How We Met FNR

Steve and I start boat shopping in the fall of 2013. Steve looks at online sailboat listings daily and sometimes I look over his shoulder while he surfs. New Bern and Oriental are only a 3 ½ hour drive so we can get up early and go see three or four boats in a day. Steve wants a boat that is completely depreciated so that means we look at boats made in the 1970’s. We look at Pearsons, Hunters, Morgans, Catalinas and Cape Dory’s, all in the 30 to 36 foot range. I know we are looking at fixer-uppers but I am not impressed. Inside, they are narrow and dark with a lot of teak. If the living space is adequate, then sleeping quarters are tight, and vice versa. A lot of them smell like diesel or sewage or, heaven forbid, both. And, if they smell like both, then nine times out of ten they are really dirty. I can handle normal dirty but we’re talking really dirty. Dirtier than even I can clean.

We keep looking. We aren’t discouraged. This is part of the process. We’re learning what I like.

On one of our trips to New Bern, we see a Cal 31. It is not on our “list” of boats to see but the broker wants to show it to us because he thinks we’ll like it. He is wrong. I LOVE it!! Beamy, well-laid out, and clean. I can smell a little diesel but Steve says a good flushing of the bilge will take care of that. The downside? It doesn’t have a quarter berth and since it’s an early 80’s boat it’s at the upper end of our price range .

We keep looking. We aren’t discouraged. This is part of the process. We’re learning what I like.

There’s a Cal 34 we want to see in Deltaville, MD so we decide to go boat shopping over New Year’s. Steve really likes it but I don’t. Boats built in the 1970’s have a lot of teak inside. They are dark and narrow and usually smell like diesel. I am sorry but I don’t want to live in a dark, narrow, smelly boat.

Next on the list to see while we’re in DC is an Islander 36. This particular boat has a lot of structural issues.  We don’t want it but we like the layout. It’s beamy with less teak than other boats built in the 70’s so it’s not quite as dark.

We keep looking. We aren’t discouraged. This is part of the process. We’re learning what I like.

An Islander 36 comes up for sale in Oriental. Off we go. We get to the boat yard a little early. Mike Draughan at Deaton Yacht Sales tells us to go ahead and look at the Islander and then to make ourselves at home in the office. He is on his way.

The Islander disappoints both of us. It’s in really bad shape, but we don’t want to leave without seeing Mike so we go into the office. I start looking at other boats that Deaton’s has listed. I see Maker’s Mark, a 1987 Cal 33. I show the listing to Steve.

M: Why in the world are we not looking at this boat?

S: It’s out of our price range.

M: I don’t care. I want to go look at this boat.

Mike takes us to see Maker’s Mark. It is gorgeous! I love, love, LOVE this boat. It is clean and well-cared for, a turnkey boat. But, it is pricey and even in as good of shape as it is, we think it’s a little overpriced.

We keep looking. We aren’t discouraged. This is part of the process. We’re learning what I like, but we are not finding anything I like better than Maker’s Mark.

We make an offer. Yes, we can spend more on Maker’s Mark up front because we’re not going to spend as much fixing her up. Our offer is rejected. Our counter offer is rejected. We are not getting Maker’s Mark.

We keep looking, and we’re looking for a Cal. We’ve learned what I like.

We ask Mike to show us a 1986 Cal 33 that is also for sale in Oriental. He says it doesn’t show well compared to Maker’s Mark but we still want to see it. The boat needs some cosmetic work but, structurally, it’s in good shape. It doesn’t smell bad and it’s not filthy. Her owner had plans to fix her up, but unfortunately, he got sick and passed away before getting much done. Having seen how good Maker’s Mark looks, we know this boat can look as good or better. Our offer is accepted and despite two tows during sea trials, we purchase her on March 22, 2014.

Second tow of the day. Life's always an adventure with Steve Fisher.
Second tow of the day. Life’s always an adventure with Steve Fisher.

We start fixing FNR up. Some things have to be fixed…NOW.

Air conditioner dies. New Marine Air HVAC system installed.

Our Electro Scan Waste Treatment System cracks on first flush. We replace it with a Raritan PHC Manual Toilet. (I wanted an electric toilet but believe it or not, I don’t always get what I want.) We also replace all the raw water intake lines and the “outtake” hoses are replaced with 5 year guarantee odor free sanitation hose that is so expensive that we order it by the foot. (Steve is tired of hearing me complain about the things I smell.)  A new holding tank and Whale Gulper Toilet Pump completes that project.

If you’re wondering what the Whale Gulper Toilet Pump does, check out this video. It’s rather long so feel free to fast forward to 2:56 for the Virtual Poop Experiment. You will be impressed.

Now, we get to work on our “want-to-do” list.

Boat gets hauled so the bottom can be painted. I clean. Steve and his brother use Fiberglass Reinforced Wall Panel to make a new headliner.

No headliner.
No headliner.
New headliner. Well done, boys. Very well done!
New headliner. Well done, boys. Very well done!

I clean. We make a new V-berth mattress. Two 3” layers of foam glued together and topped with 3” of memory foam. Very comfy. I clean. We make a new mainsail cover and bimini. Sailrite has great how-to videos! I clean. Floors get sanded and polyurethaned.

All shiny!!
All shiny!!

I clean. Water tanks are taken out, and surprise, cleaned. All water lines are replaced so the tanks can stay clean. Steve installs a Raymarine autopilot, chartplotter, and sailing instrument package. They are integrated so they talk to each other. (I don’t understand all of that yet but it sounds good.)  Steve is determined that we are NOT going to drag when we anchor out so we add a Rocna anchor.  And, of course, there’s the recently completed head and galley renovations.

It took us a while to find her and we are still working on her, but FNR is the perfect boat for us. She’s fast. She’s safe. She’s clean. She’s home.

Whatcha thinking? Cal & Trixie would love to know!

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