Answer this question: What is the coolest part of finally getting into the groove of boat shopping? Is it A) Experiencing boat lust B) Thinking about spending a million dollars C) Wasting time trying to make appointments to look at boats or D) None of the above. If you answered D, none of the above, you would be correct and win a prize if I had one to give you. The correct answer, for the bonus essay point, is ‘making new friends who live in Boat World’. First we met Lee Youngblood, then we went to a club meeting of all sailing people all the time and won a prize. And now, thanks to Lee, we’ve met sailors, soon-to-be cruisers, Kelly and John Wanamaker and their freaking fabulous Cheoy Lee Ketch, Emerald Lady. We spent the better part of 2 hours on this beautiful yacht talking boats, sailing, how to manifest dreams, healthy cooking in the galley, boat projects using non-boat materials, and all kinds of exciting and wonderful boaty boat things! It was so much fun I was practically levitating as we left!
Now before you go rolling your eyes at me and wondering if I’m just easily amused and all that, let’s consider this: when was the last time you had the chance to sit and visit with people who had the exact same interests as you and were just enough ahead of you in the game to be encouraging but not daunting, sharing wisdom and experience but not being condescending? Hmmm? As I thought. It was last year! Maybe even never!
We wanted to meet John and Kelly because we were told that they bought a fixer boat and turned her into a beauty. And that’s exactly what they’ve done! I can’t imagine how they’ve done it in a year’s time, but this is one lovely vessel and it has many of the ‘necessities’ we’re looking for, including an extremely cool aft cabin with its own hatch! They talked about the plans they have for making the boat even more comfortable in the future and Kelly talked about some of the compromises she made when choosing this boat. (She did use the word ‘compromise’, but I put my inner 4 year old in time out and Kelly remained safe. I was on my best behavior.)
So in an afternoon of visiting with new friends, we came away thinking more strongly about setting a date for departure, at Kelly’s urging. And we came away thinking ‘we could probably handle a boat larger than 40 feet if we wanted to, at John’s urging. We came away thinking that the more we look at boats like that Cheoy Lee, the more we like them because they are so comfortable and beautiful, and they feel like tiny houses, yet still like boats. Just maybe we don’t have to spend a million dollars right up front to get the boat of our dreams. Maybe we can spend it a little at a time. I even started thinking that maybe a big master cabin is not so necessary if you have a roomy and comfortable salon. Then I had to slap myself really hard because I started to get too flexible on that point.
As Mike and I walked away from Emerald Lady, I looked back at her and had a little deja vu moment; you know those times that make you wonder if you’ve lived that moment before, like you’ve just looked through the window into another dimension. And then I remembered. A few years ago we were sailing in the south sound and spent a night at Harstine Island. There was this beautiful boat tied up at the dock. It had gentle curves and a sweet overhang. It looked like it was a modern version of an old sailing vessel; long and slender with teak decks and varnished brightwork. I remember standing on the dock with Mike, staring, sort of imagining what it would be like to be on that boat. I remember saying, “I would love to have a boat like that.” Walking up to the little store at the marina, we met a man coming down toward the docks. We asked him if that boat was his boat. “The Cheoy Lee? Yep.” He smiled at us in a dreamy sort of way.