Fixin’ to begin to commence to start….

My mother used to berate my Dad sometimes with the phrase “Imagonna” when she wanted to remind him of something he said he would do, and had not gotten around to doing it just yet.  She’d be upset with him and would be the one to remind him that he wasn’t doing whatever it was with this caustic remark of “Imagonna”.

But Mom had a way of telling us kids she was going to do something, eventually, if we asked her. She used “I’m fixing to begin to commence to start…” meaning to us, she’d get around to it when she was damned good and ready.

On Wednesday last week I spent the better part of eight or night hours actually sitting on an aircraft to head to the location of the boat I’m looking at.  On Thursday morning I sat at breakfast with the surveyor and discussed our attack plan.

By Thursday evening, I was convinced.

It was cold, negative 10 degrees below zero when I arrived and looked at the boat for the first time in person.  I’d “driven around the area” using Google Street view, but couldn’t quite see the boat from the location the Google car had turned around.  So, no sneak previews for me.  Only the images the seller had sent to me via the broker, and those on the various ads I could find.

There was ice on the deck.  The deck covered with tarps.  Did I mention it was cold?  Colder than Colorado, that’s for sure.

I had a “Wow!” moment when I first saw the boat.  It was just as beautiful, if not more-so than the images told me.  In fact, Confucius had it wrong when he said “One picture is worth a thousand words”.  The images tell a lot, but when you’re in person and all you can say is “Wow” I guess that says something too.  A lot.

My second “WOW” moment was on deck.

My last one was when I climbed down the ladder to the cabin.  That was more of a “Triple Wow!”

Basically, the survey went well, everything we checked out was good.  There was some “bad” too though, but mostly things I can deal with without having to resort to professionals.

The most important part was coming away from the survey having watched a professional examine the boat, taking notes and taking pictures and knowing his evaluation would give me the confidence to go forward.

We stand awaiting the survey report and in a short time we’ll “be fixin’ to begin to commence to start” our trip to the Islands.

More to follow….

Buying a Boat

We just were notified that the Seller of the boat we’re interest in has accepted our offer.


Ok. I’m better now.  Time for a survey.  Surveyor is notified, will get back to me shortly with possible dates.  I’ll get back with probably flight and hotel information.


With luck weather won’t be horrible.  We’ll likely waive a sea trial.  Too late in the season.  Speaking to both insurance companies and the surveyor, they can do the best job on the hard anyway.  Short of ensuring the boat doesn’t sink, or masts don’t fall off in waves.  Anyway, at this point, I’ll take it. Spoke to a mechanic at the marina who worked on the boat when the boat was hauled.  Said he took care of tightening bolts, checking some hoses and clamps and then winterizing the engine and it starts and runs fine.  He was not sure of the oil changes or any of that.

I’ll personally check that stuff out.  No responses on any maintenance logs, and I doubt I will find any.

On the good side, I’ve spoken to several people who have been on this boat, seen it and even know the owner.  He gets high marks for being picky about the boat and caring for it at this point.  But thus far, I’ve seen only pictures and pictures might be worth a thousand words in the mind of Confucius, but I prefer seeing something in real life, living color.

Stay Tuned.

“Somethin’ ’bout a boat”

Jimmy Buffett has an album, “Songs from St. Elsewhere”. I want to visit that place.  Soon.

Today we’re putting an offer in on a 41′ Formosa.  I’ve managed to get most of a survey accomplished before we made the offer.  We’ll do a full survey if the sell accepts our offer.

Somewhere around Monday we should know if he accepted.  If he did, then I’ll have the surveyor go in next week and finish what he started and get me a report.  I’m planning to fly out to see the vessel in person.  We’ve been doing this all over email so far, and it’s a bit disconcerting.  I’m the sort of person that likes to stand in the store and handle the items I plan to buy before I slap down cash for it.

In this case, I’m in Colorado, the boat is on the East Coast.  I’ll only have a limited amount of time (2 weeks) to arrange a flight, get there, find and look at the boat and decide if we screwed up or not.  I’ll try to meet with the surveyor in person, but he can get in, do his job and present me with the report.  I just want to touch the boat and say “I’ve seen it, it’s sufficient in my estimation”.

If the offer goes through, I’ll post information about the boat and pictures.  Otherwise… we start over.

Headed for a Dock

Well, kind of.  We’re headed down soon to Florida to look over some boats.  Since I’m a little wary about putting travel data out I won’t say when or exactly where yet.  But we’ve got a bunch of boats lined up, one confirmed appointment and the type of boats are all falling in line with our basic requirements.

Each of the boats will be between 34-41 feet long.

Among the top choices were:

Allied Mistress (a 39′ full keeled ketch with an aft cabin)

Morgan Out Island 41 – similar to above

Hallberg-Rassy 35

Morgan 36

O’Day CC

Westsail 32

Those are our absolute top, go-to boats right now.  Among the second place was a Formosa (Actually it’s a CT 41, but based on the same designs as the Formosa 41), a couple of different Irwin models, another Hallberg-Rassy (33′), a couple of larger boats (a 45′ and a 44′) and too far away to look at, but would be on the top of the list if closer to our destination, would be two Gulfstar sloops.

We’ve been aboard a Westsail 42 in the past (if you watching the banner pictures, you’ll see the actual boat, the Kataboo eventually) – but not a 32.  We’ve clambered all OVER a Morgan 41 in the Bahamas that was for sale at one point.  The owner wanted too much money, and we didn’t want to fiddle with trying to get him to drop the price at the time.  The boat was sold later, I hear, to some folks who wanted it to move Haitians off their island, most likely, illegally.  He didn’t get anywhere near what he was asking originally.

I’m partial to a slightly smaller vessel – perhaps 35′ in length.  She is looking for something a bit larger.  We might, or might not have extra crew join us (family members) from time to time and for unknown lengths of time.  There is nothing set in concrete for that and we’re honestly not sure when this might happen, for how long or if the persons in question will do this often or not very often.

Thus we’ve been torn on buying the larger boat and ending up spending more money in repairs and maintenance, or going smaller, more budget-minded and have the extra crew “make do” with the space we allot them.  We feel like they really should come along – they are young and could be helpful, but also at the same time this is really for me and my wife, not to accommodate others.  Don’t get me wrong, we love them dearly and would welcome them.  But you know… decisions, decisions.  Oh their part and ours….

Anyway, truthfully, if we locate a boat that is 34-35 feet long and still has an aft cabin (we have a couple of those) to allow my wife and I privacy and a larger cabin area for the galley and an extra space or three for sleeping, it will be fine.

I really, really, like that Hallberg-Rassey we’re looking at.  I also really, really, really like the Allied Mistress.  Boat good boats, both of them are in our price range.  Both of them have the things already on them we want.  One is a bit much on asking price, the other has some work that is required before you can sail off.

But, we’ll figure it out.

The Broker we’re working with has told us several times to “sign a S&P” form… basically it’s an offer letter.  I don’t want to do that until I SEE boats personally, touch them, look inside, sniff around and do my own mini-survey.  Once I do that, I’ll be in a better position to determine if we’ll have a surveyor come out and do the rest of the job for us.  So – not getting pushed into making an offer on a boat sight-unseen, not buying a boat JoAnne and I both don’t have 100% agreement on, and won’t buy one that isn’t really what either of us want.  We each can veto the others final say on a vessel.

From a practical aspect this is about to be our new home.  We don’t want to live in a camper.  We don’t want to be “camping”.  We want to have some comfort, a nice place to sleep, a dry boat, places to store food, a water maker (eventually), extra power (solar panels and wind generator) and a way to move the boat without an engine (sail, sculling oars, outboard) and a dinghy.  HF radio is part of our lives now (we’re hams) and we’ll take our radio gear with us when we finally leave Colorado.

She has another doctor’s visit in October.  We’re waiting for that appointment to make the final decision on the house.  We’ll likely put it back on the market at the end of October if all works out.  If not, we’ll continue on, regroup as we have in the past and continue keeping on….

Fair Winds!

Recreational Vehicle

The RV…. a machine that takes you from your house to a campsite, to a lake for fishing, hauls your boat or All Terrain Vehicles behind so you can tramp through the wilderness, fish or hunt.

Downsizing from a 5 bedroom home with two people to a 40′ sailboat has to have a transition, right? Or not.  Some people go right to a boat.  Some already have a boat and are set up in two households.  Some of us have had to give up our boat(s) and jeeps and other things just to downsize and collect cash to be able to GET our sailing vessel (and don’t even have it yet!)

In our case, our plan included going across country to get to the East Coast from Colorado.  We haven’t left yet.  But we did some math and figured out that it was going to cost a lot to stay in hotels, eat out a lot and visit friends.  Some friends will “put us up” for a day or two, but we can’t really “put them out”.  We don’t want to get in the way of peoples’ lives while we’re traveling and visiting on our way across the country.

So the math worked out that we should buy an older, small RV we could load our remaining belongings (clothing, radio gear, JoAnne’s special cooking tools, tools to do repairs and a few other important-to-us things, like books) instead of staying in hotels and eating out every night.  So we went on a search and found an old, 1978 Dodge Shasta with a 440 engine, some dents, dings and assorted minor hail damage, but no apparent leaks.

This week it has rained like hell, so I’ve been checking everything on the RV and sure enough… no leaks.

I’ve done some repairs like changing out one of the valve cover gaskets, repaired some damage on the house in the rear of the vehicle and have tested a few things.  Last night I dropped the vehicle off at Pikes Peak Traveland, a local RV sales and service place for a “Check the House” inspection.  They will check the entire house systems out for me (I don’t have time to do it right now, and I have no way to check for propane leaks etc).  I told them IF the house checks good to install new lights on the rear (Brakes, taillights etc) and look for a broken window (one of the side panel windows is shattered, but still in place) as well as to examine the vehicle’s tow system to see if it is sufficient to haul JoAnne’s Wrangler behind us.

We figured it would be good to have a dinghy, you know?

Our belongings have been pared down from 36 years of stuff we’ve collected, saved and stored (in some cases without even knowing what was in the boxes!) to about 12 storage tubs, one military footlocker full of books and 4 tool bags.  The next challenge after the RV is repaired and made sea—er roadworthy is to figure out how to pack all that stuff in there.

So, downsizing from a 5 bedroom house to a 22 ft RV should be quite an interesting process.  Since we’ve already downsized as much as we have we think we can do it.  But, if not, we will go through all of this stuff yet again, tub by tub and eliminate things we don’t need, or duplicates of some items.  We decided to keep most of the Amateur Radio equipment, since it works, it has certain jobs and most of it is small (except the HF rig).  The HF rig can be used on the boat, on the road, in the RV, at a camp ground or a friend’s house.    We can remain in contact with our family through HF using “Airmail” and the Winlink 2000 system of radios across the country.

Dishes have been cut down.  I think she has what she needs, but any replacements or items she wants we’ll get.  We gave all our beautiful flatware away to our daughter.  She had a few pieces.  She threw them out before we could get them for the RV.  Oh well, you cruise, you lose.  I guess we’ll hit Walmart and pick up a small, cheap set for the RV which will do double duty for the boat later.

Tools… were a problem.  I have five sets of tools.  Electronic tools (I’m an electronics technician, so this is a kind of lifeline for me, and can earn me money).    Mechanic’s tools.  Need them to work on the RV going across country, and eventually the engine of a yacht.  Metal and woodworking tools.  I can “make things”, maybe things I can sell or things I can use.  Power tools.  They are battery operated (Li-ion batteries) and aren’t quite as bulky as A/C operated power tools, but these include a drill, a Sawzall, a skill saw (small rotary blade) and an LED light.  I also have an A/C powered sander, a charger for the batteries and a dremmel tool.  Lastly we have a bag of rigging tools.  This bag has things like string, lines, ropes, shackles, a couple of sailors knives I made, some marlingspikes, bees wax and various other things.

Thus far I can’t figure out how to eliminate any of these.  Eventually, I suppose we can pare those down when we find our boat and figure out we need three wrenches, a hammer, an axe and a pocket knife to do everything.  I doubt seriously THAT day will come. haha

So in a few days when I get the RV back I’ll have the task of figuring out how badly I suck at Tetris in trying to fit all that stuff into the RV, out of the way, and in a location that keeps it over the centerline and nothing heavy over our heads….

On the bright side, we won’t have to “down size” to a 40 foot boat either.

Housing Market Worries?

I am not really worried about the housing market.  Obviously with the house up for sale and things ticking up here and there we shouldn’t be worried.  Apparently the housing prices in the region have increased by roughly 5% over the last month or so, homes are selling for slightly higher prices than they were back in May (when we hoped to be on the market but didn’t make it).

The sign went into the yard on the 22nd of July and today is the 8th of August.  We’ve had three showings, and each one that provided feed back suggested there was “too much work to do” on the house – which I find… simply amazing.  The house has been fully remodeled in every room except the upstairs bathroom.  New everything, floors, windows, trim, hardware on doors, paint.  We haven’t replaced the appliances as they work fine.  Nothing is wrong with them.  They just aren’t “stainless steel”.  Too bad.

We have spent a few thousand dollars upgrading the house and people I think are just trying to get us to drop the price.  Not going to do that, so if you want a “flip house” this isn’t it.  Move along. lol

Seriously, if people are out looking for a house to flip, there are plenty of them out there, don’t come to my place expecting to get a rock bottom price.  Sorry.

I guess the anxiety comes from the fact that JoAnne and I have only owned one home, ever.  This one.  For 25 years.  We mostly raised our children here, there are a lot of memories and the kids all look at the house and say “This isn’t the house I grew up in”.  We see the changes, but those who look at it as a property don’t see those changes.  I suspect we will end up selling to a military family – and in fact, I HOPE we do.  They can take this place and keep it as a rental property when they PCS out (PCS is Permanent Change of Station, for the uninitiated).

Since we have never owned any other homes, and haven’t sold any other homes this process is rather “new” to us.  We bought the place back in 1989 and until this past weekend have lived there since.  We moved to my daughter’s house nearby, and I have been back every day, sometimes several times a day, to do yard work, check on the hot tub, clean some more and work on the RV.  Yesterday we had an email discussion with the Realtor about all this.  It seemed like she wanted us to drop our price pretty quickly.  In my research I found that many realtors want to shoot for lowered prices for faster sales on the homes.  This gives them more chances to make money quicker.

While we want to get out of here this year, before winter, we’re NOT willing to drop the price so fast.  We’d prefer to wait on an offer and then negotiate up or down as the case might be.

So… we think that Patience is the watchword of the day.  We’ll try to be patient and see what happens.  Then if things work out, good.  If they don’t, we always have a Plan B now.

House for Sale

Friday the sign went up in the yard.  The house is for sale.

Saturday and Sunday we held a “garage sale”.  I’ll never do that again.  I’ll give things away or throw them out before I will deal with the weird people that came by to buy things.  I guess, as there is a cruiser culture and a further sub-culture within, or a racing culture for cars and one for bikes, there is a “Garage Sale” culture.  There are the lookers, the pickers, the pokers, and the takers.

We had them all.  I should have had Jimmy Buffett’s “Fruitcakes” playing in the background all day.

We had a few people who honestly looked through things and then tried to underbid one another (yes, I said UNDERBID).  Weird.  We had a few neighbors who offered the cost of the item we asked (like a nice desk chair for 8 bucks) and we had some who moved everything on the tables around, back and forth, put them on other tables and dropped things on the ground.

Then we had the thieves. You would never believe that you have items sitting out that are worth a couple of bucks with a .50 cent price tag get stolen, right?  Or a nice, nearly new fan at $5.00 get walked off without us really understanding until later what happened.

Never again.

I did sell ALL my power tools that I’m not taking with me, that was a good thing. Got a decent price too.

All in all though, we’re done.  This morning I rented a small storage area to put our boat stuff in (a bunch of tubs going with us) so we don’t have to take that to my daughter’s home.  With luck we will only need it three months or less.  (Average on sale time is about 65 days or so, some homes going in a day or two, others months….).

The flyers should be in the box in the next day or two.  We should be moved out in about the same time.

Gate is done, guard rails back in place, new fencing, deck has been refinished, and the basement mostly empty.  Upstairs is mostly empty too.

I’m beat, JoAnne is exhausted.  We still have to move out our bedroom stuff to the daughter’s place and give a few more things to the kids and donation.

I’m ready to stop working on this stuff and get going.

I hope we sell the house soon.