June 16, 2014

Our adventure begins: part I

We have been waaay behind in getting our blog ready for everyone to read.  Now that I have a few moments to reflect back on what we have accomplished since the middle of May, I can update everyone with what has happened so far. This first post will be a long one.  As Bill likes to say, "We are off like a herd of turtles."  That is our typical description of events.

I could see Bill was getting itchy for the sea, and our kayaking adventures, and our 26ft trailerable sailboat, "Second Wind", was not going to satisfy him for much longer.  He has always maintained that once he found the suitable boat, he was ready to become a "live aboard cruiser" again, and since I have enjoyed our other water sports, I'm ready to try this too.

Second Wind, 26ft MacGregor M

Our search for "the boat" began about 4 years ago, and we looked all over the globe, (via the internet) for the one that would fit our requirements and needs.  In the last couple of years, we found sailboats that we wanted to investigate further, and personally visited many.  Last year we found "the one" in Seattle Washington, and began the process to acquire her.  As it turns out the owners were from Fairbanks, and though we didn't know them before, we have become friends.  The push was now on to change our lifestyle. Our chosen vessel is a 1983 Nauticat 43, Denali Rose.  They are made in Finland, and are designed to be used in open ocean, and have an outside steering station, as well as an inside one, 3 cabins (bedrooms), 2 heads (bathroom), 1 galley (kitchen), and 2 settees (seating areas with a table). The boat came complete with wind generator, solar panel, watermaker, and a washer/dryer.

Both of us were employed at the University of Alaska, and Bill retired on May 1st, and I quit on May 9th. Alexa, my daughter, graduated from UAF on May 11th, and we scurried like crazy to load the 27ft trailer with boat and eventual Wrangell needs.  Oh, did I mention, that not only were we leaving Fairbanks behind to live on a boat, but we bought 4 acres on the Southeast Alaska island, Wrangell, and neither of us had ever been there before.  I know, call me crazy.

We took the Wakefield Wagon train on the Alcan Highway, and because we had a deadline to meet with finalizing the boat sale, we drove the highway from Fairbanks to Seattle in four days.  That is not the way to see the scenery, or relax along the way.

Teslin Lake Canada, notice the lake is still frozen.
We arrived Seattle on Sunday night, and pulled into our RV Park.  If you can imagine a Walmart parking lot with the trailers and RVs pulled in for the night, you can picture our park, only without the Walmart. You could almost touch the campers on each side of us.  We met the owners of Denali Rose, Jack and Susan, (who goes by Fred), that evening, and it was like we had always known each other.  All of us had been corresponding the previous winter with questions, answers, suggestions, and photos, and we just had to meet in person to complete the friendship.
Our red truck, and our cozy neighbors.

Starting Monday morning and through the next week, we had the boat hauled out of the water so the surveyor could assess the boat, (engineer's report), and had an expert come and check on the rigging and masts.  (Rigging: those wires that hold the mast up. Mast: those tall metal posts that hold the sails.)

We completed our purchase on Thursday, and moved all of our 26 rubbermaid tubs full of worldly possessions onboard, as well as had a wonderful time learning about our new home from Jack and Fred.

Shipshape: A boat is said to be shipshape when every object that is likely to contribute to the easy handling of the vessel or the comfort of the crew has been put in a place from which it cannot be retrieved in less than 30 minutes. 

We had our life raft professionally repacked, they also put in new supplies, and gave us our indoctrination into how to deploy it if it ever became needed.  It's something you hope you never have to see again, but if you do, then everything is ready.

Winslow Life Raft

We drove our wagon train to Anacortes and arranged temporary storage, While there, Jack and Fred graciously gave us all of their spare boating supplies, and we filled our rubbermaid tubs back up with equipment, and stored them in the trailer.  We (of course) had to eat at our favorite place to celebrate, Dad's Diner.  Jack drove us back to Seattle, where we got onboard our boat and prepared to leave via water instead of land.

The northwest Nauticat owners get-together once a year, and as it turned out, the event was happening that weekend.  Jack came with us, while Fred drove her car, and we went to the rendezvous in Port Ludlow on Friday.  So between Wednesday May 14, and the following Friday May 23, we have driven to Seattle, bought a boat, put all of our stuff onboard, made multitude trips to the store, provisioned with food and stuff, and are now leaving to take up our new life.  It was quite the whirlwind.

Jack and Fred are famous in the Nauticat world, and as Denali Rose arrived, many people came over to our slip to welcome them to the rendezvous.  When we are in a port, this is a common occurrence for us now.  We always get "Hey Denali Rose, Jack and Fred!"  I usually come out on deck and say "Yes, Denali Rose, but now it's Bill and Donna!"  This leads to meeting new friends.
Denali Rose, second from left, in Port Ludlow

After a fun weekend getting to know other Nauticat owners, we said our goodbyes to Jack and Fred, as they said goodbye to their trusty vessel, (a few tears on both of our parts), and we motored off to begin our journey north.
              Bill is grinning, happy to be back aboard.  I took this photo in bed with my morning coffee, the first morning, "I live on a boat."

Our first stop was Port Townsend.  We were having our sails assessed, and repaired at Carol Haase's Sail Loft. After assessment, we had Denali Rose measured for a new set, so that when we are ready to purchase new sails, the sail loft will have all the details they need to make them.  Port Townsend is a very cute town, and they call themselves, the capital of wooden boats.  We saw many beautiful boats, and we were there when a salvage company pulled Captain Vancouver's anchor up out of the Sound.

We put our repaired sails back on and left for our next port of call, Anacortes.  We stayed in Cap Sante Marina, ate at Dad's Diner everyday, and did more work on Denali Rose.  We installed kayak racks, put in a new windlass, (electric winch to pull in chain and pull up the anchor), and new chain, had all of the running rigging replaced, (ropes that handle the sails), and installed the new navigation and radar systems.  We also unloaded (again) the rubbermaid tubs into the many storage compartments.

We drove the Wakefield Wagon train to my brother's house in Woodinville WA, where he is storing it in his backyard for now.  My niece took us back to Anacortes, and we became true "live-a-boards".

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a whirlwind! But I like it. I feel like our own story has dragged out for years, which it actually has. Our blog will be 5 years old in October and we still are not liveaboards. That should happen within a few months, though. I think you guys did it right. Just do it all at once and get her done! Beautiful boat, too.


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