Turning a corner, or a page or a new leaf

If you read my last post, you know that our 30’ Islander isn’t the best fit for us.  She’s lovely, but old and needs more work to handle than we (than I) am capable of.

Rick bought the Susurrus (Latin for ‘whisper’) at a time when he needed something to do.  The Great Recession had forced us to sell all our fun toys and there wasn’t a lot of extra money but Rick isn’t the kind of guy to sit around watching TV all day.  He’s a lot like his mom that way.  She doesn’t sit still either and everyone she knows have the beautiful quilts, towels, pillowcases and clothing to prove it!

Here’s a photo of Rick’s mom and our kid, Andrew, with the quilt she made him in 2010.

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But the Susurrus also had sails that needed to be manually hoisted and it was a little small for the amount of travel we wanted to do.  If Rick was going to be serious about making her exactly what we needed, he’d have to spend money on rigging, sails, and the like and it would still be a little small.  4 people could ride with us but would be in the way every time we maneuvered.

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Ingrid and Ron up on the cabin and, I think that’s Ruth in the white coat.  I think there were 7 of us on this trip.

Rick started looking for a replacement boat.  It had to be:

  • comfortable for us to live on for awhile
  • large enough for guests
  • easy to manage so guests didn’t have to be roped into being our crew, although they have to be willing to be roped in
  • able to do coastal cruising
  • not ruined by previous owners
  • cheap

‘Cheap’ was probably the number one requirement, oh wait, ‘not ruined’ had to be number one!  You would be horrified if you saw the things people did to a once-upon-a-time fine-looking boat!

Rick began checking all the on-line boat-for-sale websites, doing his research.  We went to local boat shows and visited boats that were for sale.

People will post photos of their boat that are cockeyed and fuzzy.  Sometimes they’ll post 1 lousy photo, just 1 photo?!?  We went to a boat and the owner had torn out the couch and stuck a double-bed in its place and hacked out a built-in cabinet so he could put in a full size fridge!  He basically turned it into a house-boat and it was uuugly.   We couldn’t tell any of that from the photos, of course. BECAUSE THEY WERE FUZZY!

Here’s a photo of an item someone is selling on Craigslist.  All of their photos are this fuzzy…

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Rick’s research consists of all the usual for-sale websites and boat shows, plus owner-forums.  That way he finds out that if a particular kind of boat has problems with water leakage around the windows, which engines last forever, etc.

At one of the boat shows held in February, Rick saw a 34’ Marine Trader named Ms Maggie that pushed all his buttons.  Right size, right layout inside (location of all the facilities), great condition, but a little more than he wanted to pay plus, there was another big reason not to buy a boat yet…

We had to sell the Susurrus first.  I really felt guilty about that.  You don’t know how much Rick talked about sailing around the world, from the time we first began learning how to sail while he was in college!

We had some grand times with our friends, the Gantts.  We rented sailboats in San Diego’s Mission Bay, playing catch across the water.  And we had these huge water cannons that we’d chase each other with!  Ah, yes, the fun we had pre-kids 😉

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Friends since high school!

Rick posted a ton of photos online and after a few months, a lot of phone calls, a few lookie-loos, and a sale-cancelled-by-cold-feet, another Richard called and asked to see her.

Richard loved the Susurrus and bought her after a test-run up the Alameda Estuary.  That was in August.

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This is Richard looking jaunty as the new captain of the Susurrus!

Rick and Richard also went out once again so that Richard could learn all the quirks that the Susurrus had – engine ‘walk’, outboard not centered, outboard on the ‘wrong’ side of the rudder – and how to get in and out of the boat slip with those quirks, too.  Richard was an ace at it!  He was so enthusiastic about buying the Susurrus that we didn’t feel quite so sad about selling her.

I didn’t feel sad, really, more melancholy that I couldn’t quite seem to be as enamored of sailing as Rick wanted me to be…but I tried, truly I did!

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That’s a photo of our other son, Austin, captaining a 40′(ish) sailboat we rented years and years ago.

Rick kept looking for the right boat, always holding Ms Maggie up as the ideal.  We kept looking at boats and Rick kept thinking about Ms Maggie.  Rick didn’t want to pay so much, though, so he put that thought aside.  He kept looking at boats that cost less and needed work, they needed lots of work.  People ignore maintenance for so long it becomes a huge effort to do the work.  Whether its refinishing the wood or replacing a broken whatever, its like some sort of mental spiral and they need an ‘intervention’ to stop letting the boat slide down into disrepair.

It’s a sliding scale: cost vs condition, right?  Cost goes up as the required repairs go down.  That’s true with almost everything.

We’ve seen some boats at the Alameda Fortman Marina that haven’t moved in years.  Why are they still there?  Why are the owners paying slip fees and not just selling the thing or dumping it?  It’s a puzzle.  Maybe elderly parents can’t sail anymore but the kids don’t have the heart sell it out from under them?  Maybe its cheaper to pay slip fees than it is to dump it?  I dunno.  If you know, let me know…

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So sad…makes no sense to me.

Finally, Rick realized he didn’t want to have another boat that needed quite the level of extensive work like the Susurrus had required.  The Susurrus was a mess, remember?  He didn’t want to spend time, money and energy fixing stuff already rundown.

Here are a couple photos of the Susurrus before Rick got his capable hands on her:006019

 

 

 

 

 

The outside woodwork on the Susurrus was stained PURPLE!  Seriously, some people…

And here are a couple of her afterwards:

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The cushions were made for us by Cindy Trupski, she is one genius sew-and-sew.  And that gorgeous pillow is by Rick’s mom, Jan.

So…we bought Ms Maggie…a full year after seeing her for the first time!   I’ll give more info on that whole process soon.

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I suppose I need to rename this blog “Tales from the Dark Side” since most sailors will be horrified that we switched to a ‘stinkpot’

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2 responses to “Turning a corner, or a page or a new leaf

  1. Love your blog, Rick and Holly! I’m proud of you two! Looking forward to our next boat ride! Love Ya!

    Mom and Dad

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