We Bought A Boat
For the last three months, Delaney and I have been looking at sailboats online. After Thanksgiving we started to take our plan of eventually heading to the Caribbean more seriously. At first this really just involved looking online at boat listings. We set a rough estimate on price and length and sorted through boats all over the East Coast. We were having fun just daydreaming of one day, laying on the bow, mojito in hand, with crystal clear warm water surrounding us. A few weeks had gone by of just scrolling online, and we decided, just for fun, that we would go look at a boat in person.
The boat was fairly local, just a half hour south of us and the broker set it up for us to go look at it on our own. It was a 35’ Camper and Nicholson that, at the time of our search, seemed to check a lot of boxes on our wish list. It was a pretty cold day, in the teens, maybe low twenties. We pulled into the parking lot and pulled up right next to the boat. A ladder was set up and after examining the hull, we climbed up and in. The details of the boat aren’t important but what was important was that although we probably weren’t going to buy this boat, we decided we were really, finally going to actually do it. We kind of realized that we were on a boat that was For Sale, and we had intentions of buying. The wheels were finally turning.
Delaney and I have always loved the idea of slightly alternative living situations. We’ve talked in depth about buying or building a tiny home and everything that doing so entails. We just don’t want a future where we own a house way too big for our needs, where we end up filling it with unnecessary junk and wasting our weekends cleaning all those rooms. Even if tiny homes were off the table, a much smaller house would be ideal. We currently are living in an amazing two-story house in Maine and couldn’t ask for a better rental, but often talk about how we never use certain parts of the house
In early December when I went to work after touring the sailboat, I told a few coworkers about the tour I had gone on that weekend. More than one person had responded by asked if we were planning to liveaboard. We honestly hadn’t even considered the idea. I went home and told Delaney the question I had been asked and we kind of just laughed at it a little. It wasn’t until we really started looking at the feasibility of the whole thing that we realized just how right that idea might be for us. We had daydreamed about a lifestyle that included many traits of living onboard a sailboat. We also agreed that this was the right time in our lives to try it out. By living on a boat for at least some portion of the year, we wouldn’t be wasting money on renting an apartment. Additionally, the extra money saved in rent could go directly into the price of the boat.
Once we decided that maybe this was the path we wanted to take, and we were excited to move forward, things started picking up. We looked through basically the entire East Coast sailboat market online, and went and toured two more boats. The fourth boat we toured was our favorite of the bunch so far. It was a 1981 Tartan 42. There is a laundry list of reasons we liked the boat, but essentially, she seemed to be the most fit for living aboard and allowing us to live the life we wanted. It had two private bedrooms (crucial for all of our hosting plans), a really nice layout, and even a half kitchen. Ultimately, she wasn’t a fixer-upper, she was the largest boat we had looked at, and the price was right.
After the tour, we got in the car and neither of us could wipe the smiles off our faces. We hadn’t felt nearly as excited about any other boat. We got home and immediately relayed our interest in the boat to the owner and rattled off as many questions as we could think of. Not only might this be the boat for us but we were finally able to talk with an owner (rather than a broker) that seemed to know and care a lot about his boat. We obviously didn’t put an offer in, but for the next few days we couldn’t get this Tartan out of our minds.
We wanted to know if this was really the boat for us so we kept looking, scrolling through boat post after boat post. We went and toured two more boats around the same size and price as the Tartan, and they didn’t even come close for us. About a month later, we drove 8 hours round trip to go see a boat. Frustrated with so much driving, we realized that the Tartan 42 that we loved so much was not only so much better than these other boats, but it was also only 15 minutes away. We would be working on the boat for months to make it liveaboard worthy and the fact that this boat was local and had the owner right there to ask questions of, made the boat even more enticing to us. So, we made an offer! And two days later, on Valentine’s Day, Delaney and I were popping champaign after signing the contract, and really realized what we had just done.
We are now the owners of a two-bedroom, two-bath, half kitchen, 42’ long, 12 ¼’ wide floating home and couldn’t be happier. This was just a dream for us a few months ago, but Delaney and I are pushing as hard as we can to make things happen, and turn it all into a reality. We are still figuring out the exact logistics behind the next few months but come June, we should be in moored up a river living exactly where we wanted to since we moved to Maine. Right on the water.