Matt has been working hard on the boat…and I am not very good with the technical lingo. So, we are switching to video for now.
Our boat was finally at its temporary home in Pleasant Valley, MD. What now?
That’s where it got real.
Matt and I jumped on to the boat and started with the first thing we could think of and that was cleaning the 20 years of grime off of the boat. We started to see the white underneath. The cleaning was so satisfactory to me for my first mission on the boat. One, I know how to clean and, two, I can measure progress when cleaning. I really feel as my loving husband gifted me that task to calm some of the “My Goodness We Have A 40 Foot Boat” anxiety I was experiencing.
Next up, was HGTV’s Chip Wade’s favorite day, “Demo Day!”. It was time to start gutting the interior of the boat. More and more started to pile up on the ground outside. It was unbelievable. Each day I stopped by Matt had pulled more out of that boat.
Here are pictures of us loading it up for the dump. Thanks to our friend, Kyle, for the trailer loan. We got it loaded in one trip thank goodness. (At the present time the pile of trash has grown back.)
Again, I could see the progress. It was exciting to see Matt going into this project with so much gusto and seeing that it was moving forward.
Next thing we tackled was to take every last fitting off the deck. This is a two person job because someone has to hold the wrench above deck while someone uses another wrench below deck to unscrew it (otherwise it would just spin in place.) This included a 200lb crane the previous owner had installed on the foredeck. (He said it was to be used for hauling treasures he found off the seabed.) This required a lot of cutting with the grinder.
Any fitting that was rusted or we couldn’t unbolt was cut with a grinder. I think Matt enjoyed using that.
Then we took off the toe rails by undoing the bolts below deck, and the ones that were stuck…cut off with a grinder. Again, Matt got to use the grinder.
The deck was then full of holes, so, we erected tarps to cover the whole boat. (And I still fight these infernal tarps every month as they break off or rub holes in themselves. Every time I have to fix a tarp I dream of having a storage shed *barn* that would hold the boat.)
We didn’t have long to panic. Matt gets a call within a week. The tree situation was taken care of in NJ and now, the movers are getting the boat. I’m at work fretting. Staring at my phone waiting for the news. I leave straight away and head to my parents. Every time I see a truck or tractor trailer or wide load sign I hold my breath and look to see if it is “the boat”. It isn’t , and trust me, I was holding my breath a lot on my 270 commute.
I get there and the boat is still about an hour away. Finally, Matt gets a call and goes out to meet the truck at the town of Brownsville about 2 miles away (I drive a couple hundred yards down the road so the driver can park and look at driveway before pulling in). He leads the way. I see Matt pull in the drive and no truck. He has the driver, who wanted to scope it out. Fully confident in a very reassuring way, the driver is ready to go back and get the truck. I anxiously await. Finally, it turns in!
It is a regular pickup with a fancy trailer. (It’s a super duty pickup with dual rear wheels and a hydraulic trailer which allows us to unload the boat without a crane. When using a service like this make sure they have insurance). The driver coasts in, breezes up the driveway and expertly backs the boat into place. (The top of the boat does hit branches the whole way in but I tell Cleason that it’s not hurting it any since it will have to be sanded and painted anyway). He works the hydraulics and lowers the boat. It was beautiful watching him and Matt set up the stands for the boat.
This man knew what he was doing. Thank you, Cleason. I got to talk to him as he worked. Apparently, people get boats and put them in the middle of farms more often than I thought. He has been shipping ships for quite a while and gave me some advice and tips on what to look for as we rehab our boat. He was also thoroughly impressed at Matt’s (and my) undertaking this project. Cleason also admitted he had not been sailing, however, it will be my goal to get him on this boat once it is restored. I think the total makeover, will have him curious enough to join us.
The excitement and nerves began to build as we got closer to a moving date. Matt drove up to NJ with promises that he would send me messages to keep me updated on our boats progress to its new temporary home at my parents house.
Matt: “I’m waiting on the movers”
Matt: “There is a really big tree in the way. Can’t move boat out of the development. They will call someone to remove the tree.”
Me: A tree? …. “how big is this boat”
Matt: “They can’t move the boat today. We are rescheduling for after they take care of the tree.”
(I spent hours that morning trying to work out a way to get the boat out with the crew moving it. They figured that it must have been a smaller trailer that got the boat in there originally. The tree in question would have to be removed. I waited there for a few more hours until a cherry picker came to remove it. By this time it is too late to load up the boat, the crew left. Assured that there would be no more issues, I paid for the boat and headed home.)
Disappointment and fear began to set in. After the seeing that a tree had to be removed in NJ, back at my parents house, Matt continually looked at the driveway. He would go back out with my Dad and check where the septic lines are, he made calls and looked at my favorite pine trees that line the lane (and have done so for my entire life). He said to me, do you think we can trim them? Horrified, I started looking up videos of boats being moved.
It can’t be that big.. can it?
Look at the boat in person.
I got a text from Matt.
Apparently, after asking his wife, he drove to NJ and looked at the boat in person.
Check the motor.
He put down a deposit so a mechanic could clean up the engine before it was started. (We needed to see it running since it had sat for a while. The engine had been sitting for more than a decade.) A week later and Matt showed me video of the engine running.
He asks, “are we ready to commit?”. YES.
We then needed to find a trucker to ship the boat. 40 foot boats just can’t be trailered with the Xterra. We posted the plan on a couple websites where truckers give us a price and we can pick. I had no idea there were websites that did this.
We accepted an offer at 2k.
Find time to oversee the moving of our boat!
**The red markings in the above post are the Matt’s “corrections” and additions.
We want a boat that is large enough to live (and have visitors) on, but small enough for two people or even one person to handle. We think the best range for this is around 35-40 feet. Over the past year we browsed online sites and visited boat shows in Annapolis. (Spent hours per week scanning and re-scanning used boat sited such as sailboatlistings.com and boattrader.com. Sailboatlistings has a nice feature that lets you search the site based on age, length, cost, etc. Also Ebay and craigslist can have a good variety. My criteria is a boat under 10K that has a solid hull and decent engine.)
The first option is to keep the boat a marina that lets you work on it (not all marinas allow this). But this would require a long commute or moving somewhere closer to the boat, both of which came up in conversations. The second option, which came up later, turned out to be the best by far. I suggest to Matt that we could keep it at my parent’s house. There is plenty of open, flat ground and it is less than 30 minutes away. Better than the 2 hour drive to the Annapolis area.
Matt asked if we can go talk to my dad. I tell him it’s okay, of course my parents would let us have the boat on their property while he fixes it up. He decided he needed to ask in person. Next thing I know, I drive up my parents lane with my Dad and Matt walking around the property scoping out the best location. Dad said he wanted the boat close enough to run electric when we are working on it and within sight so he can make sure it is safe.
Since we had my parent’s encouragement, Matt and I went boat shopping. We decided we needed to look at different 40 foot boats and decide what we really want. We drove to one near the marina our Catalina has called home this season. That is when I realized that 40 foot boats look huge out of water!
That boat is for sale for $20k. However, the boat really didn’t need a lot of work. It was what House Hunter’s couples would call “dated”.
We then drove to Baltimore. That is where we got bit by biting flies and walked every slip until the last one to discover the boat we came to see. It was at the very end of the slip where the small waves made quite a ruckus and sounded 10 times bigger than they actually were when they hit the jetty. The owner, a nice woman, met us and gave us the tour. She had bought the boat (40 foot, center cockpit) with intentions to have it renovated. However, the guy renovating stopped. The woman put it for sale, $17k. It was in need of gutting, the interior which was incomplete needed to be completely pulled out and redone. The beautiful part of the boat was the pristine engine. Matt said that the engine was worth most of what you would pay for the boat.
Matt and I tired from our walk trying to find the right slip
I haven’t been completely honest…. Matt showed me a boat we both loved in New Jersey. We looked through the photos. It is the boat we want. Everything else we compare to that boat. The boat will float, but is blank inside. I compare it to an unfinished basement. The best part, the boat is a steal at 10k. (Matt negotiated 9k.) We will only be limited by our imagination.
**The red text is Matt’s additions and “corrections”.
This story could start a few years ago or nine years ago.
Nine years ago was when I met Matt. We lived a different kind of life on water; he was a raft guide and I worked in the shop. That is when he saw my love for the beach and traveled to North Carolina’s Outer Banks with me. It’s when I devised my plan to backpack through Europe and soon he decided to join me on my adventure. To quote Winnie the Pooh, “I knew when I met you adventure was going to happen.”
Fast forward a few years, and Matt and I were living together in Lovettesville, Virginia. One day we went with our housemate to Annapolis to rent one of those Sunfish sailboats. We had a blast, soaked up the sun and talked about how nice it was. We wondered why we didn’t do it more often. A few months later I was at work and saw a text message from Matt. He said “going to Ohio. Be home late.” I wondered what could be in Ohio and sent him a message asking if I would be happy with his trip. He replied, “yes.” The next morning I got up to go to work and there was a 22-foot Catalina sailboat in our yard!
Our time spent with our first boat was incredible. We trailered the boat to Sandy Point State Park and figured it out. We’d snag crab pots, lose the wind, and had no working motor at times, but we were loving life. That 22-foot Catalina in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay is where my boyfriend proposed and became my fiancé.
Now we’ve been married almost a year and have had many memorable and beautiful (and a few scary) trips on the Catalina. Matt has painted it, sanded it, added lighting and a radio. He has made this boat his own. He rebuilt the motor. We love it, I named it “Special Sam.” This boat is our first and holds a place in our hearts. Now, we are selling it.
Why? Because we need a bigger boat.
We have discussed how much we love being on the water. Both of us grew up spending our summers on the shore. His summers were in LBI, mine were in OBX. When we are on the boat it just feels right, so we have decided we will buy a 40-foot sailboat. Matt (with my assistance) will rehab it and we will have a boat that we can not only live on but also a boat we can make a life on.
It is our next adventure.