I feel like we’ve just given birth, such has been the waiting, watching and anticipating and anxiety-ridden stress of the last two weeks. And the eating! Lord, can you say ‘stress eating’? But the gestation period, which took about the same amount of time as gestating an elephant, is over. The new ‘baby’, a big blue girl named Andromeda, is finally here. Or, rather, she is in Astoria, Oregon. There are some loose ends to tie up with the financing and paperwork, but that is going smoothly after a day of difficulty when we feared the contractions had stopped, causing a day of major ‘freak out’ and frantic Facebook posting. Unless something catastrophic happens now, things should be pretty straight forward from now on, and we can soon call her our own. And because we have a backup plan in case the bank does a 180 on us, it’s just going to happen.
Just Her Statistics
1975 47 foot Olympic Adventure ketch, major refit in 1987
Designer: Ted Brewer
Builder: Olympic Marine, Greece
In the recent past when I was scouring Yachtworld on an almost-daily basis, I came across the listing for this boat and was immediately smitten by the turquoise color of her hull and by name of the boat, which was listed as ‘Aquarius’ (This was the wrong name because, FYI, lots of Yachtworld listings are just copy/paste jobs of previous listings for the same vessel. Grrr.). I liked that name and our boat, Moonrise, has the astrological symbol for ‘Aquarius’ on either side of the moon on her hull, something I thought was a nice synchronicity. Alas, in those days we did not think we were in the position to buy, and she was out of our price range, anyhow. We could look, but we could not touch. Still, her layout and sail plan were perfect so I bookmarked her page and checked back occasionally to see if the price had been lowered. Very soon there was a ‘sale pending’ on the listing. So I just moved on.
Months passed and we languished in our attempts to sell Moonrise. Discouraged, we pretty much stopped looking at boats. We were convinced we had to sell Moonrise first. Personally, I was pretty tired of the whole thing; tired of being on the roller coaster, and actually tired of looking at boats that we couldn’t buy. If you have been reading our blog for awhile, you’ll know that we considered just taking our Cal 34 to Mexico and calling it good. We didn’t want to do that, we really did not. But I was coming to terms with it because it seemed like the only way. We were not looking outside the box, to coin a phrase.
Then, two weeks ago, Andromeda’s owner, John, saw our ad and emailed me that he had a boat he thought might work for us. Would we be interested? I looked at the photos and realized it was the same boat that had been listed as S/V Aquarius; the very one that had been sold before. The sale had fallen through when the engine was found to have water in the oil. John had removed the listing from the brokerage and was selling it himself. He said this would be a good opportunity for us to get the boat at a lower price because he was going to have to pull the engine. When, exactly, do owners actually say that? We agreed and made an appointment to go see it the following weekend.
All four of us piled into the car to make the trip to Astoria. I felt amazingly calm because I was at the point where I knew it would either be the right boat or it wouldn’t and besides, we couldn’t afford moorage for another boat so we were probably wasting our time. Mike was fully prepared to dislike the boat, for it to be too big, for it to feel ungainly. But even as our thoughts kept coming up with reasons why it was silly to even look at this boat, it was already uncanny how things were coming together. Moorage in Astoria is cheaper than dirt. We could afford to pay for an entire year of moorage at a time, making that payment a non-issue and giving us more time to sell Moonrise if necessary. Moonrise is fully paid for, so other than moorage, we won’t have any expenses for her for awhile. Our ‘in the box’ thinking began to unravel.
When we first saw Andromeda, I was so relieved that she actually looked just like her photographs. She is the same color of turquoise blue and I love it! We stepped on board and went over every inch of the deck and cockpit. I put off going below until I had a good feel for what was up top. Able to see the bow from a seated position at the wheel? Check! Cockpit fully nap-able? Check! Great winches, excellent sails with easy reefing systems? Check! Windlass that works? Check! Then I went below and checked out the interior. My decision was made.
Meanwhile Mike was doing his own tour of the boat and having fascinating conversations with boat owner, John. It took almost no time at all for us to be of one mind that this was definitely our boat and we would simply find a way for it to work. Andrew and Claire both gave it the ‘thumbs up’ and all of us really liked the owner of the boat, John. He’s just a great, honorable guy, an avid sailor, and has taken really good care of this boat. We hope to remain friends with him. Bonus!
So what is it about this boat that made us decide right away to buy it? Only this: it pretty much has every single thing we said we wanted, with only a minor exception or two; easily remedied. Let’s make this easy. Here’s a partial equipment list.
Center cockpit, with bottom sider cushions with covers
Hard dodger, with viewing window and windshield wipers
Full cockpit enclosure
Ketch rig with removable inner forestay
9.5 oz main and mizzen sails in excellent shape
Lofran electric windlass with remote
Muir stern anchor windlass with wash down
65 lb Bruce anchor w/300′ of high tensile 3/8″ chain
23 lb Fortress with 40′ chain and 250′ 1/2″ rode
Stainless steel swim grid with fixed swim ladder
Custom stainless heavy duty davits with self tailing winches
24 mile Furuno radar, older, but it works
Kenwood SSB radio and tuner with insulated back stay
New Raymarine below decks autopilot
Two solar panels with new charger/controller
Excellent non-skid on deck with intuitive hand holds
Stanchions are hip height and sturdy
Lazy jacks and sail covers on main and mizzen
Mast steps. Mike has already been up the mast.
Liferaft. This needs inspection and repacking. Don’t know if it’s good.
And then, you know how I feel about comfort below:
Amazing head room. The current owner is 6’4″ and he stands tall in the boat.
Plenty of opening ports and hatches, including one right above the galley.
Three staterooms. THREE! One triple, one double, one single.
Large marine fridge/freezer space. (We have to replace the unit on this.)
Fresh and salt water pumps
Hot water (14 gallons)
Diesel cabin heater
Two heads (Actually, I did not care about this, but I’ll take it.)
A full stand up shower (Again, who cares? But I’ll take it.)
An engine ROOM. That’s right! Mike is so happy it’s kind of pitiful.
A WORKSHOP! Right outside the engine room doors. OMG!
A comfortable salon
Good storage pretty much everywhere
Is there work to be done? Of course! Much has already been done on this boat, but there are enough projects to keep us busy for awhile. The hull, deck, masts, and other expensive things are in sound condition. John has already removed the old engine (by himself!) and the engine room is ready to be cleaned, prepped and painted. Mike will be rewiring much of the boat because he’s kind of a wiring geek and a little persnickity that way. He wants it done to his standards. The boat had a serious refit in 1987, including that pretty blue color, but that’s still long ago, so systems need to be updated.
And, of course, there will be a new engine. We’ve been putting money aside in the boat kitty and have been able to save enough to buy the engine. Right now we are researching the best deal on an engine because we need a signed ‘intent to purchase’ contract in order for our bank financing to work. We’ll hire someone down in Astoria to help us put it in, but Mike still has to choose his poison: Beta Marine or Yanmar? He’s researching the heck out of it.
Literally the only thing I was disappointed about in this boat has to do with the settee in the salon. I have a vision of a seating area that includes a deep settee and comfortable pillows. I want the equivalent of a comfy sofa in a boat we will live on. When we first saw the boat, I assumed the table dropped down and that you could create a large double berth in the main cabin, but such is not the case. This disappointed me, but I am going to work with it. I have some ideas about how I can keep this table, which is really beautiful and versatile, and create a wider settee with the comfortable pillows I envision. Oh, I will eventually have my cake and eat it, too. That’s way down on the list, however, about the time I replace cushions.
So, one giant leap forward with the plan. We are excited and also have moments of being overwhelmed with the thought of owning this kind of boat. She is just so very different from our little Cal 34; so much boat! But we absolutely love Astoria and are going to completely enjoy spending weekends down there at the mouth of the Columbia River. I foresee us doing everything we can to spend longer weekends down there. Change is in the air!
If you want to see more photos of the boat, go to the Picasa Album I made just for our readers.