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Saturday, August 8, 2020

What Will Our Next Cruising Adventure Be?

flatbed semi-truck on road taking a boat on the road
Photo pilfered from Cross Country Boat Transport's website

When my future is in flux, I often go quiet. We are far from done with our watery adventures. We plan to cruise—the question is: when, where, and on what?

Cruise to Alaska?
northern lights
Alaska photo from Mckayla Crump mckaylacrump.com on Unsplash.com

Originally, we planned to take Serendipity up to Alaska, leaving this spring. Pre-COVID, we decided we didn't want to chase winter, which going to Alaska would do. We want to chase summer. We felt an immense sense of relief when we decided to not spend 6 months on that round-trip passage. We also are "homesick" for the tropics and the cultural novelty of living outside the US. With COVID cutting off Canadian entry for US vessels, and even Puget Sound until late spring, not making that trip turned out to be a good call.

Plan B: Stay Put. Then?
Columbia River cruising grounds Mt Hood in the background
Columbia River: our late spring through early fall cruising grounds this year.Mt. Hood in the background.

We chose to spend another summer here in the Pacific Northwest, mostly by default. Don't get us wrong: we love summertime anchored off our favorite beach on the Columbia River. Once a week we head into the quaintly quirky small town of St. Helens, Oregon, where I hop in my car and head over to West Marine, where I work to get my social fix (great manager, colleagues, and customers) and support our boating habit. We are exceptionally fortunate: our life is simple enough we're not that affected by COVID.
Landing page link to my author's website, currently a temporary landing page.

I'm slowly continuing to build my editing and writing-coaching business, Editing for Your Purpose, and am working on the first of a two-book memoir, Sailing Naked, due out August 2021.

One of the other reasons I haven't posted much is because I am not sure what to do with this blog, relative to my author's blog and the efforts to build interest in my forthcoming book, Sailing Naked via www.SailingNaked.life. If you know a good, affordable strategist for that, please let me know.

Do The Great Loop and Snowbird South?
Map of 6,000 mile Great American Loop boat route
Great American Loop boating route, liberated from America's Great Loop Cruiser Association website, https://www.greatloop.org/

Only a week ago, we were poised to write a big check to Cross Country Boat Transport to truck our beloved boat, m/v Serendipity, to Minneapolis in mid-September. That would've required Wayne taking a Sawzall to her bridge, carefully slicing it off to lower her height, then securing the bridge to our foredeck. As awful as that sounds, we would hardly be pioneers in this endeavor. 
brown coated monkey on branch
Horrors! Don't sawzall the boat!!! Image from Jamie Houghton on Unsplash.

From there, we would wend our way out to the coast by water, arriving in Florida in December, with a possible cruise to the Bahamas. The following year, we planned to head up the Eastern seaboard, and complete "The Great Loop." If you'd like to learn more about The Loop, check out America's Great Loop: Last Great Adventure from US Harbors and Passagemaker's collection of Great Loop stories and this cheesy but classic Great Loop Guide from Captain John.

Two days before the time came to write the deposit check, we chickened out.
two brown hens
Image from Monica Kubala on Unsplash.


Why?

Do-ability was not the issue. 

Rosie the Riveter – Dictionary.com
Do-ability was not the issue—though we weren't sure we wanted to.
Photo from Dictionary.com

Cross Country Boat Transport's customer service impressed us. Their excellent reputation is well-earned, with over 30 years of service trucking boats cross-country. Wayne even found a local yard here on Portland's Multnomah channel with experience and availability to make it happen if he chose not to take the DIY route for Serendipity's surgery. 

Lack of interest in The Loop was not the issue, and we are itching for a change of venue

We love the Pacific Northwest (especially in summer), but we also love exploring, and the galaxy awaits.
Photo Source: UI here.com

We do want to do The Loop, so that wasn't our reason to back off, either, though ideally, we planned to do The Loop later, and cruise more internationally sooner. Then came COVID. We don't want to spend another gloomy winter living aboard in the Pacific Northwest if we can help it. Last winter we eased that some with housesitting, but because of COVID and reduced travel, there are far fewer opportunities to housesit. 

Cost was definitely a consideration.

fan of 100 U.S. dollar banknotes
Unrecoverable cost for moving our boat, Serendipity, across the country was definitely an issue.
Photo from Alexander Mills Unsplash.

We considered whether or not it made sense to pay what the boat was worth to ship it or to pay less and with "surgery" to bring the cost down, or whether to sell and buy another boat on The Loop.

We figured moving Serendipity would give us some control in an otherwise unpredictable time. 

selective focus photography of deity marionettes
We wanted control in an out-of-control, COVID-crazy world. We know and trust our own boat.
Photo from Sagar Dani of Unsplash.
We know and trust our boat, Serendipity.
  • We'd choose a respected, experienced mover.
  • We'd know where we'd land, and when. 
  • There's plenty of information on the route. 
  • By staying in the US, there would be a lower likelihood our travel would be COVID restricted.
  • Serendipity is perfect a perfect boat for The Loop. 

    Serendipity in 2019 at Princess Louisa Inlet, BC Canada. A more innocent time.

    We trust her. We love her. We've made her comfortable. Wayne's put his heart and soul and a lot of sweat into her, and she shines with his care, as well as the love from our surrogate parents who owned her before us. When we became homeless, Serendipity became home. For more about that, see this story running in 48 North, August 2020, page 26.

    We were concerned we'd get someone else's nightmare. The work we've put into Serendipity is more cosmetic. comfort and maintenance; Serendipity's engine is sound.

    But . . . 

    We didn't anticipate we'd spend more than two years, maximum bouncing between doing The Loop and hanging out in Florida and the Bahamas. Then what?

    Would moving Serendipity be a good move for us financially?

    File:Korean Traffic sign (U-Turn).svg - Wikimedia Commons

    Short-term, there was a big chunk of sunk-cost change we'd swallow: ~$14K to make the move, including prep and post-work yard time on each end.

    Long-term, we believe Serendipity will fetch a better price here in the Pacific Northwest than on the East Coast, either as a cruising boat, a live-aboard, or both. The money saved on not paying to truck Serendipity, plus the income from selling her, could go a long way toward a boat better suited for our longer-term plans.

    No, moving Serendipity would not be the wise move for us financially for our longer-term plans.

    Our longer-term cruising plans

    Wayne's first quote for moving Serendipity without "surgery" came in at ~$24K. At that point, Wayne stumbled over a major fixer—just like s/v Journeythe boat we sailed to Australia—for sale in the Caribbean. With a dead engine, he was willing to offer $5K for Journey's misbegotten twin.  The problem is we didn't know when we'd be able to get to it. Even if we had a trusted friend inspect it, how long would we pay yard fees of $400+/month before we could join it, fix it and move aboard?

    At that price, would it make sense to make that boat our "snowbird" boat, and Serendipity our Pacific Northwest late spring through early fall boat? Chasing winter by cruising spring through fall to Alaska and back on Serendipity was more appealing if we escaped the Pacific Northwest winter. That would still mean storage and maintenance for two boats. We weren't thrilled with that option. 

    tropical overlook Nacula, Fiji Yasawas
    We love cruising the tropics. This was a view from Nacula in Fiji's Yasawas.
    What excited us most about that Caribbean fixer was the ability to cruise the tropics internationally again. Even with COVID, most of the Bahamas are still open to cruisers. Other options include finding a boat in the US Virgin Islands, where we can pay US postage if needed for major or minor boat parts.

    Next: Sell. Then Buy. Unless . . .

    For Sale
    We'll look for someone who can love Serendipity as much as we do, and help us take on our next adventure.
    Photo credit: Nick Youngson www.nyphotographic.com/Alpha Stock Images, found on alphastockimages.com

    We plan to enjoy the rest of this summer and part of this fall aboard Serendipity. Then we'll seek someone to love her as much as we do and her previous owners did. She's a great live-aboard in inland and near-coast cruiser. There's a few more tasks to pretty her up before we're ready to say goodbye to her.

    We are keeping an eye out. While we do want to sell before we buy, for the right price, for the right boat, in the right place, we are willing to buy, then sell.  We wouldn't even rule out selling our boat, just picking a place out East, finding an apartment for the winter, and taking our time finding a boat.

    As of yesterday, we became the back-up offer for another Pearson 365 sailboat in Florida. When we bought Journey, we were the back-up offer.
    Tonight, we found out the other prospective Pearson buyer got cold feet.

    There's much more we still need to learn before we know if this is the right boat at the right price for us. 
    We figure if it works out, it was meant to be. If it doesn't, we'll find out what does, even if that means hopping in our car or on a plane this fall or winter and haunting boatyards. 

    Someday, we do want to do The Loop.

    Earth - Illustration | The earth cropped from space against … | Flickr
    More to explore on this big blue marble we call home.
    Image from Creative Commons Donkey Hotey

    At that point, it will be our Plan A, not a consolation prize.

    We reserve the right to change our plans . . . on all of this.

    Bahamas Banks from our sailboat
    Wayne and I, pausing on the Bahamas Banks aboard s/v Journey.
    Wish us luck.

    Location Location
    At the moment, we're docked at St. Helens, Oregon's public dock (N 45 51.820 W122 47.732)

    6 comments:

    1. Right there with ya, guys. With the added complication that we’re stuck in a country with closed borders, on a boat that needs work we can’t do where we are, and with so much in flux that it’s hard to game out every scenario. I think our boat would sell in Australia but it’s a long way the wrong way, and we’re not allowed there anyway. Good luck with your plans. We’ll keep an eye on you!

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      Replies
      1. Likewise Marce. We've been wondering how you and Jack are doing and sending you our very best karma from afar.

        Please keep us posted as well on your progress, or, as the case may be, transitions.

        Fingers crossed the weirdness abates and our new horizons are ones that make us all happy.

        We're exceptionally fortunate to be in the place that if our current plans work out, it's full steam ahead, If not, we see what does and are in a good position to pivot as needed when the right opportunity arises. It helps to have simple needs.

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    2. Oh I'm so excited. You know what I'm rooting for. :) I know you'll make the best choice for you.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Heya Jordan. Well of course your budget sensitivity and taste in boats is brilliant—or—remarkably similar to our own perspective.

        Let's keep in touch as we may well be in your neck or the woods (or would that be piece of the water) by month's end. Or, later.

        At least the Bahamas are fair game come hurricane season's end from where you are now.


        Fingers crossed things become less weird and more adventurous in a healthy way, soon.

        Warmly,
        Dana (& Wayne)

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    3. While I totally understand your hesitation in parting with Serendipity (esp considering the work you’ve put into her), I’m going to boldly suggest you exit the Columbia, cross the bar, head for the Puget Sound, and put her up for sale. You’ll have far more prospects up there - and no doubt you’ll get a higher price. Then... go back to sailing naked in the tropics!

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    4. Hi Doug.

      Definitely get the merits of that suggestion. There are more buyers with bigger wallets there than in the Portland area, though Portland is still attracting many folks who consider it cheap compared to Seattle or California and come with money.

      However, the biggest reason to not do that is because we currently plan to live aboard up until when we sell and we'd rather live in Portland for that. The boat market is hot enough all over, it wouldn't surprise us if a Seattle buyer would be willing to come down to Portland to buy.

      Heck, we'd deliver it for the right buyer, price and timing.

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