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The Purchase

 

It’s 2010, and Julie turns her head towards me and says, “I don’t want a sail boat.”

We were discussing long term voyaging, an idea that I could not let go of.   We often picked up this thread, only to put it down again unresolved.  “OK” I thought to myself,  “now we are getting somewhere”  a decision made,,, Progress!   I am a sailor at heart and always will be.  However, I love the Sea, and by-any-means which takes me there.  If Julie was willing to go cruising in a powerboat, then a powerboat it shall be.  I started looking around, digging through the Internet and ordering books.  I also decided to investigate a boat I had seen once before, recalling the name Nordhavn.

I remember being at work in the North Sea and discovering a website dedicated to Nordhavn yachts called Nordhavn Dreamers…   I had arrived.    I signed up September 10th, 2010  and every single day since then, I have tuned into the ND site in one way or another.  Fast-forward a few months and I had learned a lot,  literally pouring out Nordhavn statistics to my wife.  We decided to go look at a few boats in real life.  January 8th, 2011 was a miserable Seattle day that turned golden when Don Kohlmann showed us around an N40, N43, N47, and two N62’s.  When Julie saw the N62,  she said  – and I quote   “I would sell the house for one of these.”

During the next 18 months we took a run at two N62’s,  ‘Giraffe’  and  ‘Pendana’,  with guidance from Jeff Merrill.  Jeff is a very patient man,  and I owe him a beer or two.   Both boats were sold from under our feet because we did not have the cash to buy;  we simply were not ready.  After losing Pendana we finally understood what we needed to do.  That week, we started remodeling our house to sell.  Our existing boat was already on the market.  During that time I read every single thing I could about Nordhavns, trawlers, and boat building, amassing a small library of information.  I kept an Excel spreadsheet on every N62 ever made and I could account for almost all of them.   I was obsessed.

My Dad and his wife Joan flew out to Vancouver to spend some time with us.  Naturally, we went boating.  We wanted to show Joan what all the fuss was about.  We were in Pender Harbour at the time, and I was recounting to Dad and Joan the plans we had – to sell our home, buy a Nordhavn 62, and sail the world  [God willing].

 

My Dad and Joan join us on Gratitude, for a few days in Pender Harbour

My Dad and Joan join us on Gratitude, for a few days in Pender Harbour

My Dad and Joan join us on Gratitude, for a few days in Pender Harbour

 

Not ten minutes later, a Nordhavn 62 named Copper Raven steamed right passed us.  Really? – is this happening?!   “That’s it!  That’s it!  Thats the freakin’ boat I’m talking about!!”  Right away Julie asked me which boat it was because I know them all.   Well,,, it looks like I don’t know them all, ’cause there are only two Canadian registered 62’s,  (‘Fleet’  &  ‘Giraffe’)  and this isn’t one of them.   I needed to know more.

Copper Raven went around the corner and into Garden Bay.  I said “Let’s go find the boat – we can have dinner at the restaurant overlooking the Bay”   Well, we found her, and there she was looking truly magnificent.   All night we talked about the N62 in front of us, and everything it represented.  The next morning I checked-out of the marina and moved our boat to the Garden Bay anchorage so we could be closer to it.  We decided to row the dinghy over to get some shots of the boat, and hopefully, the opportunity to meet the owner.   For two days we remained anchored in Garden Bay with no luck—no owner sighting.  On day three it was time to ready our vessel for departure back to North Van.   Julie said, “Let’s take Harley for a walk.  We’ll have one more try with the Nordhavn.”   Indeed, why not?

 

There she is!  Endless possibilities,,, infinite dreams

There she is! Endless possibilities,,, infinite dreams

There she is! Endless possibilities,,, infinite dreams

 

This is going to be the readers digest version here, but long story short, Julie broke the ice with the owner and we were invited for a tour.  Pinch-me-now!  The vessel had everything we wanted on our Nordhavn 62 wish list.  Wet exhaust, double Stidd helm chairs, undivided pilot house, ideal stateroom layouts, and all the machinery I would have spec’d myself.  It was perfect.  All except for one trivial detail—the boat was not for sale.  We chatted for the longest time, and came to understand each other’s story.  We thanked him, leaving with the parting shot…”remember, if you ever think of selling…”

On the way back to North Van I could not think or talk about anything else.  We were all pretty excited, even Dad and Joan shared our enthusiasm.  When we arrived home that night I left a Facebook message for the owner saying it was a pleasure to meet him, thanking him for the tour, and to please, please remember to call if he was ever thinking of selling.  Early the next day I had to take my Dad and Joan to the airport;  so it was late morning when I got back and checked my email for the first time that day.  I had a message from the owner.   My eyes widened.  Only two words were written:  “Call me”   I showed Julie and she just looked at me and replied, “Call him,,, now!”

He said he had been thinking long and hard all night and had come to a decision.  He also pointed out that once he makes a decision, it’s final.  He said  “Andy, I want to sell Copper Raven, and I want to sell it to you and Julie.  The price is ($yadda-yadda$).  I want 20% down, right now, and I’ll give you six months to pay the balance.  I’ll have my lawyer draw up a contract.”  Without hesitation I immediately replied.  “You have a deal!!!  Consider this a legally binding verbal contract.”   I thanked him, put the phone down, and looked at Julie.  “Babe, we have just bought our Nordhavn 62!”

 

Turns out the owner bought the boat for the same reasons we all buy Nordhavn 62’s…to cross oceans and dream big!  The owner’s wife however, did not share the same passion.  I believe he came to terms with that fact the day he saw Julie and I together on his boat, grinning ear-to-ear, openly excited about our future on a boat like his.   Hello!  back to reality.  Where were we going to find that kind of cash?   We didn’t have it, so I called our Bank Manager to ask for the money.  After she was done laughing, she suggested using equity in the house. “Okay, let’s do it” I said.   She countered that the house had to be appraised first.  “Okay, can you get someone out here this afternoon?”  I asked.  Although she probably thought we were nuts, she managed to arrange an appraisal for the next day.  Two weeks later we handed over a huge non-refundable cheque, and signed a legally binding contract.  There was no going back now.  We had six months to sell the house AND our boat, or we would not be able to fund the balance payment…and say good-bye to the deposit.   No pressure.

Then work called. They needed me back offshore but there was just no way, there was way too much to do, so I asked for more time at home.  To say the next few months were difficult would be an understatement of epic proportions.  We were showing the house daily and the place had to be immaculate.  Every morning we were mowing lawns, cutting hedges, cleaning the pool, sweeping the deck, vacuuming, polishing, painting, etc.  Multiple lowball offers were followed by an accepted offer, which the buyer later pulled out of last minute.  It was an emotional rollercoaster as we watched the Vancouver real estate market plunge.  I figure we were losing 15% of our anticipated profit, every week the house remained on the market.

Now we were in trouble.  It was mid September 2012, the leaves were falling off the trees, and it was getting cold!  Our house shows best as a ‘summer home’ and we needed to sell right-a-freakin-way!  We decided to get ahead of the market, rather than chase it down further, so we dropped the price aggressively.  A day later we have five offers.  All lowball of course, but we chose one that suited us best.  Here’s the deal though, the purchasers wanted to take possession at the end of the month—ten days time.  Julie and I looked at each other, “Yeah we can do that” …we had sold our Home!

What do you do with 30 years of stuff?  Get yourself a storage unit…a big one.  We had no time to dilly-dally.  Our mantra became “grab a few things, stuff them in a box, label the box, repeat.”  This was our routine for the next week.  As soon as we had a truckload, we would run the boxes down to the Unit.  It didn’t take long for the 20′ x 10′ storage unit to be crammed to capacity.  We were forced to make hundreds of on-the-spot decisions, but we have no regrets.

 

hmm, about two thirds full

hmm, about two thirds full

hmm, about two thirds full

 

Our house may have been sold but we still had far to go.  Our existing boat was still in our ownership and we needed it gone.  After two years on the declining boat market, we had no choice but to get aggressive with the sale price of that too. (**wince**)  Coincidently, the local Fall Boat Show was about to start and we were able to book a slip.  Julie and I manned the boat for the five days.  We had several offers but each fell through as the following weeks progressed (each a story in itself…perhaps another time).  One offer was particularly low but apparently the buyer was committed to purchase.  Julie and I discussed it.   We accepted the offer, and the boat was sold!

We took a hit selling both the house and the boat.  The cash freed up from both sales (everything we had worked for in the last 30 years) should have been more than enough to purchase the boat, but it wasn’t.  : (      We dug deep; deeper than any enterprise we had ever taken on before.  Julie was an absolute star through all of this, and created leverage for the shortfall.  I was impressed…again.  So with three separate cheques in hand, we met the owner of the boat at the Ships Registry office in Vancouver, and purchased our new Nordhavn.

 

Exactly 82 days after seeing the boat for the very first time, she was ours!   A dream come true.

 

Thanks Jay, I love you!   :  )

 

 

it’s ours!      [Nov. 9th, 2012]

it's ours!

it’s ours!

 

we did it!

we did it!

 

 

 

Update:  March, 2014

Well,,, our plans have changed somewhat since we started cruising in INFINITY.  The original plan was to devoid ourselves of every asset & material possession, and with the proceeds go cruising virtually full time.  (There was always the notion that I would pop back-into work to keep my hand in the industry)  Well anyway, the plan was actually working but in March 2014, we ended up buying an apartment (we call it a ‘Condo’) in North Vancouver.  Yes, after 2 full years in the active pursuit of purging ourselves of any-&-all attachments to shore life, we go & set a firm anchor ashore.  Believe me, the irony has not escaped me  ;  )

I’ll back up a bit.  Once we had made the firm decision to sell our home, we planned for an interim period.  We figured there would be several years in-between selling our home and finding the “right” boat, so we put a deposit down on a new-build apartment, which was 3-4 years away from possession.  [ Now insert the bit where INFINITY comes to us! ]  So, we purchase our dreamboat, move aboard, and begin our new lifestyle.   Two years later I’m in Indonesia working, (February 2014), and I get this email saying your apartment is ready, can you please pay us now.  (??)  Splitting the atom would have been easier, but after a month of negotiations, Julie and I flew to Vancouver and closed the deal.  So, this changes nothing, and it changes everything.  Changes nothing in that our goal to circumnavigate around God’s blue earth remains intact, but it has changed the way we originally planned to do it.  Our pace will slow down a bit as I continue to work to finance everything, but that is all.  In hindsight, We feel blessed for these fortunate circumstances, and we’re walking on cloud-nine the way things have worked out.  Julie now has a place to call home (other than the boat) and it will stand us in good stead when we eventually hand INFINITY over to her new care-takers.

I shudder at the thought.

    5 Comments

  1. Awesome story…thank you for sharing it. I had a similar, albeit less expensive experiences with my wife buying an Airstream trailer and our new home. Sometimes you have to be bold and go for it. We only have so many opportunities in this life….get busy living or get busy dying. We truly enjoy your blog and Facebook page….hopefully my wife and I will have our own boat and bump into you two someday in some lovely harbor somewhere. Til then…I will be signing onto Nordhavn’s site three times a day and updating my Excel spreadsheets as well (thank god I am not the only one who does this!)

  2. Probably the universe at work here. Our story is developing and seems to be following the same patterns. Obsession with Nordhavns and how do we make this work? I believe my husband forwarded your story to simply say, “see dear, my obsession with Nordhavns is not crazy” ” closing up shop” on land and becoming ” cruisers” is possible!
    Kevin has been obsessed and it seems his every waking hour in semi retirement is focused on cruising and Nordhavns. Funny thing is, I’m getting the bug and just yesterday I carefully clipped out the photo of one I loved at the Seattle boat show and said “how can we make this work?”

  3. Eric / Deidre, Thank for your welcome comments : )
    This Nordhavn / Cruising obsession can certainly get to you,,, but what a wonderful life it is turning out to be for us though. It occurred to me just last night, as I make loose plans for the next few destinations ahead,,, Sea-of-Cortez, Hawaii, Line Islands (Fanning Island, Kiribati, etc) – isn’t it great to be thinking about these destinations, and be surrounded by the allure and magic that they promise… It wasn’t too long that I was consumed by miserable weather, household chores, & fighting traffic running errands, etc. Just the difference in mental energy alone seems worth the effort.
    Eric – it sure would be great to share an anchorage with you guys one day.
    Deidre – what boat (make/model) has captured you?

  4. Andy and Julie! Thank you SO much for sharing your “nuts, bolts, and dreams” path to purchasing “Infinity.” I’m a Nordhavn Dreamer as well and have enjoyed your journey from afar. Both of you are such an inspiration to many of us Dreamers. No doubt you have inspired someone to take the plunge and follow their heart, maybe lots of someones! You just never know how many lives you touch and the positive impact you have on the world.

    My husband, John, has just spent the last couple of hours with his big snowblower taking a lap around the neighborhood to clear sidewalks and driveways of the 7″ of snow that fell last night. I look forward to the day when we can spend our time clearing off sand from the deck of our Nordhavn!

    Warm regards…

    Patti

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