This time last year, Jim and I were kicking back in our barko-loungers, each with a nice cold beer in hand, getting ready to ring in the New Year with lots of pomp and circumstance (or was it watch a movie?). I already knew what my New Year’s Resolution was going to be. In fact, I think I told Jim I had decided on OUR resolution…By the end of 2010, we would own our dream boat and enter the next exciting phase of our lives. And in typical Jim fashion, I think he took a swig of his beer and said “Yes Dear”.
Although I am a ‘jump first, fear later’ sort, I approached the task of finding our dream boat quite analytically. I quickly found the best place to dream boat shop. There is a website called yachtworld.com. It is very similar to realtor.com if you’re house shopping. You can feed in all the particulars you want, and it narrows down your options. You can search by make, model, year, price, features, length, etc. I spent the better part of two or three months searching the site trying to find a boat that had everything we wanted for the price we wanted to pay. Somewhere along that time, I rubbed off on Jim and he started searching as well.
I remember we called two brokers in Ft. Lauderdale and went to see some boats for the first time, sometime in March. I remember because my mom spent the month of March with us and she was with us when we saw the first 3 or 4 boats that day. We liked one of them, a 58-foot Hatteras, but it lacked an open cockpit which is something I really was keen on having. I think that day Jim became a Hatteras fan, and started really researching Hatteras boats. Hatteras is renowned for building a great boat. We searched and searched, but just couldn’t find a Hatteras with our ‘must have’ features: a flybridge, a large cockpit, a walk-in engine room, and a galley-up layout.
Over the summer we found a boat that seemed to meet all the important criteria, the 56-foot Ocean Cockpit Motoryacht. There were 3 of them on yachtworld for sale: one in Ft. Lauderdale, one in Virginia, and one near Toronto. We went to see the one in Ft. Lauderdale and liked the overall feel of the boat. We didn’t like that particular one since it had been modified extensively for off-shore fishing and the decor was a little too Vegas for our style (banana yellow leather sofa, purple fabric on the dining chairs and a blue carpet with white stars all over it). But we liked the layout of the boat so we decided to go to Virginia to look at the one there. As soon as we walked into the boat, I knew it was the one. Jim had made me promise to keep my poker face on in front of the seller’s broker, so I tried not to jump up and down while he was around; but as soon as he left to let us check out the boat on our own, I was smiling from ear to ear.
A lot has happened since that first trip to Virginia. The process of buying the boat felt like it took forever. And then getting it ready to make the trip south seemed like another forever. But it’s here now, and we are having a lot of fun getting it all cleaned up and making it ours. I’m guessing by the end of January we’ll be ready to invite our friends to an open house (open boat?).
We spent New Year’s Eve on the boat with Jim’s sons Nick and Brian and Brian’s wife Julie. The boys helped Jim with several things he wanted to accomplish. They got the davit working and lowered the tender so Jim could take it home to work on its motor. They also washed the entire boat and helped him put up some new lights in the engine room. Julie did a bunch of cleaning with me which was really helpful. It will be fun to spend time on the boat with them. I’m looking forward to taking so many people out with us. My mom will be down in February/March and is really looking forward to her maiden voyage. And I want to invite our friends to enjoy some cruises too. Spending time on the water is just so tranquil and relaxing. I just love watching all the pelicans and birds resting or flying or fishing, and seeing dolphin and manatees and all the other incredible creatures we share the water with. And it’s just so nice to feel the sun and wind on you and get all that fresh air and watch the sun go down over the horizon.
Although it has been a LONG process to get this boat, I can’t believe we did it. My New Year’s Resolution this year is simple: to make time to enjoy our boat. And for all our friends and family and everyone else reading this blog, I wish you a New Year of Jump First, Fear Later moments. Life is too short to live any other way.