Saturday, January 14, 2017

Listen Carefully Before The Big Decision

Life is a journey, not a destination. We all know the final destination of this journey we are all on. So see as many sights along the way that you can. Do what ever it takes to have to suffer through having to get a new passport because you've no space left in the old one.

So we have been on a long journey to select a boat to call home. Being a happy healthy married couple we each have needs and wants. We both have requirements as to what is acceptable both short and long term. Being different people, these are not always the same.
 For example, we both agree that a comfortable bed to lay ones head upon is a must. Got one down, right? not quite. For her, it must be a queen sized partial walk around with a place for a water bottle. Me? Can we both fit? Yes I am being a little factious here, But you get the idea.
 We started by each making out lists of what was required.
 Captain Randal's were mostly based upon seamanship and safety.
Among his tops; 
  • Sail plan
  • water & fuel capacities
  • build
  • maintainability. 
  • To know the vessel chosen would be safe and sound away from any additional support.
 Chief Steward Christi's were the livability issues. For example the galley; Well laid out plan with plenty of storage for several days without going into the deep stores. She has had to deal with a boat size kitchen in one home we had once lived in so the galley arraignment and function were crucial.

 Once we got the areas we were both concerned about down on paper it was time to start the research.

 With so many different designs, manufacturers, etc it was almost over whelming. But fun. One of my pet peeves on many boats, even so called "Blue Water" boats, is the lack of water and fuel capacity. I would like the comfort in knowing my water and fuel loads are such that in hard times i would not have to take drastic actions because the water and fuel were running low.

 After checking out a bloody ton of boats and talking with other sailors we decided upon the Island Packet 485. This boat seemed to meet all of our requirements.
  • Walk around queenish size berth with separate head
  • 300 gallons of fuel & water storage, 
  • Center Cockpit
  • Reasonable nav station away from the galley (more on that later)
  • Hugh open salon, etc.
 We took a tour of one and I was in love. Time to start looking for "The One".

 There were several IP485s for sale, even one on the left coast near us. This was a plus. So now it was time to review the current level of outfitting all of these boats had compared to the asking price with the adders of what would be needed for refit before we left into the blue.

 During this time we were having a conversation about the various boats and the amount of work to get them into shape for our needs when My bride mentioned
that "..Ya, I'll settle for that boat.."😶........What Settle?😶 What?😶.
 So I asked her what do you mean "Settle"?
 "Well, I really like it, and the galley is almost purfect. But the galley being in the passageway to the after stateroom I would just make do with".

 I am going to take a little detour here to explain something I have learned over time, and with great pain at times I might add.
 When someone says "I can make do with that", or "I can make that work, or anything similar it is time to hit the brakes and review what is just "Making Do". I have learned that if there is anything, no matter how minuscule, it IS going to be a big issue at some point in the future. Kind of like that small stone that has slipped into your shoe as you're out hiking. It is only a small grain in size so you ignore it for a time until it begins to feel like a boulder is forcing it's way into your foot. This applies to every aspect of life. We can all "Make Do" for awhile. Some of us longer than others. But in the end it will be the mountain that dooms it all.

I partially blame myself for this lack of oversite. I know she Hates it when people are in her galley while she is in action. I thought we had gotten past this with my solemn oath that I, Captain Randal would Never invade her galley at any thing she was working there. But it was that small grain in the shoe.

 So here I am going back to the drawing board. While not completely, I did have my list of boats that met both of our requirements, which now including a non-passageway galley, i was still having to review all we had looked at and "ageed" upon.

One of the boats that I had reviewed was the Amel. Both the Super Maru & the newer 55. I love both boats. I had originally dismissed these as I thought their drive train was similar to a Saildrive which I am really not a big fan of. Something about placing a critical piece of hardware in an Aluminum casing and then placing it in salt water has always bothered me. (But I had since backed away, at least a little small amount from this after talking with other sailors.)
 But then I found out that the Amel "C" drive is not in an Aluminum housing. So these boats were back on my radar. I loved them both but the Chief Stewards requirement of a queenish size semi walk around pushed the Maru out of contention. The 55 is now in the running, though it is on the pricier side. The Chief loved the Galley (a dish washer! Say What!). I also learned that the original design critieria was that the boat could be easily sailed by Mr. Amel's wife.

 So now we seemed to have upon another nice boat. Gonna take a little longer ($$), but it is doable.

 But my mind was still on the previous "Make Do" issue I dealt with on the first go around. So I decide to start the dangerous game of "Quiz The Bride". Gentlemen, those of you that have embarked on this journey of digging deep into your beloved ones inner thinking know the dangers I was facing.
 so here I go, "So honey, what would your perfect boat look like?". There, I had done it. I had uttered the magic words and let the genie escape from the bottle. There was no turning back..😓
 Fortunately for me, my bride knows my fear of wading into these waters and was very gentle and forth coming with her Captain. Her first point was she preferred a catamaran. She could "Make Do" with the mono hulls, but she loved the solid platform while not underway, The lack of listing while underway, all the space, and of course the trampoline. But the pièce de résistance was the owners hull where she could have her own space away from everyone. Ya I remember that discussion. One of the early choices we had made was choosing a mono hull over multi hull based upon comfort in confused sea states.
 I sail both and had found that overall, I prefer the gentle rolling action of a mono hull over the waves. But then, while re-evaluating boats, I met several people (including delivery crews) that said once you get up above 40 to 45 feet, the nasty cross boat jerking action I was used to on the 35 - 38 foot cat's drop appreciably. That makes sense I though. After all a 40 footer feels much nicer in rougher seas than a 22. Then someone pointed out that how much time would you really be underway in rough seas? I am a planner so my answer was I plan for the worse case. But then I took a step back and realized they were right. So a comfortable base would be a nice feature while moored.
 Back to the game. The other points she had pretty much fell in line with what we had put to paper before. Though now, thanks to the Amel, there was a dishwasher being required.

 Back to the search, this time looking at only at Multihulls. The top on my list was the older Robertson & Caine Leopard 47's. But then I realized that they are an older design and that there were many of my points that were not met with them. After an experience chartering a 48' Salinas in the BVI I found other points for my list that were a must. One of which was the helm placement must allow for ease of movement to be able to view either side of the hull.  Not an easy boat to handle without a small crew. But it is doable. But not for me.

 So more research. A little tougher to find the points we both required. Then I found the Lagoon 500. I had experience with the Lagoon 380s and did not really consider the rest of the line.
 But with a little more digging I came upon the Lagoon 500.
Good Points:
  •  250 gallons water & Fuel
  • Twin screws ~24 feet apart. Lock the helm and drive it like a tank.
  • Center Helm
  • U shaped Galley Up (with dishwasher)
  • Nice forward facing Nav station
  • Owners hull with queenish semi walk around bed
  • Storage, Storage, Storage.
  • Spacious Salon

Bad Points:
  • Saildrives, SD50's which have had a checkered past. Aluminum vs Salt Water.
  • Fly Bridge Helm exposed
  • Being a catamaran, weights and balances are much more critical.
  • More space required for dock. I have heard of marinas now charging dockage per square foot.
  • Reduced number of haul out facilities with a 28' beam.
  • Even more $ up front over our other choices.

I still have a small list of potential candidates, but I knew my bride would only have eyes for this one.

Now I look in earnest and I find one for sale and found it in Ft Lauderdale and made arraignments to see her and several others. As it so happened, my wife had earned a cruise out of Ft Lauderdale. So I planned to fly in a couple days before the cruise to look at boats. I can say I enjoyed that as much if not more than the cruise.

 We met with a broker who, knowing that we were still a couple years off of pulling the trigger, not only took us to the boats I had specified, but a few others to round out the day.
 A brand new Leopard 48 that was seriously loaded with everything. You name the custom and this boat had it. But it just didn't ring a bell with either of us.
 We saw an older Catana (I believe a 582 but memory is not the best) that was a serious boat, but the age was a consideration.
 Toured a couple smaller boats but most of them it seemed the salon was a second thought.
 Then the Lagoon 500 at the end of the tour.

 As soon as my bride stepped onboard she announced this was the boat. She loved the U shaped galley that sat a step down from the rest of the salon. Which put you almost at eye level of anyone seated.

And it had the dishwasher.

 I appreciated the forward facing nav station. Plenty of room.

 Pictures do not do this boat justice. I had heard that the bigger Lagoons had serious space (at a lose of performance) but it was even more than I had figured.
 With the wider hulls the room below is amazing. The starboard hull was a mansion. Even the port hull had more room than I have seen on other similar sized boats. All of the berths are semi walk around.

 Lots of storage in various locations. While good, it will require a good loading plan to keep the boat balanced.
 I am still a little unsure about the exposed helm but I believe that we can do something with that.

 So we have both agreed on the boat.

 Now the slow process of getting there continues.

 But until then life continues.