, etc...) so you sort of shelve the desire hoping to return to it one day when life has settled down a bit. I would imagine this is indicative as to why so many live aboard cruisers start their ventures either prior to having the responsibilities noted above or later in life when they find themselves looking over an empty nest...
I now find myself in the empty nest situation and trying to convince myself that "someday" has finally arrived. Although, I am far from retirement, my kids are grown and pursuing their own dreams so I figured it was time for me reach up on that shelf and revisit some of my own dreams that were placed there so long ago.
After blowing the dust off I quickly realized that I would have to first complete several prerequisites in order to get this show on the road. Specifically, obtaining a boat suitable to live on and learning how to sail it!
With this realization, I decided to commence the research phase of my future endeavor in hopes of gaining at least enough knowledge to construct a practical go forward plan. At this point, I didn't even really know where to begin but decided a trip to the bookstore would be a great start!
You're probably wondering, why the book store when the Internet is right at your fingertips? Good question and though, I understand that the Internet is very valuable and expedient resource- the book store actually has really good cake and coffee and I wanted cake and coffee.
Upon arriving at the book store I placed my order at the concession counter (strawberry cheese cake today- good stuff) and secured a table just big enough to hold coffee, cake, and as many books about sailing that I could carry from the bookshelf to the table in one trip. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were so many publications on the basics of sailing and I diligently started my research. Now I should caution you that having so many books related to your favorite topic at one time might not be the most productive method of research. Especially, if you are someone like me and end up reading the back cover, then flip through all the pages that have pictures and reading only the captions before you reach for the next book. I don't know why I do this but I do. I suppose it's sort of a filtering process for me because I know that if one book can hold my attention past the introduction and photos, chances are I will buy it and learn the most from it.
Amongst my pile of books I picked one up called " Fix it and Sail" with a sub caption that read, "Own a cruising Sailboat for less than $4,000" by Brian Gilbert. Alas! this one caught my attention and held it.
It was actually well written with several points of interest. I almost passed it up because it was geared more towards the restoration of a Macgregor 22' sailboat. I thought to myself, that's too small for a live aboard so I should put this book down. I kept reading though and started to rationalize that I don't know how to sail yet and a boat this size could potentially be the perfect learning boat. Not too big, single mast, swing keel, tiller, rudder, all the basics. I convinced myself that this could be an additional option to my unwritten plan. Not to mention, there were also a lot of DIY tips in the book and I figured that in itself would be a useful reference for a boat of any size.
Several cups of coffee and... Umm... only two pieces of cake later I bought the book!
On the way home from the bookstore -now this is where I say the universe has a way of responding- I noticed a boat sitting on the side of the road which either had a "for sale sign" on it or county "notice of removal", I couldn't really tell which. I drove past it pretty quickly and couldn't even determine what type of boat it was but decided to make a u- turn and investigate further. As I approached -from a distance- I could see it was in fact a sailboat. She was sitting on a trailer, de-masted in an otherwise empty lot. I continued to drive towards the boat and when I finally pulled up, I sat there for a moment in amazement as I read the sign sitting atop this little derelict boat.
Yes, it was the boat I just read about in the book! How Could this be? Did I just purchase a book detailing the restoration of a boat I didn't own yet but was about to within ten minutes of actually buying the book? This to me was a sign that my earlier rationalization of obtaining a smaller boat to learn how to sail was accepted by the universe and voila! There she was.....
The "for sale sign" -made from a discarded office whiteboard - read: $600 or best offer for a 2004 continental trailer (which was in excellent condition ) and a Macgregor 21' Venture sailboat (which was in throw away condition ). All in all the trailer alone -and the office white board- was worth much more than the asking price but the seller made one crucial mistake.... He wrote "OBO"-Or Best Offer-
To be continued... Leave a comment, let me know how much you think I paid for it...