Or Captain Anxiety and the First Test
This isn't what I thought our first few days of boat ownership would be like. The excitement of searching for and finding the perfect-for-us boat, negotiating the price, getting confirmation through the survey and sea trial that she was indeed the vessel we thought she was, and ultimately wiring the money and closing the deal, was supposed to be followed by a great satisfaction, fulfillment, joy.
I suppose in all fairness, we did get to be excited for about half a day. That was before tropical depression 9 became Tropical Storm Isaias with a probable trajectory headed right for Born Again! It was before the insurance coverage was in effect. And it was definitely before Isaias was upgraded to a hurricane! "Really!" I'm thinking, "Who has to worry about a hurricane bearing down on their vessel the very first week they own it?"
My gut reaction was to jump on a plane back to Florida. It would be my fourth trip there in two months, but there were things that needed to be done to minimize the risk of damage. The previous owner, Rick, generously offered to do those things for me, but this was my responsibility now. Trusting it to someone else didn't feel right. That's when I remembered my commitment to officiate a friend's wedding this weekend.
"Trey, Lindsay, I know this is probably the most important day of your lives, and I know that you only have two days to find a minister to replace me, but I've got to go to a hurricane. My boat is more important than you."
It didn't take long to realize that there was no Christ-like way to say that. Mostly because it was not a Christ-like thing to do. As I resigned myself to doing the right thing, I remembered back to a year ago when the whole sail away plan was first forming in my mind. I remembered that one of the most attractive things about this change of life style was how much more dependent on God and His creation we would have to be. It seems like so often in our land-based, small-town life, most problems can be resolved by our own power. But life on a sailing yacht at sea? Now you are in God's hands!
What was so appealing a year ago, is now reality. There is a hurricane heading for our new boat. It doesn't get any more "in God's hands" than that. This is to be the first test in this new life of extra-dependency, and I'm determined to pass it. I will let Rick prepare the boat and I will officiate my friend's wedding today. I will do my best to represent Jesus well, and I've no doubt that I will always be glad that I got to play this role in their special day. I will trust in the power of prayer and that God is going to protect our boat from this hurricane. And even if He doesn't, I will trust that there's a reason for that, and that He's working all things for good.
So with Born Again firmly in God's hands, and His hands alone, let me fill you in on the beautiful vessel she is and how we came to choose her. Simultaneously, Amy is writing about the actual boat shopping excursion, and the things she likes about Born Again. Hopefully she'll leave out the part where I would have chosen a terrible boat had she not been there.
Born Again is a 1983 Morgan 416. The photo above is her sister ship. It is almost identical to Born Again. Right down to the hard dinghy hanging off the davits at the stern. Most cruising yachts have inflatable dinghies, but ours is a solid construction like in the picture. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Everything having to do with boats (and usually life too I suppose) becomes a trade off. To get a little of this, you give up a little of that. More on some of the trade offs we made as I describe her.
The trim color of the boat in the photo is a slightly darker blue than Born Again's. Coincidentally, the color of Born Again's trim matches the blue in our logo almost exactly. No, that played no part in our decision, but it was a happy accident. I don't see any other differences between the two vessels from that view.
As you can see, she is a ketch. That means she has two masts. Most sailboats these days have one mast and they are known as sloops. The advantages to the ketch are that you get more sail area (and therefore more power under sail) without having to increase the overall height of the boat, and you have more versatility for sail plans in various sailing conditions. The drawback is that you now have a second mast, boom, sail, halyard, winch (not to be confused with wench), and extra stays and shrouds that must all be kept in good working order at all times. Obviously this means more time and money spent on maintenance. And obviously, that was a trade-off we were willing to make.
She is 41 feet long. This is on the larger side of the boats we considered, and again a trade off we were willing to make. Comfort, storage, second head (bathroom), and privacy for a visiting couple, won out against initial cost, maintenance costs, and maneuverability. She has a beam (width) just under 14 feet, a displacement (weight) of 27,000 pounds, and a full keel with a draft (depth below the water line) of just over 4 feet. The full keel and shallow 4 foot draft was also a trade off. We traded a bit of sailing performance and tight space maneuverability for a well protected rudder and propeller, hull strength in the event of grounding, and the ability to navigate in shallow waters.
She has a bow thruster, which is a rare and wonderful feature on a boat of her size. A bow thruster is a small electric propeller which thrusts the bow (front) either to starboard or port (right or left) by means of a joy stick at the helm. It's great in docking situations and gets us back the tight space maneuverability we lost with the full keel.
She has a radar system which displays at the helm on the chart plotter screen. This is great for seeing approaching ships and even thunderstorms at night. The GPS chart plotter itself is a state of the art Garmin with a 12 inch screen for my weary, ageing eyeballs. She has an electric windlass which means the anchor raises and lowers at the push of a button rather than by the throwing out of your back.
The cockpit is in the center and it has a full canvas enclosure that can be put up in a matter of minutes, nice removable cushions for all the seats, and of course the helm, gauges, windlass and bow thruster controls, and lots of storage.
The motor is a 75 hp Yanmar diesel with just 400 hours on it. This was definitely one of the biggest selling points for us. This engine is clean enough to eat off of and with proper maintenance, will last longer on this earth than I will. As sailors, we don't intend to motor our yacht very often, but when you need the motor, you need the motor, and it's great piece of mind for us to have a dependable one.
There's also an 8kw diesel generator on board with only 150 hours on it. This was not something we thought our boat would have. We were leaning more towards a solar array and a small portable generator, but we are pleased to have the extra power if we need it, and we will likely still install some solar power at some point in the future.