When I last updated, everything was going swimmingly. But when has boat life ever been uncomplicated? Our contract fell through, and SV Story Time is back on the market.
After an awesome sea trial, survey, and haul out, the potential buyers got cold feet and backed out. In hindsight, there were some red flags about them that we chose to overlook. They were also very nervous first-time buyers and didn’t seem to be able to fully commit.
It just sucks. The boat was off the market for 6 weeks while we waited for the surveyor that they insisted upon (who found no major issues with the boat, btw), we lost out on the five other calls that came in about her, we had to pay slip fees and insurance for all these extra months, and now we are solidly into hurricane season. On the bright side, the survey report found no surprises and we KNOW Story Time is in good shape. I just hope we find a new family for her soon!
A general family update: I have spent the last three weeks holed up at my desk finishing my next novel. It is DONE! I’ve also had some outpatient leg surgeries done to repair my veins that blew out due to pregnancies (thanks, kids!) so I am trying to make the most of this waiting time. We are just stuck in limbo right now with things that are out of our control, but it feels good to make progress in other areas.
They say that the two happiest days of a sailors life are the day they buy a boat and the day they sell it. We will find out if that’s true this week! SV Story Time is ours for only a few more days as we head into the sea trial and survey on Thursday.
I do remember being happy when we bought the boat, but it was just one emotion buried underneath the rest. When I look back on that day, I remember a lot of other things. Mostly I was overwhelmed. Nervous. Excited. Naïve. Nauseous (9 weeks pregnant). Terrified. Oddly content. Yeah, that last one surprised me, too. I was content because it felt right. Right place, right time, right boat. We were on the right path and finally DOING IT.
I’ll probably cry when it comes time to sign the papers, no matter what the adage says. I am thankful how quickly the boat sold and not having to worry about it during another hurricane season. No more time troubleshooting issues and the never-ending maintenance that boat ownership entails. Relief to be done. Sadness at saying goodbye. Gratitude toward the boat for housing my family and our memories. Excitement at the next adventure to come. And yes, contentment, because I know that this is the right choice.
The next owners are lovely people. This boat likes to pick her family and seems to attract first-time boat owners just like us. They plan to teach their twin grandsons how to sail and while I don’t think they will be liveaboards, the boat will be utilized and cared for. They have a lot of sailing and racing experience and belong to a yacht club up north. They have been waiting to finally buy their dream boat, and this week it will become a reality! I am so happy for them.
So maybe I will be happy the day we sell the boat.
This might be the fastest sale on record. S/V Story Time went on the market on Monday, 8/2 and we accepted an offer on 8/5. Of course, the title transfer is dependent on adequate sea trial and survey, but holy moly.
Before COVID, the average time for a boat to be on the market was 365 days. Ours was less than a week. Our lifestyle change had good timing, because there are very few used boats for sale right now. Inventory is so low that boats get snapped up fast. People are looking for a socially distanced hobby that also allows for travel—SAILING!
On July 4th, we decided to put plans into motion to transition off the boat. July 24th, we moved into an apartment. August 2nd, boat went on market. August 5th, boat was under contract. The timing was definitely in our favor.
In a way, I am grateful that everything had to happen so fast. It was like ripping off a band aid. It was hard, busy, and messy, but it would have been worse to languish in limbo. Movement happens fast in our family. Decisions are made and we throw ourselves full-force into the effort. More about the new owners to come and why we picked them.
Meanwhile, we are adjusting to life on land. After living on a 38ft boat, a 1,000 sq ft apartment feels GIGANTIC. We are still keeping the spirit of Story Time alive in our home by living simply with minimal furniture and clutter. The kids love the space to play but W talks about the boat every day. I hope that she will have memories of her life aboard this boat when she is older.
I used my (very limited) technological skills to put together a little recap video of this past year. Just a simple slideshow about our crazy journey in 2017. The song is “Sleep on the Floor” by the Lumineers. Thank you all for following us through everything!
Say the title 10 times fast. Now you know how the last few weeks have been for us: JUMBLED!
I swear the days have just flown by in a blur. But lots of stuff has happened since our offer was accepted on the boat!
We were living at an Extended Stay America hotel in Jacksonville (NC) which, to put it politely, is NOT somewhere we will be staying again. We had hit the two month mark of suitcase living, and Jacksonville tried its damnedest to break us. But we needed to be close enough to Camp Lejeune for Conor to have an easy commute to work, so we put on our grownup pants and dealt with the grossness. Weekend escapes to beautiful places like Topsail beach helped us keep things in perspective. Also, Conor checked into his new unit, and he is now incredibly excited for all of the amazing travel and training opportunities lined up for him! Just have to survive a little longer being homeless.
Our boat survey and sea trial finally happened yesterday. We tried to get a surveyor scheduled for last week, but this region is about to enter the ‘high season’ of boat sales, and everyone was booked! For those who don’t know, a surveyor is like a house inspector. He or she is a professional who works for YOU and has your best interest at heart regarding the vessel you are purchasing. Surveyors know how to spot any problems/warning signs with the boat, and can prevent you from making a bad investment. Their expertise is definitely worth their price (around $20 per foot of boat in this area) and their assessment of the vessel’s worth is vital for things like insurance or renegotiating price.
We arrived at the dock at 8am to meet Stephen, our surveyor, who patiently explained EVERYTHING he was doing, from walking us through the engine inspection, to analyzing the electrical system, to searching for issues with the water tanks, etc. Some buyers just let the surveyor handle everything and read the report they submit, but we wanted to be very hands-on the whole way. We learned a lot over three hours, and then it was time to take the boat for a sea trial and haul out!
Along with the current owners, our broker, and the surveyor, we motored up New River to a boat yard (and the predicted lightening storm held off, thankfully). Our haul out picture below:
For those interested in pricing, the haul out was $10 per foot of boat. A necessary expense, but well worth the peace of mind. The bottom looked great and there were no major issues. We all climbed back aboard and were back to our dock at 4pm. It was an exhausting day, mostly because we were hit with so much information. The current owners are amazing people, and answered all of our questions openly and honestly. They loved and cared for this boat for many years, so I hope they know she is going to a good home where we will love her just as much.
Next steps: get the written report from the surveyor, shop around for insurance, and then BUY THE BOAT! If anyone has any additional questions about the survey/sea trial process, please post them in the comment section and I will respond! This was just a brief overview of a complicated process.
Conor and I met with our boat broker yesterday, and it went very, very well 🙂
Mike showed us the Bavaria 47 and the Catalina Morgan 44 that we had been eyeing for the last month (spoiler alert—they weren’t the right fit for us after all) as well as 4 other boats that fit our requirements. I don’t want to jinx the sale, so I’m going to wait to reveal the boat that we picked for our first home until after the paperwork has gone through. (Ok fine, I’ll give you a hint—we don’t need as much length as we thought we did!)
But let me tell you, SHE IS BEAUTIFUL. We are so happy, and just knew as soon as we saw her that she was the one. We put in an offer at 2:30 yesterday and less than an hour later the owners accepted it. This feels like a dream.
I was a little nervous initially on the drive over to New Bern, and wondered if we would feel overwhelmed and unprepared once we saw the boats, leaving us too doubtful to make a decision. Much to my surprise, I was able to compensate a bit for my lack of experience with all of the ‘book smart’ knowledge I learned from stalking blogs and forums. And, of course, our broker made us feel totally comfortable during the process and was very patient every step of the way.
Now that our offer has been accepted, we need to secure our financing, put a 10% down payment into escrow, and schedule our sea trial and survey. If any issues pop up with the boat, we can either re-negotiate, or walk away from the deal (not that we want to!). It will still be a few weeks (at least) until she’s all ours and we can move aboard, but we woke up this morning with butterflies of excitement and without any buyer’s regret, so I think we made the right choice.
2) 3 GREAT boats (yes, the newly-posted 44 Catalina is also a perfect fit for us!)
3) Conor’s orders are still for North Carolina
Things that were unexpected this week:
1) Someone else is interested in the Endeavor 42, and will apparently put in an offer today. Cue our panic that none of these boats will be available for us come May 10, and we won’t have any boats lined up to see. This led to a long discussion about whether or not it would be worth it for me to fly out to NC solo to get the ball rolling. I was fully prepared to buy a last-minute ticket to New Bern, but thankfully our broker talked us down, and has urged us not to rush. Spring is the high season for selling, so he is confident that even if our three current options get snapped up, he can still find us a perfect fit.
My mantra: the right boat will be there at the right time. The right boat will be there at the right time. Repeat as necessary, accompanied by deep breaths.
2) We found out that while USAA finances boat loans, they do not finance loans if the boat will be used as a liveaboard. SURPRISE! Monday was a day of intense research and many phone calls, and we discovered that most banks do NOT understand/like/approve of the liveaboard lifestyle. This has been incredibly frustrating, and our options are limited. We can get a personal loan through USAA, but the terms and APR will be pushing it. We are also exploring our options with Lightstream (part of Sun Trust Bank), as they give boat loans for liveaboard purposes. Don’t even get me started on finding insurance.
3) Our plan to live at Gottschalk Marina on Camp Lejeune has been disrupted. I was promised a slip back in January, but some of the dock pylons were damaged in a recent storm and they don’t know when they will be repaired. The two intact slips big enough to fit 40+ foot boats are also currently occupied indefinitely. However, there is another marina at the air station (a separate entity within Camp Lejeune jurisdiction) called New River that has liveaboard slips available. WOOHOO!
The downside: Conor’s 3-mile bicycle commute is now turned into a 45-minute car commute. Which means that instead of going down to one car like we planned, we have to ship Conor’s car to Camp Lejeune (goodbye, $1000 that the Marine Corps won’t reimburse). Hopefully, our stay at New River won’t be too long, and we can relocate to Gottschalk in a few months and sell the car on the east coast.
WHEW! Thanks for reading until the end, this might be my longest blog post to date. I feel like this week was a test to see how much we really want our boat, and we are proving that we do. Shit hit the fan, but so far we have been able to find a workaround for everything.
Feel free to send us questions and comments, or any topics you want us to discuss!
It’s official, folks, we are out of the house! Though I’m sure you will miss my posts about downsizing, minimalism, and moving…JK—even I’m sick of writing about it. Now that the PITA part is over, we can get to the fun part! I am excited to focus on our adventures in San Clemente and our boat search over the next few weeks.
As I mentioned in my last post, our boat broker has come back with two AMAZING boats for us already, and will be sending along the link to a third boat sometime this week once it has been uploaded. Right now, we are looking at a 42′ Endeavor (1989) and a 48′ Bavaria (2000). We are waiting to see the details of a 44′ Catalina (1989).
Both the Endeavor and the Bavaria have everything we are looking for—center cockpit, fiberglass hull, blue-water sailing capability. The Bavaria has room for us to grow into, while the Endeavor fulfills all of our needs right now, and is at the right price point. I can’t say which we are leaning towards at the moment, at least until we can compare the Catalina as well. We should be able to view all 3 of these boats in person once we get to North Carolina (if they are still on the market) before we make any decisions. I am confident that we will just ‘know’ once we’ve found our new home.
I have a feeling there will be a pro/con list for each of the boats posted sometime soon for you guys to see 🙂 Until then, we are spending the next month recovering and unwinding with numerous glasses of wine before diving into May. Thank you for all of your encouragement and sticking with us as we orchestrated the move!