Sea Trial, Survey, and Surviving Suitcase Living

Say the title 10 times fast. Now you know how the last few weeks have been for us: JUMBLED!

I swear the days have just flown by in a blur. But lots of stuff has happened since our offer was accepted on the boat!

We were living at an Extended Stay America hotel in Jacksonville (NC) which, to put it politely, is NOT somewhere we will be staying again. We had hit the two month mark of suitcase living, and Jacksonville tried its damnedest to break us. But we needed to be close enough to Camp Lejeune for Conor to have an easy commute to work, so we put on our grownup pants and dealt with the grossness. Weekend escapes to beautiful places like Topsail beach helped us keep things in perspective. Also, Conor checked into his new unit, and he is now incredibly excited for all of the amazing travel and training opportunities lined up for him! Just have to survive a little longer being homeless.

Our boat survey and sea trial finally happened yesterday. We tried to get a surveyor scheduled for last week, but this region is about to enter the ‘high season’ of boat sales, and everyone was booked! For those who don’t know, a surveyor is like a house inspector. He or she is a professional who works for YOU and has your best interest at heart regarding the vessel you are purchasing. Surveyors know how to spot any problems/warning signs with the boat, and can prevent you from making a bad investment. Their expertise is definitely worth their price (around $20 per foot of boat in this area) and their assessment of the vessel’s worth is vital for things like insurance or renegotiating price.

We arrived at the dock at 8am to meet Stephen, our surveyor, who patiently explained EVERYTHING he was doing, from walking us through the engine inspection, to analyzing the electrical system, to searching for issues with the water tanks, etc. Some buyers just let the surveyor handle everything and read the report they submit, but we wanted to be very hands-on the whole way. We learned a lot over three hours, and then it was time to take the boat for a sea trial and haul out!

Along with the current owners, our broker, and the surveyor, we motored up New River to a boat yard (and the predicted lightening storm held off, thankfully). Our haul out picture below:

haulout

For those interested in pricing, the haul out was $10 per foot of boat. A necessary expense, but well worth the peace of mind. The bottom looked great and there were no major issues. We all climbed back aboard and were back to our dock at 4pm. It was an exhausting day, mostly because we were hit with so much information. The current owners are amazing people, and answered all of our questions openly and honestly. They loved and cared for this boat for many years, so I hope they know she is going to a good home where we will love her just as much.

Next steps: get the written report from the surveyor, shop around for insurance, and then BUY THE BOAT! If anyone has any additional questions about the survey/sea trial process, please post them in the comment section and I will respond! This was just a brief overview of a complicated process.

Love,

Taylor and Conor

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Going With Our Guts

 

love at first sight
Or in our case, a boat!

Conor and I met with our boat broker yesterday, and it went very, very well 🙂

Mike showed us the Bavaria 47 and the Catalina Morgan 44 that we had been eyeing for the last month (spoiler alert—they weren’t the right fit for us after all) as well as 4 other boats that fit our requirements. I don’t want to jinx the sale, so I’m going to wait to reveal the boat that we picked for our first home until after the paperwork has gone through. (Ok fine, I’ll give you a hint—we don’t need as much length as we thought we did!)

But let me tell you, SHE IS BEAUTIFUL. We are so happy, and just knew as soon as we saw her that she was the one. We put in an offer at 2:30 yesterday and less than an hour later the owners accepted it. This feels like a dream.

I was a little nervous initially on the drive over to New Bern, and wondered if we would feel overwhelmed and unprepared once we saw the boats, leaving us too doubtful to make a decision. Much to my surprise, I was able to compensate a bit for my lack of experience with all of the ‘book smart’ knowledge I learned from stalking blogs and forums. And, of course, our broker made us feel totally comfortable during the process and was very patient every step of the way.

Now that our offer has been accepted, we need to secure our financing, put a 10% down payment into escrow, and schedule our sea trial and survey. If any issues pop up with the boat, we can either re-negotiate, or walk away from the deal (not that we want to!). It will still be a few weeks (at least) until she’s all ours and we can move aboard, but we woke up this morning with butterflies of excitement and without any buyer’s regret, so I think we made the right choice.

Love,

Taylor and Conor

When Plans Get Turned Upside Down

Things that are still on track: 

1) Awesome boat broker

2) 3 GREAT boats (yes, the newly-posted 44 Catalina is also a perfect fit for us!)

3) Conor’s orders are still for North Carolina

Things that were unexpected this week:

1) Someone else is interested in the Endeavor 42, and will apparently put in an offer today. Cue our panic that none of these boats will be available for us come May 10, and we won’t have any boats lined up to see. This led to a long discussion about whether or not it would be worth it for me to fly out to NC solo to get the ball rolling. I was fully prepared to buy a last-minute ticket to New Bern, but thankfully our broker talked us down, and has urged us not to rush. Spring is the high season for selling, so he is confident that even if our three current options get snapped up, he can still find us a perfect fit.

My mantra: the right boat will be there at the right time. The right boat will be there at the right time. Repeat as necessary, accompanied by deep breaths.

2) We found out that while USAA finances boat loans, they do not finance loans if the boat will be used as a liveaboard. SURPRISE! Monday was a day of intense research and many phone calls, and we discovered that most banks do NOT understand/like/approve of the liveaboard lifestyle. This has been incredibly frustrating, and our options are limited. We can get a personal loan through USAA, but the terms and APR will be pushing it. We are also exploring our options with Lightstream (part of Sun Trust Bank), as they give boat loans for liveaboard purposes. Don’t even get me started on finding insurance.

3) Our plan to live at Gottschalk Marina on Camp Lejeune has been disrupted. I was promised a slip back in January, but some of the dock pylons were damaged in a recent storm and they don’t know when they will be repaired. The two intact slips big enough to fit 40+ foot boats are also currently occupied indefinitely. However, there is another marina at the air station (a separate entity within Camp Lejeune jurisdiction) called New River that has liveaboard slips available. WOOHOO!

The downside: Conor’s 3-mile bicycle commute is now turned into a 45-minute car commute. Which means that instead of going down to one car like we planned, we have to ship Conor’s car to Camp Lejeune (goodbye, $1000 that the Marine Corps won’t reimburse). Hopefully, our stay at New River won’t be too long, and we can relocate to Gottschalk in a few months and sell the car on the east coast.

handstand
Our plans are upside down and unstable, much like the handstand of an aging former gymnast

WHEW! Thanks for reading until the end, this might be my longest blog post to date. I feel like this week was a test to see how much we really want our boat, and we are proving that we do. Shit hit the fan, but so far we have been able to find a workaround for everything.

Feel free to send us questions and comments, or any topics you want us to discuss!

Love,

Taylor and Conor

Starting Our Vacation (and Boat Search)

 

It’s official, folks, we are out of the house! Though I’m sure you will miss my posts about downsizing, minimalism, and moving…JK—even I’m sick of writing about it. Now that the PITA part is over, we can get to the fun part! I am excited to focus on our adventures in San Clemente and our boat search over the next few weeks.

As I mentioned in my last post, our boat broker has come back with two AMAZING boats for us already, and will be sending along the link to a third boat sometime this week once it has been uploaded. Right now, we are looking at a 42′ Endeavor (1989) and a 48′ Bavaria (2000). We are waiting to see the details of a 44′ Catalina (1989).

Both the Endeavor and the Bavaria have everything we are looking for—center cockpit, fiberglass hull, blue-water sailing capability. The Bavaria has room for us to grow into, while the Endeavor fulfills all of our needs right now, and is at the right price point. I can’t say which we are leaning towards at the moment, at least until we can compare the Catalina as well. We should be able to view all 3 of these boats in person once we get to North Carolina (if they are still on the market) before we make any decisions. I am confident that we will just ‘know’ once we’ve found our new home.

I have a feeling there will be a pro/con list for each of the boats posted sometime soon for you guys to see 🙂 Until then, we are spending the next month recovering and unwinding with numerous glasses of wine before diving into May. Thank you for all of your encouragement and sticking with us as we orchestrated the move!

Love,

Taylor and Conor