60′ Chris-Craft Roamer Viewing
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We looked at a 60′ Chris-Craft.  Figured if we could negotiate the price down, it could work as a plan B boat.

Met with the owner of the boat.  He was a nice guy.  Showed us around and told us everything he had done to the boat, including new electrical wiring and panel, rebuilt engines, and exterior paint job.  He also explained all of the projects that he was planning to complete: new flybridge seating covers, broken window glass and some minor repairs.

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What I really liked about the boat and this particular design is the wide body and dual salon areas.  The second salon is really a dining area, but could easily double as a family room for my kids.  I also liked the size of the staterooms.  The were large (which is fairly typical of this size boat) and each slept at least two. One of them had 4 bunks.

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The main salon was light airy with large windows all around.  It was very spacious and had a wrap around couch.

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What I did not like was the kitchen area.  It was too small.

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The worst was the engine room.  It was so cramped and hot I could barely stay down there.  I couldn’t get a good look around because there was no room to get in and look.  I was squatting. It was uncomfortable and claustrophobic.  Also, the owner had to lift up a hatch in the kitchen to step down into the engine room.  The hatch looked heavy, and I couldn’t see myself lifting that up and down, and climbing in and out to check on things while underway.

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I didn’t care for the layout of the helm.  It shared the space within the salon.  There was no separation, except for a bar area in between that seemed like kind of a waste of space.

The overall exterior condition of the boat was very good with it’s new paint job, that the owner did himself.

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The overall condition of the interior was raggedy. There was water damage in the wood paneling near the windows.  The sinks and showers were rust stained from dripping water and most everything inside was dingy.  It would definitely need to be refit if I were to purchase this boat, which I wouldn’t.

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It was a great learning experience.  I now know that an accessible engine room is a must, preferably stand-up.

This 60′ Chris-Craft will make a great project boat for someone, but not me.  Scratch this one off the list.

On to the next…

 

Boat Windows
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continued from here.

 

What’s wrong with this boat?  The cabins and bathrooms down below, have no windows.

 

I couldn’t sleep in a room, whether on land or sea without windows.  Not only will the room be dark and cave-like, but how about ventilation?  There’s nothing like opening windows to let in a nice breeze, especially a sea breeze.  It’s really too bad, because the boat is gorgeous otherwise.

I did some research, trying to figure out why a builder and marine architect would design a boat that has no lower hull windows.  I have noticed this mostly on converted fishing boats and long range ocean-crossing vessels.  I was unable to find a concrete answer, but in this post the owner of m/v Lifeline, describes how they converted an old fishing trawler to a cruising trawler.  She mentions that one of their primary objectives was Greater seaworthiness through: deeper draft, lower profile hull and superstructure; less window area exposed to the sea“.

Lifeline February 2007, Satun, Thailand.

I have also read discussions of this topic on a couple of different forums.  The posters seemed to think that the lack of windows was, so that if the boat hit a big wave, the windows wouldn’t be smashed or blown out.  There is no chance of leaking lower hull windows, if there are no lower hull windows.

I love windows.  I love natural light.  In fact, when I constructed the 3rd floor of my house, I incorporated lots of windows into the design.

100_3708 I can’t imagine laying in bed without a cool breeze at night.  So, I eliminate boats that don’t have lower hull windows.  This is the 3rd boat thus far, that I was interested in otherwise, but couldn’t  consider, because of not having windows in the lower hull.

I also look at placement, condition and size of the other windows throughout the boat.  It is important that boat windows are in good condition or water will leak in and destroy the structure, especially with wood boats. Damage caused by leaking windows, if not addresses quickly, can  lead to very costly repairs.

100_3679 Leaking windows can also be a sign of a bigger problem, a poorly designed structure. This article, by David H. Pascoe, a marine surveyor, discusses the problem of leaking windows that is frequently caused by a design error.  “It’s because designers have the idea that it is okay to hold up the cabin top and flying bridge with nothing but the window frames. Unfortunately, that is not okay because the window frames are not strong enough to hold up the deck, cabin top or flying bridge. So when you take the boat out to sea, the whole structure rocks and works and twists and opens up all the seams allowing our number one enemy (water) inside the boat.”  David describes caulking smeared around windows as a red flag to this problem. 

I look closely at windows when I am viewing boats.  I look for windows in the lower hull cabins. Porthole windows are great.  They bring in light and air, but they are also waterproof.

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I look at the size and location of upper windows in the galley, salon and pilothouse.  The pilothouse windows are especially important.  The boat should have great visibility to make docking easier.  As noted here by Tom Tripp, publisher of Oceanlines.biz“The reverse rake of the forward windows eliminates glare and reflections from  the interior so visibility at night is never compromised. ” 

selene-47 The reverse slant windows also help in avoiding breakage.  Selene describes;  “Recently we have the information about two Selenes met with the Rogue Wave, one is Selene 5323 and another one is Selene 5919. The Selene 5323 was literally enveloped by a 25 feet Rogue Wave in Southern Mexico. Apparently the reversed raked forward windshield helped. The rogue wave smashed on the roof the pilot house and didn’t cause damage; but you can image if tons of sea water hit directly on the regular “raked after” front windshield, the pressure may break the window glass.”

Windows are extremely important.  They provide visibility, light and fresh air.  A boat without lower hull windows would not work.  Meme says, “re-configure and bring the master stateroom up.”  I say, buy a boat with windows down.

What’s WRONG with this boat?
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My mom (Meme) found this boat last night and called me to check it out.  We have been searching for months for the perfect boat, going back and forth, sharing our finds.

 

 

As I clicked through the photos, and viewed the video, I could feel the adrenaline flow, my heart racing, and hearing temporarily disabled.  “Mom, are you listening?” my 4-year-old grumbled, while blocking the screen with his head, in hopes of breaking the trance momentarily, to obtain a glass of water.  “In a minute, in a minute,” I respond.

I know when I’m really excited about a boat because I fly through the photos, barely taking anything in. Then, jump to specs, and glance them over, not read, just glance.  Go back to photos, this time examining closely, studying every detail, then repeat.  After about 3 rounds of photos, proceed back to specs, reading carefully; twice.  When pics and specs have been exhausted, I finally get to the video; save it for last because they are slow, can’t quickly inhale information. It isn’t until the end of the process that I finally have the patience to relax and watch.  The video will sometimes show angles that can’t be seen in the photos.

I call my mom back.  “That is a REALLY nice boat”, and proceed to list all of the attributes of the boat, that she just found.  My Mom joins in the boast fest.  We play off of eachother’s enthusiasm, taking turns, listing all of the wonderful traits. “The staterooms are huge!”… “I know, and did you see the galley!?”…”Yes, it’s all new, and how bout the baths, they’re like house baths!”

This back and forth continues for 5 or 6 minutes, then we hang up, and both continue scrutinizing.

I open the photos and scan through for the 6th, 7th, maybe 8th time, when abruptly, I’m stopped, dead in my tracks.  Oh crap!  This boat has a major defect.  I could never live with this.

It isn’t that the boat is wood.  Ever since visiting my good friend Ellen and seeing her wood boat, we have decided not to rule out wood, but rather, keep an open mind and take them case-by-case.

So, what is WRONG with this boat?  Can you guess?

 

Find out here.

 

Who’s Crazy?

When I tell people  (or at least, the few people that I have told) that we are selling the house, buying a boat and taking off to travel, I usually get the same predictable, eyes wide open, state of shock, stare.  Almost all laugh.  Then the inevitable, “You’re crazy!” follows.

I feel the same way.  We must all be crazy.  How can so many millions of people all follow the same mundane routine.  The same script.  Birth, school, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, retirement, death.  Programmed robots, back and forth to work, day after day.  Brainwashed from birth.  Were is the fun, enjoyment, excitement in life.  Two weeks vacation, once a year, just doesn’t cut it.

I am done with the boring routine.  Life is way too short not to get up, and out, and live, and experience.  How are WE crazy for wanting to have fun and take advantage of all that life offers and maximize our existence until it is no longer.  How is traveling, experiencing new cultures, foods, and meeting new friends crazy?

Back and forth, in and out of the same revolving door, every day, and every night, is absolutely insane.  I’m shocked, that there arn’t more folks out there enjoying life and following a different path.  Who is really crazy?

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“Be Careful What You Wish for, the Devil Might Be Listening!”

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It had been three months of pounding chicken breasts, skinning shark and doing dishes, and I was on my way home to Boston for a much needed two week Christmas holiday.  I stopped in Larry’s Landing, in Cruz Bay, to kill an hour before my ferry arrived to take me to Red Hook, in St. Thomas, to catch my flight.  Although I knew my way around a kitchen, having grown up in the hotel industry, I was desperately sick of it and wanted something else, possibly outdoors, with a more flexible schedule. I wasn’t really cut out for the rigid  6 day a week schedule.

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I didn’t know it at the moment, but the answer to my prayers walked through the door of Larry’s landing!

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He was a friend I had met through various sailor friends, he hailed from Michigan upper peninsula, but had been living down the VI’s for more than a few years. To my utter amazement, and absolute delight, he told me how he was looking for someone to take his place working for the notorious sailmaker, Manfred Dittrick on Hassel Island, for possibly  6 months, while he went back to Michigan. There was a definite possibility, if I worked out, of staying on as an extra, as when the 6 months was up, the start of summer, or the slow tourist season in the Caribbean brought in much sail repair work. The pay was per job, the main job was painting awnings out in the yard, and I was a semi pro at painting, having renovated many houses in my other life.  Also grinding welds, and the fact that I was an expert seamstress sealed the deal!
“When you’re not working, you can go sailing” he informed me, peaking my excitement, my heart throbbed in my chest.

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Did I just make a wish and it came true???  Well, lo and behold…  I did!   And the best part of the whole deal was, that I would live aboard his 26′ 1963 Pearson in Careening Cove, off Hassel Island
in St. Thomas Harbor. This way I would be closer to Hassel, as commuting from St. John just wasn’t
feasible, and certainly not a grind I was interested in.

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Am I dreaming? I pinched myself. Nope!  AND  I didn’t even have to interview!
We shook over a beer and all I had to do was show up in two weeks at our agreed upon rendezvous
and I would begin a new adventure in my life. Now this is what I came to the Caribbean for!!!
I was beside myself with excitement and could not believe my good fortune, once more life carried
on as I tried to make other plans.

Luckily I had a two week holiday, gave my two week notice to my great bosses from Shipwreck Landing, and went home to Boston to enjoy the Christmas holidays with my family.

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Living aboard a boat had been a dream of mine and now I would get to give it a test drive, see if it
was all I hoped it would be, and test my true grit. For the next 6 months I would be living on a 1963
26′ Pearson Ariel, with a hidden head under the only V berth, with no shower, and only a small cooktop. I would use an old wooden tortola dinghy, painted bright yellow & orange with a 25 HP outboard, and this would be my car, thus my freedom, to come and go as I pleased from my new home in Paradise.

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The New Year of 2008 held much promise, adventure & new friends on the horizon.

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Continued here.

Things I want to do when we move on a boat
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  • Visit places that I havn’t been before – I think it is a great opportunity to try new sports and see how different people celebrate different holidays.  I want to learn about other people’s religions.

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  • See animals that you can’t see in Massachusetts – Cute animals like pandas.

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  • Make friends around the world – It would be nice to have friends that speak different languages, this way you can learn from them.

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  • Learn different languages – I am excited to learn different languages because knowing just one language is really boring, from my point of view.

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  • Catch my first fish! – I want to catch fish because then we don’t have to worry about dinner!

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  • Do school on-line – My mom says that it only takes 4 hours or less long! You don’t have to listen to everything your teacher says.

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  • Try new foods – I am thrilled to try new foods!  I think that trying different country’s foods is going to be so cool!

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-This is me, Skyla, currently the 12 year old daughter.

 

 

HAPPY 12th BIRTHDAY SKYLA!!!

Love, Mom

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wood Boat Maintenance: A Nightmare?
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I have never owned a boat, not wood, not steel, not fiberglass.  Therefore I have no idea what maintenance is really involved with maintaining a boat.  I have heard that there is a lot.  Steel rusts, fiberglass blisters, and wood… well…wood rots.

I have read that wood is a maintenance nightmare.  “You will be a slave to your boat,” they warn.  I’ve seen the pics:

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On the other hand, there are just so many gorgeous boats that are fabricated from wood.  Woodworking is a fine craft, and wood maintenance, is like a craft in itself.  Most wood boat owners cherish their boats, and enjoy the time spent caring for them.

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I am afraid of wood, or at least I was until I bumped into my good friend, Ellen, the other day.  I haven’t seen Ellen for quite some time.  You can imagine her surprise when I told her that I was selling my house, to buy a boat.  But, you can’t imagine my surprise, when she told me, that she had done just that.  “You did what? Are you kidding me?”, I gasped in disbelief.  “Yup, we sold the house a few months ago and bought an old woodie.  Chris Craft.”   How could that be possible?  When Ellen and I met, she was constructing her waterfront home a few blocks from where my waterfront shack was located.  I sold the shack years ago, and moved on.  Ellen and I haven’t spoken for a long while, yet, kindred spirits, still following the same path, all the while.  Funny how life is.

Ellen was gracious enough to invite us aboard her antique, 42′ 1961 Chris Craft. She gave us the grand tour.  The boat was awesome.  Charming.  I was most amazed by the condition of the hull.  I expected at least some deterioration and sign of age.  The boat is older than me.  It’s wood!  I heard wood and water don’t play well together.  I was told wood boats rot.  But, it wasn’t rotted, at all.  In fact, it was just the opposite.  It was in fantastic shape.  It looked better than the 80’s fiberglass Hat that I had viewed, with it’s cracks and bubbles.  You could have told me that the boat was a few years old, and I would have believed it.  I was impressed with her unique shape, yet simple design. Her sleek lines were complimented by trawler-style slanted windows.  She was a top-of-the-line speed boat in her hayday, now a work in progress to return, and will be a gem when done.

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Ellen showed me some of the projects that she and her husband had done, and jobs that they are working on.  It was no big deal.  When issues pop up they take care of them and stay on top things.  She explained that they take their time, do small projects at their leisure. She enjoys it.  At that moment, I had a change of heart.  I felt empowered.  I no longer feared the devastating dooms of a wood hull.  My visions of decayed, sinking ships, in ruin, were left at that dock that day.

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that wood is my first choice. But I have decided to take all boats, including wood, on a case-by-case basis.  Thanks Ellen for showing me the light…and…the wood.

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Sale Pending :-(

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Wow, I really believe that I found the perfect boat.  The bad news is that the broker says the boat is “sale pending”, subject to survey…Boooooo

When I spoke to him, he didn’t seem confident in the pending sale.  He said, without me asking, “With custom boats there is about a 50% chance that it will close”.  The survey will be complete by the beginning of July.  I have to hope the buyer bails.  I also have to hope that my house sells, so that I can make an offer.  Fingers crossed. Unfortunately, I can’t post the link yet, as much as I would love to share.  Seems every time that I post a link to a great boat, it sells a couple weeks later. This isn’t a high traffic site, but I can’t take the chance on this one.

The boat:

  • Trawler
  • Large fuel capacity
  • 60-65′
  • Located in the USA
  • 4 staterooms plus crew berth
  • Blue water

If the boat falls apart with the current purchaser I am going to make an offer subject to satisfactory viewing.  I will also try and finagle my way into them holding it for me until my house is sold.  Fat chance, but worth the try.