Well, the trip was a success. After spending the better part of the day up in Semiahmoo surveying the boat with the original owner, I’ve decided to go through with the purchase. The price is right and I have until September to come up with a plan to get her back down into Seattle. I will probably store her on stands out of the water while I get her ready for the next season. It’s not only cheaper this way but it’s also a chance to make sure that the hull and rudder is completely sound. There is plenty of work to be done so not having her in water right away will be fine by me. There is plenty of replacement to be done with all of the canvas and potentially some hardware replacements but I have even more time to get the basic upgrades started. I will also spend a great deal of time on the interior getting it cleaned and install new electrical and mechanical components that would prepare her for long distance, self-sustaining voyages. First and foremost though is getting her down to Seattle and that alone will not be easy. We decided not to wait any longer than September due to generally good weather. I will need to pull her from the water, clean the last 3 or 4 years of algae and barnacles and then repaint the hull before sailing her down the sound back home. The owner says the sails and sheets are fine and the rigging should be okay but I’m not one hundred percent confident about it. It’s not a big deal though since I could head down anytime this summer and start getting the standing rigging adjusted and then start checking all of the running rigging to make sure it’s all capable of taking force. Now I just need to start figuring out how to come up with the payment. It’s not sitting in the bank unfortunately but it’s also not a huge amount of money so a short-term load should suffice until either a bonus or some extra money comes around. Even if I end up having to make monthly payments, it’s only for a year. Even then I should have enough money left over to start doing the upgrades. The good news is that I have a boat worth much more than he’s asking and I am the only person he cares to sell it to. Now for the journey of planning the upgrades. I decided to buy a book to learn a little bit about offshore sailing so I recruited the help of Beth Leonard and her book “The Voyager’s Handbook:The Essential Guide to Bluewater Cruising“. With any luck it will get my head further into the planning obsession that has begun.

Hello world!

Sailing in the sound around 2001
Sailing in the sound around 2001

Something quite amazing has happened to me recently. Someone I have known a very long time, quite possibly 25 years decided it was time to let his beloved ship go. I first learned about his boat possibly 10 years ago. It’s really tough to say because I never had a long discussion about it. All I knew was he is a sailor and has always had a sailboat. He might be who inspired me to want to sail but even then it’s tough to say.

Recently I’ve been really considering why I am living in a cottage rental with chickens, a dog and a garden in Seattle. I’ve put my time in as a software engineer and to be quite honest, I feel that I’ve come a long way. I knew that it was a natural strength of mine about 10 years ago but the real honest time I’ve invested has only really been in the last 7 years and the real pursuit has only been 5 years. 5 years of working hard to learn what it’s like to be a modern software engineer. I’ve climbed the ranks from basically a website maker, designer and hacker to what now my most recent title has given rank as an architect. Am I a real architect? Well, that’s tough to say. It doesn’t matter really. Right now I feel like a real software guy who solves big problems and is deep in the community in Seattle. I’ve come a long way.

Getting back to sailing now…. I have been thinking about my dream. My stepdad once told me that there is a difference between a dream and a plan. A dream is ambition with no means to getting there. A plan is ambition with all of the hard work to accomplish your dream. My dream has always been to sail across the Pacific, perhaps around the world. There is something very related to both climbing and exploring mountains and sailing. Perhaps it’s fear of the unknown, the freedom and solitude or maybe it’s the simplicity of it. Yvon Chouinard once said it’s easy to live a complicated life but difficult to live simply. I think this is true as a software engineer in Seattle. Maybe the appeal is getting back to living simply and letting go of that fear.

Tomorrow morning I’m driving north to meet with my long time friend of the family to talk about buying his boat. It’s a 32′ Westsail that he’s been living in since 2001 and although it probably needs some modernizations, I imagine that it’s been taken good care of and could potentially be the one I choose to realize this dream. I know, putting together a blog and writing posts is kind of jumping the gun. Well, so is spending every second of every day researching Westsail 32s and passage making since I learned about this boat becoming available to me. I just wanted to be prepared for tomorrow. I want to have a plan to realize this dream and this is my first chance of making it a reality. I’m not worried about affording the boat. It may take a year to pay off the purchase but somehow I doubt it. If I really want to live on this thing and sail the oceans I need more than just the boat. I will need to save for the time while I’m away and start doing all of the upgrades. I’ll need to live simply.

The funny thing about this whole thing is that I remember hoping that I could buy his boat a couple of years ago. I knew he started thinking about the idea of selling it but I had no idea when or even how much. They are still usually around $50k used and that’s way more than I can afford. I had an email conversation about Satori a while back because I remembered that name in sailing lore. Satori was known as the boat that survived the perfect storm and she apparently washed up on a beach in New Jersey but the owner did the repairs and she’s still sailing to this day. This Satori has only been around the Pacific but up and down the coast from Alaska to the South Pacific. Several other Westsails are still out in the deep blue making some passages and enabling folks to live in a 32′ boat without worrying about how she handles it. Apparently they do just fine with their massive displacement and well designed hull. After all of the research I’ve done, I’m confident that Satori would do just fine as long as I make sure she’s damn ready before I try.

Okay, off to bed. I have a big day tomorrow and with any luck, a plan to bring her back to Seattle this summer and start working on getting her ready for the great voyage.