Tuesday, July 27

Ensure you can insure

Before you buy a boat, call a marine insurance company. Ask them this simple question, "Do I have to be Neptune, god of all the seas, to get insurance from you?" You will find that 99% of the time the answer will be yes. Keep calling companies until someone says no. These calls will save you time later on in the process.

I learned again that when you play with other people's money (and other people's liability) you play by their rules. The bank told me that I needed to have insurance within 10 days of signing the papers. No problem. After all it only took me half an hour to get car insurance! Besides, I had a survey done, I had everything on the survey fixed, I had it re-surveyed... what more could I need? Oh right, experience... And a fiberglass boat... And somewhere to live other than the boat... And a smaller boat. As it turns out, no one wants to insure a first time boat owner when they are buying a 48' 1964 wood boat to live on.

Here's the part that bugs me... they say I have no experience "with boats of this size." And, I haven't taken USCG safety or navigation courses. And, I don't know what it takes to maintain a boat like this. (Hold on while I put on my ego hat.) Along with learning to sail when I was young, and racing a 27 ft sail boat, and operating a few other random pleasure boats, I have navigated and piloted a 580' long 40' beam 40' draft submarine, through a 500 ft wide channel. I have been officer of the deck of a 16,000-TON boat, by myself at midnight in a huge storm in the Pacific Ocean. I have been in charge of the operation and maintenance of a nuclear reactor. If I can't figure out how to pump my own shit tanks on a regular basis, or seal up a leak in the hull, or apply paint and varnish on a regular basis, or how to be careful when piloting a 3.5 ft draft boat, or how to ASK FOR HELP WHEN I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING then I don't deserve to live. Or get insurance. RRRRRR. Frustration. None of that counted for anything. Now if only the sub had been wood!

So on day nine I got insurance. I had called every marine insurance company I could find. And when they turned me down, I called every marine insurance broker those companies recommended. Finally it was Robinson, Maurer, and Welts of Seattle, WA who came through for me. Thank you. I think my policy is though Lloyds of London; the company that insures everything. They even insure models' hands and boobs and the like for a billion dollars or whatever. And apparently they are willing to take a huge risk on my $60,000 boat.

The moral of the story is... Ensure you can get insured before you buy a boat. Or be Neptune, and buy a 22 ft Bayliner.


Wednesday, July 21

Now what?

Now the work begins! Actually, the work began last week, before the sale was completely final. As previously blogged, Tom got started on the sanding during the week, and then I went to Kingston over the weekend to help out a bit. Yes, some of the "helping" involved buying rugs for the salon and plants for the forward stateroom. But! Some of the helping also involved sanding and painting. For those in doubt (DAD), see below for proof that not only did I sand, but I even let Tom take a picture of me doing so (I'm usually not very keen on being photographed).

We can do it! Posted by Hello

Before I launch into this next paragraph, a disclaimer: I am a competent woman who is not afraid to learn new skills, even if they have nothing to do with fashion or cosmetics. That said, here's a secret: sanding with an electric sander is a lot like ironing. Don't press too hard or stay in one spot too long, or you'll burn the clothes (sand down to bare wood). On the other hand, don't just zip past an area or the fabric will stay wrinkled (you won't rough up the surface enough). And when it comes to the entire painting process  - well, that's a lot like painting your toenails. First buff (sand)  to even out any rough spots. Then, use a thin base coat to cover up any imperfections. Paint in layers to keep the paint coverage even, and keep in mind that globs of paint and brush marks look bad.  As much as you may want to touch the paint to see if it's dry, resist temptation or you'll get little fingerprints on everything and ruin it all.

If only painting the boat really was like painting my tootsies. One Wednesday evening of watching reality TV, and we'd be done!
And now, the pics you came to see: 

Tom and Duncan on the bow Posted by Hello


Duncan, working hard Posted by Hello

- Jessi

Tuesday, July 20

It's final!

It's final!  It's final!  It's final!  It's final!
Yay!  It actually happened.  It's mine!  I never thought I'd see the day.  The deal is done!  It's final!
Did I mention it's final?
I own a damn boat.  Now what? 

Thursday, July 15

Sea Change

Tom's asked me to post, since he's been carrying the torch on this blog lately. Of course, he's also been in the midst of the boat-buying action, while I'm still up here on San Juan Island doing field work. However, yesterday we were fogged in (again) and I decided it would be a great time to learn how to post pictures to this blog (hopefully my advisor doesn't read this, because it also would have been a great time to process some data... ) I've noticed blogs with pictures are more reader-friendly. I won't think too hard about the implications of that.

Anyway. It's actually quite easy to put up pictures, so I thought the first thing I'd do is put up a pic of the boat:

Sea Change Posted by Hello

Sea Change is the name we've decided on! Her old name was Lady Lanor, which we weren't too thrilled about. Yes, yes, I know it's bad luck to rename a boat, but according to superstition if you repaint the entire boat a new color, you are allowed to rename it without consequences. So there. I'll blog more on how we chose the name later. For now, I'm signing off. I've also noticed that short blogs are more reader-friendly. Again, not something I'll dwell on...

Wednesday, July 14

I'm moved

Well, I guess the boat is moved. I'm moving.

Saturday, the seller, my buddy "Brooklyn Frankie," and I moved the boat from it's previous slip in Seattle, to my new temporary slip in Kingston. Along the way the owner taught me how to burn the shit out of my hands (otherwise known as anchoring), and how to pull in and out of the slip. It was quite a learning experience. From working on the sub, I'm used to tugs pushing the boat to the pier... Now I have to do it all myself. During the landing I found I was way more afraid of hitting the boat next to me than I was of hitting the pier, which made me pull in too close to the pier many times, only to be bounced away again and again. Eventually I got the hang of it and am ready to practice some more. I didn't break anything! Yet! The whole anchoring/burning of hands debacle leads to another tidbit of knowledge. Buy gloves. I was letting the anchor rode out while practicing anchoring, and it started running away from me as the boat was backing up. I got it under control, and noticed there was blood all over the anchor rode... and my hand. I got two pea sized burns, deeper than any I've seen before (you can see layers of skin and gooey stuff), one on my palm and one on my finger. Yay.


I'm closing on the boat today. It will officially be mine. Yes. All I have to do is get to Seattle by 4pm and it'll be mine. Oh, and write a big check too.

So much to talk about.

I've started sanding. And taping. Getting ready to make the boat beautiful again. My favorite part is the blue painters tape. If you just start sanding the boat down, the boat just looks ugly. People walk by and think, "What a piece of crap." But... if they see blue tape on it, they all know that it's in the process of being made better. Blue tape is my "effort indicator." In fact, when the boat is done, if I don't like the way it looks, I'll just leave the blue tape on there so people think I'm still working on it...

Jessi and I will spend our first weekend on the boat this weekend. And, oh by the way, we'll be celebrating 6 months together.

Soon to come, stories about yacht club people.

Bated breath.


Wednesday, July 7

My dog ate my homework

That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Actually, I've been busy and stressed, and that's why I haven't written recently. A lot has happened since I last spoke with you all, so to keep you awake, I'll try to be brief.

The bank looked at the survey and told me they wouldn't fund me until all the items on the survey marked "Required for continued safe operation of the vessel" had been fixed. Booo! I guess another tidbit of knowledge I've gained is , when you play with other people's money, you play by their rules. So, even though many of the items marked "Required for continued safe operation of the vessel" weren't actually required for continued safe operation of the vessel, I had to fix them all to get the money.

Larry, the seller, is a great guy (and wanting money brings out the best in people), so in order to sell the boat he agreed to help me fix the items. And when I say "help me fix things" what I mean is, he did all the work and I watched and learned and lent a helping hand when I could. See, he's a general contractor and has been in the boat world for a million years, and I'm a fool, so the arrangement worked out well. He put a lot of time and money into it, I put a lot of money into it, and now the items are fixed and the bank is gonna give me the loan. In fact, the yacht broker just called, as I was typing, to tell me he's sending THE FINAL PAPERWORK (dramatic music) over to the bank as we speak. We should be closing on the boat shortly... Perhaps a few days!!! Holy crap now it's really real!

So, as THE day approaches I am realizing I have no idea what I'm doing. Earlier, it just seemed funny that this boat is twice the size of any pleasure craft I've operated in the past, and that mooring and anchoring were gonna be "learning experiences." But, in the last few days I've had these vivid daydreams where I just don't have a clue what is going on (some people call these vivid daydreams "reality.") Now, I was on a sub for 3 years, and piloted that thing plenty of times. Never really had an issue, and it's over 12 times the size of my new boat... but it also comes with a highly trained crew of 130+, plus other officers who DO know what is going on. Now it is just me and Jessi, and 48 feet feels like a lot. But we like adventure, and what's the worst thing that could happen?!? (Other than crashing into other boats, bursting into flames, losing my boat and a whole bunch of others, while severely damaging the property of the marina. Other than that...)

And that's just me being nervous about operating the boat.

Also ahead of me is the task of repainting the whole thing. That's a lot of wood to cover with thick liquid. Not to mention maintaining it - making sure the diesels run, the shower works, etc. Watching Larry work on the boat made me think "I can do this" one second and "What the hell was I thinking" the next. But, what does make me smile is the thought of the satisfaction I will get from putting a lot of myself into this boat, and then stepping back and saying "I did it!" (Everyone say "awwwww.")

While helping Larry fix up the boat, I gleaned a few more tidbits of boating knowledge to share.

1) Never underestimate a project. It is never a case of "disconnecting a few hoses, unplugging it and replacing it with a new one."

2) Never stop hitting it with a hammer until it starts working.

3) When you can't physically swing a hammer anymore, cut it out with a Milwaukee Sawzall brand destruction device and then buy and install a new one.

Hopefully I will meet success if I follow all my own tidbits.