Cruising is the fine art of balancing the execution of a well-researched Plan with the willingness to depart from The Plan. Good reasons to depart from The Plan might be bad weather or a fabulous cultural opportunity. Unexpected opportunities come along and dang it, that’s what cruising should be about. But changing boats? Shouldn’t that be planned well in advance? How did this happen?
After our difficult trip down the coast in the wrong season (Yes, Fatty, no more wrong ocean at the wrong time of year, we promise) we took a little vacation time with family and got re-invigorated to continue our trip south. I mean, we are sailors – telling our story of disaster and discomfort only encouraged us to go out there and make more stories! We had talked about a new boat sometime in the future, but we knew that time had not come. Time to clean up, pack up, and head south after the holidays.
During our down time we were delighted to finally meet previous owners of Phoenix that had found us some years ago while we were rebuilding Phoenix. We had stayed in touch and were excited to finally meet in person. We rowed them out to Phoenix and had a lovely hour showing what we had done and hearing more stories of their adventures in the 1980s sailing from Florida to Norway to Brazil to California. Congenial folks, as we knew they would be!
We had a lovely lunch at Half Moon Bay afterwards, and included some old friends of ours we had met when preparing for our trip to Hawaii. Back in 2007 they had just bought a new-to-them boat in Canada and were fixing it up to take it south to San Francisco in preparation for a voyage to New Zealand and back during his sabbatical. Hearing of their adventures is always fun and they were interested to meet Phoenix’s former owners. So it was a great lunch talking of voyages and sailing.
At the end of the lunch I admitted that we were probably looking for a larger boat once we got to Mexico, something large enough to hold Jon’s truly impressive catalog of tools and all my sewing and other hobby equipment. I had a short list including such items as:
- “separate sleeping cabin, preferably not forepeak”,
- “oven that goes close to 500 degrees”,
- “non-creaky floors”,
- “galley and dining out of traffic flow” and
- “better downwind performance”.
But we wanted to cruise for a year or so so that we were pretty sure we would make a reasonable choice. They say it takes a year or more to really get used to cruising so we were willing to wait. But before we headed across an ocean to New Zealand I was pretty sure I was going to want a little more comfort.
Sandra pulled me aside and said “you should really consider Aquila, we have to sell her since our lives are focused on land now. We could make her quite affordable.” I nodded yes, yes, knowing full well it was too soon and we could not afford their gorgeous boat anyway. I mumbled something about Jon needing more time before letting go of Phoenix and all the work he had done. So, that was that.
A few days later we got a text saying it was more important to them to have someone they really knew was going to take her into the oceans and they could probably meet our budget. They didn’t want her languishing in a marina even if that meant they lost some money on her. Hmmm. It would be rude not to at least go see.
After several visits to Aquila with Jon in full surveyor mode, the little hammer and everything, we came to an agreement on price and started the paperwork. We had to use up our cruising kitty, but she’s ours! She will now be called Eurybia with homeport Bellingham, WA and we are living aboard while we sort through the systems, and gradually move stuff aboard from Phoenix.
This means we will be in San Francisco quite a bit longer. We have some deferred maintenance on the new boat to do, systems to learn, some additions (mostly solar panels – she has everything else!), a ketch to learn how to sail, and of course have to find a good home for Phoenix.
Life is what happens when you are making other plans.
The lunch described was indeed a fateful lunch. Two months after buying Eurybia the other couple at that lunch (previous owners of Phoenix) bought Phoenix from us. So among those three couples, two boats changed hands within two months.