Winter is Over!

After what seemed a never-ending rainy season, I was finally able to get Irene out of her slip.  One of the most exhilarating feelings in the world is peering outside your window to see the sun shining, minimal wind, and zero white caps.  That’s when you fire up the engines, get everyone aboard and head out the channel to make new memories.

Stay tuned for pictures from the family’s visit……

The Hunt

Everyone is a hunter of some sort, whether it be for wild game, love, cheap thrills or hidden treasures. Some hunting seasons last a few days, weeks or months.  Its never recommended to hunt by yourself, so I asked two people to help me:  Mark Miner and Chuck Monark.  My 16-month season started in January of 2014 with a 41′ Canoe Cove, named Reality Cheque. Not knowing what to look for in a boat, I could only focus on the 1970’s pink head.  Everyone kept bringing me back to the leaking ports, but I was convinced that as long as I could replace that head, everything would be fine.  Several sleepless nights later, I finally determined that I could live with the head and went forward with the sea trial.  The engines were turned over and billowing smoke filled the harbor.  Once cleared, Mark, Chuck and I took off down the channel only to lose steering just inside the entrance of the harbor.  Needless to say, I had my own reality check.

I immediately realized I had a lot to learn and immersed myself into yachtworld.com..  I knew I wanted a trawler, but then I found tugs, hundreds of tugs. Chuck and I headed off to the Pacific Northwest to scout out the Lord Nelson Victory Tug (37′ and 41′), gander at the Ranger and the Nordic as well as the CHB, and Grand Banks trawlers.  Well, we went back to the PNW three times to check out the Lord Nelson and four times for the Grand Banks. Three sea trials and two survey’s later I had found what I thought was the perfect boat; a 42′ Grand Banks, named Blue Moon. When it came down to the final hour, the buyer wouldn’t budge on the repair allowance so we had to say “no”.  Emotionally drained, I took at least a month off of hunting.  In despair, I took a run at a 42′ Hatteras in the Bay Area in hopes of bringing my season to a close.  After going through the sea trial and survey, we found out that this would be more of a project before it became a home.

In the midst of all that, Mark had his eye on a Grand Banks 42 out of Portland Oregon.  After numerous discussions, he finally convinced Chuck and I that it was worth going to Oregon to take a look at her.  M/V Spirit was beautifully kept in a boat shed for 20 years, teak decks meticulous, engine room immaculate and an owner that was in in love with her.  We did a short sea trial, haul out for the props and within a month she was mine.  Since I had to work, Chuck, my Mother, and two good friends, Les and Danny brought her down the coast.

I have been living aboard her since July and just couldn’t be happier. She’s roomy, tons of storage, center line queen bed in the master state room, low engine hours, new canvas, with a fairly new dinghy and electric davit system.  The instruments are up to date; she purrs like a kitten and sips fuel.  The hunt is over and I haven’t look or even peaked at yachtworld in months.

M/V Spirit is now called M/V Irene, which means Peace and is also the name of my late Grandmother, Irene Louise Lindvall.  Big thanks to Mark and Chuck who made this possible and all my family and friends who went on the emotional roller coaster rides with me.

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11 Holiday Gift Ideas for that Special Boater in Your Life

Your friend Billie lives on a boat and after days of on-line and store-to-store shopping, you finally found the perfect gift. At last years holiday gathering, you anxiously watched Billie unwrap the 18″x24″ abstract painting that you thought would fit perfectly on wall of Billie’s boat.  Billie was elated, but when October and November rolled around the painting was nowhere to be found. Before you know it, another year has gone by and you have to restart the painful process of finding that perfect gift for Billie.

So where do you start? Here’s a starter list that will cover a range of budgets, boating lifestyles and tastes. If you have more ideas to add to the list, please feel free to do so.

https://www.gcaptain.com (sailing gear and no the “g” does not stand for Geli)

https://www.rei.com (during the winter/rainy months remember that fleece is a sailors best friend)

https://westmarine.com (things always break on boats, west marine gift certificates are the best)

https://www.BevMo.com (there are never enough Libations!)

https://athleta.com (for that Yoga Sailor)

https://itunes.com (a gift certificate for the music lover and avid reader)

https://amazon.com (gift certificate for the non-apple avid readers)

https://steineroptics.com (outrageously cool binoculars)

https://nauticalscout.com (for that delivery captain that is always in need of a stow away coffee pot)

https://barkbox.com (a big thanks to my sister for turning me on to this, a dog lovers best friend)

…and if you’re still in doubt give Bille Non-Stick, every single boater needs Non-Stick.

Being in the Moment

A common perception is that being at sea, particularly night watch equates to the “feeling” of being alone. It can be quite the opposite, as it was the first time I felt “whole”.

These are the questions I’m typically asked: “Why? What is it? Do you get bored? What do you do on night watch? How fast do you go? Do you have access to the internet?” Well, besides pouring yourself a piping hot cup of coffee, you have to simultaneously ensure everything is in working order, plot and maintain course, watch for boats, oil rigs, rocks, etc, as well as any changes in the weather and sea state. It is not a one time check list as you continually do these things during your watch. Watch is serious, as your crew is depending on you to not only make headway, but to do it safely. Special thanks and appreciation if you can do all that without disturbing anyone’s sleep.

Night watch can be 3-4 hour shifts and I believe that these hours of the wee morning are “yours”. It’s a time to fully appreciate the beauty of the moon, the stars, the sounds of the wind and the waves. It’s a time to reflect on where you have been, what you may have been, and what you still yearn to become. It’s a time to reconcile regrets and make new commitments. The ocean, just as life, brings both feelings of euphoria and hysteria. It is a time to untether from Facebook and be in the moment, utilize all your senses, and be at peace with who you are. In summary, it is magical. If you have the fortune to have this experience with those you love, it’s priceless.

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