Pop Quiz

The lovely Emerald Lady

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.)

As you enter Emerald Lady, you see this. This tells you something about John and Kelly.

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.



5 thoughts on “Pop Quiz

  1. Glad to see you are starting to look at boats! I’ll tell you some of the things Tate and I learned during our boat shopping that lasted a year.
    -Bigger boats cost more money. You may think that there isn’t much difference between a 32′ boat and a 40′ boat, but the cost grows exponentially. The slip fees are more, the maintenance items are more, the sails are more expensive etc. We decided on the smallest boat we could be comfortable in.

    -No “affordable” is ever perfect. You have to ask your self what are the important pieces of the boat to you? For us it was a strong and sound hull, a safe boat, proven seaworthy. I’ll tell you when we first got her I wanted to redo most everything on her..to make her perfect.
    Now however 18months later and after major 5 months of work, I’m perfectly fine with only fixing what absolutely needs to be, or is cosmetically awful. I’d rather spend my time, energy and money doing things rather than keeping up with a perfect boat.
    For us, our boat isn’t going to be our home forever, she is a vessel that will take us on our dream. I’d much rather have a cheaper boat and have more money to explore the places we go.

    -Boats always look better in pictures than they do in real life-you MUST go see them. Expect to be disappointed when you go see boats in person.

    -Always try to get the most boat for your money. Decide what size boat you want, then find the boat in the best shape with the most equipment, most recent renovations. You will always get more for your money in a boat that is already updated, then if you get a boat that needs a lot of work thinking you will fix her up for the same price as the more expensive boat all ready to go.

    -The boat market is awful right now. Most boats go for 30% less than the asking price..keep that in mind and don’t get bullied.

    Goodluck! and of course we are VERY partial to Westsails..they have a 42 model that you can get in good shape for about $120k. Our boat was $30k and we’ll spend $50k getting her ready for a total of $80k.

    • Good advice, Dani, and we’ll keep it in mind. We looked at 3 boats today and one was pretty nice. The others were a bit ‘ho hum’. We know how to look beyond the ‘remodeling’ aspects, having remodeled two houses extensively. But, like you, I don’t want to spend all my time remodeling.
      Thing is it appears that there are not really that many boats in our search criteria for sale on the west coast. Doing the advanced search on yachtworld brings up about 1/2 the number of boats for sale in, say, the great lakes region. I don’t know why this is, but it may be that we will need to look at boats outside our geographic region.
      The costs of larger boats is also very true. We’re trying to stay right around the 40 foot range. Much bigger and the costs get pretty high, especially in marinas around here. We saw a 36 foot boat today that would probably be perfect if we were ready to pull the trigger on an offer. We might do it. We’ll see.

      • What kind of boat is it? You should check local boat brokers in the area and also check craigslist, as you can find alot of boats through those places as well. Remember you should always have a survey done and have the boat pulled out of the water to check for hull damage or blisters. Check for a soft deck!

        What kind of cruising are you planning on doing? Crossing oceans? if so you probably want more stout boats than the ones listed on your boats page up top. If you are curious about what I think about particular boats, give me a shout at my email ki10danielle1 at yahoo dot com.
        Also for crossing oceans big cockpits=trouble if you get flooded by a wave. ocean boats will have smaller cockpits, and portlights.

  2. The boats at the top of the list on the boat reviews page were never serious contenders. We’re looking at pretty much anything available right now just to see interiors and rigging lay outs, even if we know we aren’t going to be interested. The Spencer 44 on that page, further down, was a serious contender, but we hadn’t looked at enough boats yet during this shopping phase. We’ve been ‘looking’ at boats for 2 years or more, but only now are we actually shopping for one. Of course, we own the boat we have, and she’s our second boat. We’ve done a lot of homework, believe me. Naturally when you are crossing the Pacific Ocean, the heavier boats will ride more nicely, but in our Puget Sound area they will sail like tanks. Light wind is the norm here. We’re going to be stuck here for a few more years, so we don’t want a boat that won’t sail in these waters. We have to find one that will do both and that’s the tricky part.
    The boat we saw yesterday was an Allied Princess 36 ketch rig and it was a beautiful boat. We’re on our way right now to look at it again. Today we saw a Cal 39. Both of these are considered blue water boats. Since we currently own a Cal 34, the 39 felt familiar to us. It is well rigged and would sail really well in these waters as well as across the sea, but it doesn’t have a full keel and we might want that. I’ll review them both and stick them up on the boats page, so i don’t want to give it all away here.
    There’s nothing on Craigslist in our area right now. The Spencer 44 was on Craigslist. Around here the boat season starts after the boat show at the end of January. Also prices will creep up at that point. If I lived in another part of the country, I’d have more boats to look at.
    Of the boats your two saw during your year of shopping, which ones did you like best and why did you end up buying your Westsail?

    • We definitely loved the Princesses! There just weren’t any down here. We actually looked at Sundowner the Westsail 32′ first because Tate had researched and found it to be a great boat. So all other boats had to compare to it.

      Let’s see we looked at a Shannon 28′ which we liked, but was too small and our of our price range at $60k, a Pearson 365 which we liked, but felt for the price of $45k we could find more of a boat for cheaper, we didn’t like the big cockpit and big portlights as safety is on the top of our list, the boat also had alot of equipment we didn’t want, a couple of Cape Dory’s which were ok, except we didn’t like how narrow they were.

      Let’s see..a Challenger 32′
      a Hunter 30ish range
      an Endeavor

      All of which, for the price, we felt weren’t better than the Westsail ($30k). We also LOVED the deck space on the Westsail, there are lots of places sit.

      We definitely would have LOVED to look at a Princess, so that’s awesome there is one by you. All of the Allied boats are well made. I can’t wait to hear about it.

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