Friday, January 30, 2009


We're officially the owners of a Beneteau 393 named (for now) Typhoon! Jesse and I are staying on board tonight. The closing went very smooth. Patrick will have to move a few boats to let us out of their marina/yard in the morning, and then we're off toward U.S. waters. Maybe we should check out the local pub first for a celebratory beer.. :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A whirlwind of activity!

Closing the deal on our boat purchase has given new meaning to her name "Typhoon"! I have really worked for 3 solid days to make sure everything is in order. I won't go into all the roadblocks, fortunes, and saves we had to go through. I'm just happy to be headed back to Seattle knowing that everything is ready on our end to close the deal. The seller is apparently having some troubles getting some last minute forms notarized, but I doubt that will hold this deal up.

You know, I never get missed connections from delayed flights. Never. (Well except the time my plane made an emergency landing due to the engine being on fire, but that's a separate story...) I'm just one of those lucky people. Well, today I got bumped to a later flight due to delays in Dallas, and then even missed my later connecting flight to Seattle! So here I am sitting at DFW waiting to board my flight. Jesse should be arriving at Sea-Tac right about now. I feel bad he'll be sitting there for so long. I left him a message and told him to drink copious amounts of beer. :) So much for going to bed early tonight. It's a full flight, but hopefully I can sleep on the plane. Please, please let a skinny, quiet (preferably mute), non-fidgeting, pleasant smelling person sit next to me!!! Yeah right...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Support from Friends and Family

With so much happening so fast it is nice to know people are there for you when you need them. Jesse is going to fly out to Seattle and help me take possession of Typhoon and sail her back to Everett. I wouldn't want to take the kids on the boat's maiden voyage in the middle of winter, and I really didn't want to sail solo the first time, either. I really had to twist his arm to go. :) I think the conversation went like this: Me- "Yeah so I'm not sure if your available or not, but if you're interes..." Jesse- "Hell yeah, I'll sail down with ya!" We should have a good time.

Jody's parents also helped us out. Part of our financing is coming from a CD that is maturing the day before we close. I called USAA, and they said that it may take a "day or two" to deposit into our checking account. In order to give us some breathing room, they're giving us a super-short-term loan (around one week) just so we can sleep at night knowing we'll have sufficient funds even if the CD isn't deposited immediately.

And trust me, we can use the help. USAA is great, but it has become obvious to me that they don't do boat loans much, and certainly not for what we are asking! Sometimes I feel like I'm telling the representatives what to do next! At least we got the whole Canadian tax issue worked by biting the bullet and going through a customs broker. It is adding about $750 to the deal, but it is money well spent if we can be assured of not paying CAN taxes and clearing customs easily!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Another step closer!

I'm heading home after a very successful weekend in WA and BC. The survey and sea trial went great. Rick picked me up from the Navy Lodge around 6 am, and we headed north. Our survey was scheduled for 10 am, so we should have had more than enough time to get there. Unfortunately Rick's GPS was acting pretty squirrelly, so we ended up taking the scenic route and getting there right on time.

Phil, our surveyor, went straight to work, first with the interior and then the topside. It was also nice talking with Brad and Pat, who really know Beneteaus. Every time I talk to them I learn something! Then came haul-out, and the hull was checked. This was the moment of truth- my sole major concern was a report from the owner that the boat had "bounced off" some rocks once while in charter. I was extremely relieved when we all saw no damage to the keel!!

After that Typhoon was put back into the water for her sea-trial. Phil, Brad, and Pat left us, and Rick, myself, Scott (the listing agent), and JP, the owner of Westerly Yachts, went out for a sail. All week it had been foggy and dreary, but today the sun was shining and the temperature was nice! The only problem- we only had about 5 kts of wind max! We did raise/lower all the sails except the spinnaker, and tried out the engine at various RPM's. I was amazed at how easily Typhoon handled, and how FAST she was (for a sailboat). I called jody on the way back in and let her know the good news: we'd be boat owners in one week!

We got back very late Friday. On Saturday I went to the cabin to check on things. The cabin was in great shape! Much better than I hoped it would be, really. The recent heavy rains and floods has washed out our steps in two spots, but I did spend the rest of the afternoon clearing the rest of the path up. I'm concerned about a mini-slide the occurred recently on the slope the cabin is near, but it is stable enough to deal with after we return to the area.

Time to buckle down and get things moving! The quick and dirty to make this all happen in a week- Phil will email the survey results Monday, then I'll send to the bank, get the loan finalized, set up wiring instructions once Marine Documentation Service gets the final numbers, set-up a customs broker, get insurance, and then fly back out in 3 1/2 days to close on Friday and take possession and sail it back to Everett by this time next week. Whew!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Back to Seattle

I'm on my way to Seattle now for our Survey/Haul-out/Sea Trial tomorrow. Great news- the mechanical inspector just called me and said that as much as he hates to admit it, he could find nothing wrong with the engine, transmission, or drive shaft. That means a lot to me. I've worked with plenty of inspectors in various types of construction projects and know the ones you hire for a specific inspection ALWAYS want to find something to justify their fee that you paid. So far it is looking like we got the great deal we thought we did. We'll see what tomorrow brings!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2 Weeks???

After we returned to Louisiana Sunday evening, Jody and I began to realize how much we had to make happen in order for us to be able to close on time. Let's see...I'll work through Wednesday, and leave for Seattle Thursday around noon. Rick scheduled a mechanic to perform the Engine/Mechanical Survey on Wednesday. Then it'll be Survey, Haul-out, and Sea trial on Friday, with Saturday as a back-up day in case of very bad weather. Sunday I'll fly back and work a few days....then fly out to close on....hell I don't know if we'll get through the survey! First things first, right?? Our loan offer is contingent on the survey results, so there's nothing more I can do on that front right now, either. Rick is working with the listing agent to figure out how to handle the physical transfer of the boat. A big concern (for myself and Rick, anyway) is that I may get stuck with a Canadian VAT or GST (or some other SOB tax) if the purchase and transfer is not handled properly. As it stands right now, the listing agent will meet us at the border, and we'll transfer ownership at that time. But no one seems to know if we'll close at the border or as planned in North Vancouver, or if a transfer at the border is even necessary. Do I even have enough leave to make this happen?? No point in worrying about that right now, though, as everything is on hold until we get those survey results!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wrapping up the shopping trip and heading home!

Almost instantly our focus has shifted to all the work we need to do to seal this deal. Our closing date is soon—January 30th. Somehow we have to get an inspection and survey done and we have to be there for the survey/sea trial. Frank is taking all of this on (have I mentioned that I really love him?). Here’s the plan. The mechanical inspection will go down next Wednesday and the survey/sea trial is set for Friday. Frank will fly out Thursday and return Sunday, giving him an extra day in case anything goes wrong or the weather doesn’t cooperate. Tight!

We met up with Don today about subleasing his slip at the Port of Everett Marina. It’s a GREAT slip location…facing the water on Pier A and not far from the marina services. I think we’ll be spoiled here and will not fair so well when we get our own slip assignment!

Now, to watch the playoffs and get to bed for our early morning flight!

Friday, January 16, 2009


Today we headed to Whidbey Island for a farewell for one of my co-workers. It was a nice drive over Deception Pass, but nonetheless my mind was on the boat and our pending offer. Just as we arrived at the party, Frank’s phone rang. They had countered again asking for $1000 more. $1000 more? Just a stinking $1000 more? Seriously? I was a little turned off by this game the seller was playing but looked at Frank and said, “Whatever. Get the boat.” We accepted the counter offer. Rick met up with us tonight to sign all the paperwork. I was relieved. I mean, we still have the survey, sea trial, closing, and transfer to the US to contend with, but I feel like we are well on our way with a fantastic boat.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Counter this, counter that

This morning we watched birds and took in the scenery at one of our favorite little waterfront parks in Everett. Frank called about the slip sublease and it was still available. So far so good, but no word on the offer yet. They had until tonight to respond with a counter. We headed to the Children’s Museum to let the kids burn off a serious amount of energy. They’d logged lots of hours in the car this trip and deserved a little fun. It's a pretty cool little place! While we were there, Frank got the call about our offer. Apparently they really didn’t like how low we went and countered with darn near the asking price. We countered with what decided our new “max” budget was…a little under the asking price, but within 10% of it. We thought that was fair. And now, to wait again…

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shopping turns to offering

Today we needed a down-day. We had seen enough boats to have 2 strong contenders—the Beneteau 40 and the Beneteau 393 (plus a few others that might work). We decided to travel east to Index and check on our cabin out there and take some time to talk and really think about this. We both would love the 393, but we needed to make sure we could afford it. We’re approved for more than the asking price and are pretty confident we can afford it in the long run, but getting through the closing and big down payment would be tough. Was it worth it? On the drive out we decided that the 393 was the one to go for. That was the layout that would work for our family and if we couldn’t get that boat we probably needed to keep looking for ones similar to it. But we still kept going through the pros and cons…

The trip to the cabin was an adventure in itself—the road was washed out! Recent rains had soaked the hillside and it had given way just a few days earlier. We debated hiking in (about 2 miles), but with both kids asleep in the car we abandoned the cabin and retreated to the Espresso Chalet on Rt 2 (An aside here—if you EVER find yourself on Rt 2 in WA and need a little boost, stop at Espresso Chalet. It is THE BEST little espresso shop on the entire road. I know. I’ve tried many!). This decision to go after Typhoon, the 393, was eating me alive and I needed caffeine to clear my head. Were we spending too much? Would we all hate living on it and be tied to this floating cage that we couldn’t sell? Would we ground on our first outing? Would work keep us too busy to even enjoy it? Will Trent fall out of bed and end up with yet another skull fracture? Thank goodness for the Tollhouse Mocha…I’m absolutely fine with this! It’s going to be an adventure! And I won’t be sitting around in 10 years saying, “What if…?”!!! YES! Let’s get this boat!!!

We high-tailed it back to Everett. First we went to the marina and put our names on the waiting list for a slip—we were gonna need a place to put this thing! While there we got a lead on a sublease slip available starting in February. We could potentially have it for 6 months, which should just about get us up to the time when we would have a slip of our own. Then Frank met up with Rick to officially submit our offer on Typhoon. Like any good buyer, we went in low. Let the wait begin!!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

VERY good shopping day!

Today we had our sights set on a Beneteau 40 in Semiahmoo (darn near in Canada!). This boat edged out the Hunter 40 from yesterday. While it still only had 2 cabins, it had lots of cruising extras like solar panels and a water maker, as well as a good deal of storage. The salon and galley were great, too. We might have a winner! She was listed a little over budget, but the potential to have an accepted offer within budget was definitely there. While we were up there we also got onto a 38’ O’Day. That one had 3 cabins (bonus!) and was cheap (another bonus!), but that was about it. The Beneteau 40 was still tops.

Then we got a little crazy. It was around noon when we finished up in Semiahmoo and we were soooo close to Canada (and had our passports on us!) that we decided to see if we’d be able to get on the Beneteau 393. It was in Vancouver and we kept coming back to the unique layout it had—3 cabins nicely tucked in 39’. The call came through and we bolted for the border. Talk about making it a tough day! The kids were sick of being in the car, hungry, cranky, you name it, but we made it. Scott at Westerly Yachts greeted us and didn’t seem the least bit irked by our last-minute showing. He took us down to the immaculate boat, Typhoon.

An engineer and some deckhands were just coming off and immediately gave us a little education on her. Oh, and Katreina immediately took to Brad, interrupting us so she could shake his hand and say hi…little flirt. We easily got the whole crew on via the step-through stern and started checking her out. Wow. This boat was the cleanest we’d been on yet and everything looked almost new. I went down below and instantly fell in love with the layout. The 3 staterooms really were perfect and I loved the “master suite.” I preferred the D-shaped settee to the port/starboard benches we’d seen on other boats and while the galley was small, I could see us all sitting together in the salon. She had some mechanical perks, too—roller furling Genoa, in-mast main, all lines beautifully led aft and covered on deck, autopilot…uh oh, falling in love. I also found comfort in the fact that it was a fairly new boat, a 2006, and the systems all seemed to be in perfect working order. Ugh, really in love.

We left Vancouver a little torn. THIS was the best boat we’d seen, but it was over our budget and unfortunately it was pretty fairly priced (unlike some of the other neglected boats we’d seen). The drive was a little silent. The kids were just wiped and I think Frank and I were doing some serious number crunching and soul searching. I could absolutely see us being on that boat in 10 years. Everyone could have their own space onboard, it was so new, and it was built well. I called my parents to tell them all about it as soon as we got back to the US. I had done exactly what you’re not supposed to do when making a big purchase—looked over budget and got emotionally attached. Now what?

Monday, January 12, 2009

An upturn on the shopping trip

We got down to business today, heading to Anacortes to check out a Hunter 38 (with a serious leak around the mast) and a Hunter 40 which went to the top of the list. Nice size, well maintained, and good potential to fall within budget after some negotiation. We also looked at the Islander Freeport 41 on the hard. While it had great rooms and a big salon, we just couldn’t get over the teeny tiny bathrooms! I mean, you don’t expect much on a sailboat, but when it’s tight for someone my size to get into comfortably, it’s just plain tight! It was a great day. We're really starting to refine our list of needs/wants based on what we’ve seen on these boats.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A rough start

As we packed our bags for the trip, we were a little crushed to find that an offer had been accepted on the Beneteau 390 (it was almost perfect for us). Upon our arrival in Seattle yesterday we also found out that an offer was in on the Beneteau 38s5. Was the whole world against us?

We met up with Rick today and did all the needs/wants/budget stuff. We ended up looking at a Cal 40 in Everett that was SUPER tight! Had us a little freaked out about how tiny 40-footers were, but then again she had a pretty narrow beam. We left Rick to set up some stuff for the next day and headed to Seattle to satisfy our World Wraps and REI cravings. On the way, we realized we were heading right for the marina where the Beneteau 390 and 38s5 were and decided to stop in. The selling broker, Chapin at Seattle’s Signature Yachts, was awesome and let us check out both anyway just to get a feel for the size and layout of both. They were nice, but we left feeling like 2 cabins might not cut it for us after all…could the kids really sleep together? Even if they could now, how long would it really last? World wraps=yummy thinking food…

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The search begins!

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.