shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.

Bolger's Advanced Sharpie 29

May 14, 2012

I read the sign as we drove past the realtor's office. They always have cute little sayings. Today's said, "Live as you will wish to have lived."
"I guess that's pretty much what we're doing, huh?" Dave asked.
"Is that what you call it? It seems more like irresponsible chaos to me. You know, completely random and lacking any direction. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why can't we try living a boring life sometime? Just to see how it feels." When I'm nervous I tend to babble.
"You want to back out? We still can." That's my Dave: always giving me a bailout plan.
"Hell, no."
"OK then. Let the randomness continue."

It wasn't really the money that was bothering me (although we were spending more than we could comfortably afford to and still eat with any kind of regularity), it was the complications that buying another boat would cause in our lives. But I guess if our lives were easy, I'd be bored silly.

Dave and Connie and Walküre

A few days earlier, minding my own business, working on a customer's boat, I heard Dave ask, "You want to go look at the inside of the Bolger?" Of course I do. Who wouldn't?

The AS 29 had been in the yard since our work stop here last year, and several times Dave had dragged me to the back part of the boatyard to go look at its exterior. Yes Dear, it's a Bolger Box. Very nice. But since he had recently met the owner, he now had the opportunity to drag me over to look at the inside.

Sitting in the salon, my mind started to wander. I was only half listening to the owner spout her praises. Instead, I was seeing potential. I had already exchanged the hand pump in the galley for a foot pump, changed the color of the curtains, put in a hatch, and redesigned the bimini. It was then that I recognized the tone in the owner's voice; he was in salesman mode. OK, so she was for sale. And apparently, from how he worded a few things, Dave already knew this. As the conversation continued it became obvious that price had even been discussed already.

On our walk back to work Dave asked, "So, what do you think?"
"She's cute. I take it she's for sale? She'd be our perfect shallow water vacation home."
When Dave told me what the owner was asking for her, I put it out of my mind. Yes, cute boat. No, not in our future.

All day I heard about her 14 inches of draft, easily stepped rig, her mizzen that would ease sailing off the anchor, and her gaff rigged mainsail. Finally, Dave suggested that we think about making an offer. We have always had a number in our mind, what we were willing to spend on an adventure. It was the same number whether it was a trailer-able day-sailor that we could tow behind the van on our cross country drive, or a piece of land in Panama. When we took an honest look at our finances, it was also the only number we were allowed. Unfortunately, it was considerably lower than the asking price. I promptly forgot about it; Dave stared at the AS 29 lines in Bolger's Boats with an Open Mind. Finally, Dave suggested we make an offer. We risked offending the owner, but if we didn't at least try we would never forgive ourselves.

We offered, and though we didn't offend him, the owner understandably couldn't accept such a low offer. A few days of counter-offers and countless hours of discussions, staring at the boat plans (and our check book balance) and we finally (barely) agreed on a price. We were all at the extreme limits of our comfort zone. The owner was just barely able to accept the offer that we could just barely afford to make. In all, it brought about a lot of sleepless hours spent staring at the ceiling for everyone involved.

The morning we were going to hand over more cash than we probably could afford to purchase a boat we really didn't need, we passed the realtor's sign. With a deep breath and MUCH trepidation, we followed through with our crazy plan and now own two boats.

I have almost recovered from the shock, and my first thought every morning is no longer "Oh my, what have we done??" (It's now the second or third thing behind "We need to buy/do/make/find...") And I have even allowed myself to get excited about the adventures to come. But what finally tipped the scale for me, what made the excitement and pride in our new boat greater than the fear and uncertainty about our future, was when Dave read me the following description of the AS 29 by Bernard Wolfard in Common Sense Boats:

This boat offers good accommodations in a fast, comfortable, safe, go anywhere boat that is big enough for a couple to live aboard. Both masts are counter weighted in tabernacle for ease of getting under bridges, etc. She is narrow for her length, as are all real sharpies, suggesting excellent performance under sail. The twin kick up bilge boards allow her to sit flat on the bottom during low tide without taking up interior space like a centerboard. The "Captain's Quarters" have a double size berth with adequate hanging locker space. The two settees provide sleeping space for two more. There is a full galley with storage space for extended cruising. There is a hatch forward to simplify sail handling. In addition she has Bolger's signature bow transom for self-draining anchor stowage. She is outboard powered with easy access to the motor from the self-draining cockpit and carries her gas outside of the watertight envelope. She is a true cruising boat, able to take you anywhere you want to go in comfort and style.

What she has done for us right now is complicate our lives, significantly increase our work load, and double our anxiety since we will now have two boats in south Florida in hurricane season. But what she can and will do for us is limitless. We are not abandoning Eurisko, we are just tucking her safely away until we are ready to go where she goes best. But for now, our loyalties are split as we work to get her a good temporary home while we prepare Walküre and ourselves for new adventures. With 14 inches of draft and the ability to go under any bridge with 8 feet of clearance, she can take us places we have reluctantly sailed past before. As for the sleepless nights, well, as Dave always says, "In life, if you're not scared, you're not trying hard enough."

MONDAY we'll talk about knives onboard, including the views of a guest writer from

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