It’s All Part of the Process

Mike and I need to stop perseverating and just calm ourselves down. Maybe a few Quaaludes would help, or large quantities of alcohol. I have some sleeping pills, but they give me a massive headache. That won’t work. But basically if we don’t find some kind of mind numbing drug substitute, we’re going to be spending the next week talking each other off the ledge continuously. Our sea trial and survey is a week from Wednesday.

Her pretty stern.

Her pretty stern. Is she going to look less like the incredible hulk when we get this cover off of her?

I wish when we made the offer on Flying Gull we hadn’t needed to be in such a hurry. I mean, we haven’t even seen this boat without the huge canvas cover on her.  I just hate the feeling of being rushed in these big life decisions, and yet we felt compelled to not let this boat fall from our grasp without trying. The fact that it turned out to not be quite the crisis we thought it was only rubs salt in that wound. On the other hand, maybe we needed a little shot in the behind to get moving. I mean there is no way that we would be getting to have a sea trial on Flying Gull, or even see her without her clothes on, without having made an offer of a long term commitment. It feels a little like an unsettled engagement. So you see how we roll lately.

I guess we are doing the thing that all people do when struck by lightning; things like making sure all of our faculties are still intact. But we’re also overloading with information about this boat and boats like this boat. Our brains feel like they are literally on fire. We look at other boats on Yachtworld, looking for what we could get if this one falls through. Some of them look pretty good, but none have the charm of Flying Gull.

The wheel in the cockpit. I wonder if we could put engine controls back here somehow.

The wheel in the cockpit. I wonder if we could put engine controls back here somehow.

We’ve talked yet again to Peter Kaiser, who owns S/V Awab, the sister ship to this one. We’ve asked him so many questions about how he handles his boat and what kinds of situations give him pause. He is a wealth of information and very kind to talk to us for so long. He bought Awab when he was a complete novice in terms of large boats, so that gives us a little hope. He is clear that this is a big, heavy boat and that this causes problems in certain situations. He is clear that this is not a boat that is easy to take out sailing for 3 hours in the evening. We will not be in and out of the slip in less than 15 minutes like we are with Moonrise.  He is clear that to really appreciate this kind of boat, you need to live on it. But he is also clear that he loves his boat better than any other boat he’s ever seen and that all of these things are worth it.

One thing Peter told us was that he had some pretty squirrely adventures with Awab until he sprung for an $11,000 bowthruster. And this solved all the problems he was having with handling! Wow. I’m afraid I almost hit one of those ledges I’ve been talking about. The fear began talking to me again. It goes something like this: ‘This boat is too big. We weren’t really looking for a boat this big. No one can dock this thing alone. The engine controls are only in the wheelhouse, not in the cockpit. You can’t get out of the wheelhouse very fast. But we really love this boat, damn this boat is beautiful. ‘  You can see why we are all over the bipolar spectrum.

S/V Awab, built 18 years later than Flying Gull, for the same owner, using the same plans. The owner wanted this boat slightly longer and beamier. She also carries 3 sails to Flying Gull's 4.

S/V Awab, built 18 years later than Flying Gull, for the same owner, using the same plans. The owner wanted this boat slightly longer and beamier. She also carries 3 sails to Flying Gull’s 4. Photo courtesy of

We figure that the test sail is going to be the make it or break it moment for our relationship with this boat. It’s a huge gamble for us, and also for the owner who flew up to handle this sale, not to mention the broker wanting to close the deal. So not being able to be sure until the test sail is tantamount to not being sure you won’t jilt the groom at the alter. And yet, that’s better than a bad divorce two years later. No pressure, though, right? So we heave a lot of big sighs, talk each other off the ledge, find something to distract ourselves, and take solace in the fact that we have hired one of the very best surveyors. In the quiet moments, we both already feel connected to the boat. Logic and the heart move closer together. But the test sail looms. If it’s a stormy day, you can blame us because we pray for wind.

Enough already about boats. Tonight there will be DVD’s to watch! Just say ‘yes!’ to comedy when drugs are not available. By the end of this month, we will have a new boat. Or we won’t. I  guarantee that one of those two things will happen. I guess it’s all part of the process.

Click on the monkey’s fist to read others bloggers on this topic.

The Monkey's Fist

14 thoughts on “It’s All Part of the Process

  1. Deep breaths! Lots of big, slow deep breaths. After your initial 20 minutes or so of panic as you get her out of the slip, you will relax a little. Once you get the sails up and trimmed, you will relax even more. Then is it easy- either you love the ways she feels underway or you don’t. If she feels good, all of her idiosyncrasies will just become something to learn about and get comfy with. If she doesn’t feel good, you know what to do- walk away.

    I was on board with purchasing the boat Mark preferred until we sailed her. I HATED the way she felt underway. Yes, we had paid for a survey and sea trial but that was a bargain compared to buying the wrong boat.

    Trust yourselves. If a smile spreads across both of your faces once you are underway you know what the right answer is. If it doesn’t, well worst case is you will probably have learned a lot more about your preferences. No education is ever free but the knowledge you take away is invaluable.

    Fingers crossed for you both!

    • That’s it exactly! As usual, you nail it. I am glad to know that someone had the experience of having to walk away after a test sail. Clearly, we doubt that’s going to happen. And we certainly don’t WANT it to happen! But we just know it COULD happen, and yes, it’s better than buying the wrong boat. What was the boat that felt wrong for you? Now you have me curious as heck. If this story is on your blog, I want to see it.

      • We actually walked away from 2 other boats. Mark fell in love with a Morgan 44 center cockpit. That was the one I hated the feel of. I also did not love the interior of the boat but was willing to go along because mark really thought there was a lot of potential for just about gutting the whole thing and coming up with a more usable design. (Like getting rid of the bathtub in the master cabin- A BATHTUB instead of storage.)

        I think the story of my loved boat is on the blog. I’ll dig it up. I fell in love with a little IP 35. Survey, sea trial and in the end I couldn’t let Mark buy a boat he didn’t love.

        • Ah, the Morgan I can understand. It really depends on the individual vessel. We’ve seen some that were not well kept and were very dated. It’s interesting to me that there are some boats that look good on paper, have all the amenities on the checklist, but then you see the boat in person and there’s just no chemistry. Nada. Now, I’ve always been a fan of how the Island Packet’s look. I did read that post on your blog, but it was Mark who wasn’t thrilled with it. Well, I am holding out a lot of hope for Flying Gull. And by the way, in terms of bathtubs (something I will surely miss from my land life) the Gull has a very deep shower pan in the master head. I’m already thinking of what I would need to do to somehow make an extension where I could have a sitting tub. Sometimes nothing but a bath will do. You see how I think, here. I want it all.

    • This is so exciting! I second the “feeling underway”. Sundowner sails GREAT in my opinion. Heavy, stable and just feels wonderful while sailing. Over to Orange Beach when we sailed for about 8 hours on the same tack we fell in love with her even more. You could go down below and be comfortable, the deck was comfy. It was magic.

      I have been on other boat that I didn’t like as much.

      GOOD luck with the survey. You know you were saying one thing how one person couldn’t dock the boat by themselves. While that’s probably true without a bow thruster, you have to ask yourself if that one minor inconvenience is worth not getting the boat. There are always concessions we have to make. It is a big boat yes. You already know you can’t take it out for an afternoon sail alone so can probably make provisions to have the one you want.

      She’s a beauty AND you could go sailing with your whole dang family. Your two kids..Their Sig Others (if they get married) then grandkids maybe..or their friends. Certainly you could have many adventures on there.

      I really like the naval aspect of this boat. It was built tough. I can’t WAIT to hear what ya’ll do.

      Hell maybe you’ll love this boat so much you’ll sell or rent your house and just move totally onto her.

      • Well, Dani, you think like we do for sure. The lack of a bow thruster would not keep us from buying her. I’ve already begun researching what would be the best way to approach a bow thruster , but we would want to just learn to sail her first anyhow, and see how she acts in different conditions. One of the best things right now is that she is actually moored in Lake Union, so we get to learn how to get her in and out of a difficult, but cheap, slip, going really slow, and not having to deal with salt water currents. I love the naval aspect of this boat, too. And when you look under the berths, for instance, you see the navy grey paint still there. It’s very probably that we will like it so much that it will push us to get out of the house, rent or sell, and move aboard sooner rather than later. That would be just fine with me!

    • Yes, we’ve seen those pages and we continue to pour over them. This boat would be completely awesome in the south pacific. Yep, it’s on our bucket list! We’d love to go sooner rather than later. Maybe this boat will help make it happen. Thank you for reading and for posting!

  2. Great reading about your anticipation. Reminds me when we somewhat impulsively decided to step up from our Islander 28 to a Formosa 51 liveaboard. Probably one of the most exciting time in my life! We did it – learned a lot, never regretted it. There have been a couple boats since the big boat years now but it’s all part of living life! Looking forward to the next chapter of your story, with Flying Gull or another…

    • Thank you, Trevor! It’s so helpful to read about other people who took the ‘big boat’ plunge and didn’t regret it. That’s very encouraging and we appreciate it!

    • Thanks Trevor. If the survey proves out, we will get over our anxiety about handling the boat by just doing it. I remember when we were first learning to take Moonrise in and out of her slip, after our Catalina 27, she felt like a such a big ship. I checked out out your blog, and see that you keep your Taswell 43 on Lake Washington. Melissa and I were just commenting on how great it will be to sail on Lake Washington while we are moored in Lake Union.

  3. She’s a beautiful big boat, i’m in love with her from the other side of the world. And totally jealous you have the opportunity to buy her, a boat like that is not an option for us. So buy her for all of us poor boaties that can’t!

    I can’t really add any advice that hasn’t already been given so far, I agree with all of it and am keeping my fingers crossed she passes survey and sea trial with flying colours.

    I echo Dani’s thoughts, I think you’ll love being aboard her so much you’ll want to live on her, and she looks made for it! Best of luck guys 🙂

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