By Christmas we realized that the only way we were really going to know if a boat would make a decent home for our family was to get on some boats and check it out. We were pretty certain we wanted to go for it, but we wanted to see how the kids would respond to having life vests on, walking on piers, and moving on and off the boats. They had been kayaking, but this would be different. After much deliberation, we scrapped our plans to go to Disney World in January and decided to head to Washington for 10 days. We’d check out boats right off the bat and if it didn’t feel right or the kids were miserable, we’d spend the rest of the trip looking for a place to rent for our 2-year tour.
We had a “short list” by then, too, that we shared with my sister Amy and her hubby Mark when they visited. Their excitement for our adventure only got me more excited to go shopping! By now I had somehow swayed Frank so that we would start our search with the smaller boats and go up to the 45-50’ ones if we were too cramped around 40’. We had our eyes on a Beneteau 390, a Beneteau 38s5, an Islander Freeport 41, a Hunter 40…all had their pros and cons, but they had potential. Occasionally we looked at boats outside our length/price range—danger!!! Frank kept coming back to a Diamonique 50 and a Gulfstar 50 (I thought they were too big to get underway as frequently as we’d like) and I kept referring to a Beneteau 393 (which was pricey) as “the dream boat.” We made our travel plans and connected with Rick at Mermaid Yacht Sales to get the search rolling.