I’m beginning to feel terrified. We have all these plans, and they all hinge on the releasing of attachments to land based things for awhile so we can go and see the world. You see, our children are more well-traveled than we are, and we just cannot let that stand. We want to go to Mexico, and Central America, and down the coast of South America, even to Antarctica. We want to go to the South Pacific, to New Zealand, and to the Great Barrier Reef. We want to sail in Europe and around the British Isles. And being the kind of people we are, we want to go to those places on our own terms and stay away from the touristy crowds. We’ve already established that Moonrise isn’t going to be our world traveling boat. So now, I’m getting terrified because we’ve put her up for sale. We’re about to be boatless, and we don’t know when, or for how long. Yikes! If you are not a sailor, it’s hard to help you understand just how bad that’s going to feel.
Part of our preparation for the cunning plan has been purging the house of extraneous stuff and this has forced us to reckon with the idea of ‘sunk costs’. You know: the costs you’ll never recover, like the fact that we bought something for 1500$ and then sold it for $500. That 1000$ difference is just gone. Poof! When Mike began to tally up all the time and money we’ve spent on Moonrise in the four years we’ve owned her, it became crystal clear that we were going to have to find a way to accept the energy we’ve sunk into her as just par for the course. It would have been great if we had known when we bought her that we would someday want to sail the world and needed a boat designed for blue water. But life has a way of being messier than that, and we wouldn’t have been ready to buy such a boat at that time. So what do we have to show for those sunk costs?
Plenty. When we bought Moonrise we were still pretty novice sailors. Having Moonrise allowed us to gain skills in ways we would never have done on the Saucy Sue (our Catalina 27). Different boats are made for different things. We sailed in conditions we would have shied away from on the Sue, just because Moonrise made us feel safe and secure. We learned we could sail in 30 knots of wind and 10 foot waves, at night, to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca. You would have had to hog tie me to the mast to get me to do that on a 27 foot Catalina. Then you would have had to clean up after me. Not pretty.
Three reefs on the main, just a tiny jib up. Everyone harnessed to the boat, no one allowed on deck. We did three hour watches, two people in the cockpit, one below napping.
We learned how to work as a crew together.
And we learned how to use our cruising spinnaker.
While Saucy Sue was a great racer and day sailer, I would not have traveled extensively on the Sue. She just was not a comfortable boat. Moonrise is the perfect coastal cruiser. We took extended trips on Moonrise, with her comfortable cabin and sleeping arrangements and complete galley. She encouraged us to venture further each year. We were soon learning to anchor in places the guidebooks didn’t talk about, until we finally braved the Pacific side of Vancouver Island and Barkley Sound.
Sailing experience is not all we gained for those ‘sunk costs’. We also gained experience working on boats. Moonrise has a lot more to offer her new owners than she did us. We’ve learned how to ‘remodel’ the boat interior, and how to not be too mortified at the idea of cutting into fiberglass and wood. Mike, especially, has really cut his teeth on Moonrise when it comes to working on boat systems and improving them. We know, now, how to have a boat hauled out and how to sand and paint the bottom ourselves.
As hard as it is to look at the tally sheet of expenditures on this boat, how much would it have cost us to have someone teach us these things? How would that even be possible? No, I feel sure that this is money well spent in the end. Sure, we are selling the boat, but we are not selling our experiences, our learning. We get to keep those. And we have the memories of being on this boat together in places we would not have seen otherwise. And those are priceless.