Saturday, December 3, 2011

Now We're Buying A Boat And A House

We can’t help it. Despite our broadened searches for all kinds of boats, we keep circling back to the Hans Christians. Their lines are the nicest. Their woodwork and bronze is the most solid and romantic. Their layouts (or many of them) are the smartest and most comfortable.

And now that we are broadening our search geographically to the US, there are many options for us. This gives us a sense of relief because now we don’t feel like we have to choose just among the boats here in Turkey, or even just the Med.

On the other hand, buying a boat in America raises all new challenges. Sailing it over delays our whole adventure by about a year. It would feel as if we are forced to start all over again. It would take weeks to outfit the boat in the US. It would be tricky to find a decent crew for the Atlantic crossing. The crossing and passage through the Med beyond the ugly Costa del Sol of Spain to the Balearics or Sardinia would take six to eight weeks. By the time we are cruising again, it would be June or July at best. Ten months from the loss of Dolphins!

It would feel like drawing the dreaded “Chance” card in Monopoly; the one that commands, “Go back to Go. Do not collect $200.”

Shipping the boat, as opposed to sailing it across, would only save us time if we can complete a purchase and basic fitting-out before the middle of February. Then we are paying $30,000 for the luxury of having boat arriving end of March.

The shipping company has other itineraries. In fact one that arrives right here in Turkey, but that isn’t until July.

Nevertheless, the freedom and relief of finally being able to contemplate buying exactly the boat we wanted has lured us back into endless hours, day after day, of looking at boats in America.
Because in the end, I am simply not the person who can buy any lessor boat here in the Mediterranean and sell it later when we are done here. Jennifer and I circle back around to that idea every now and then. But it’s just not who I am.

I have owned three boats in my life. The wooden lightning, Delphinus, which Joel talked me into buying. Her I gave to his parents after years of sailing it and it has returned, through rot, back to the earth. Let’s just consider that a slow and earth-bound scuttling. Dolphins burned. And in between both, I bought a Cape Dory 25, which I could never bring myself to sell, even though I wasn’t sailing it anymore. Now, friends of ours have borrowed her and have a great time sailing her among the islands just off Boston.

My boats die or remain part of the fleet, even if I have to appoint new skippers.

I sat down at my computer one day, went to and made a list of every Hans Christian that was for sale in the Mediterranean or somewhere on the Atlantic. There were exactly eight. Eight!

How pathetic were we? We laughed at ourselves. Of all the boats in all the harbors in all the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, we had decided there are only eight which suited us. It’s ridiculous!

And so we both went back to our computers and spent more hours and hours looking for others.

A few nights ago, we were invited to dinner at our newly-found friends, Dina and Dave.

First of all, upon hearing of our drafty, barebones apartment, they gave us a nice wool blanket so we could finally get some sleep without wearing our clothes to bed. That has helped tremendously.

We told them of troubles in finding a boat here in the Mediterranean. We told them how the boats we want are in America and how we were even so crazy as to consider having a boat shipped over.

“But if we do, that will set us back by almost a year on our two-year plan,” I said. “And...”

“Excuse me for interrupting and being blunt,” Dina said, “but what makes you think you have to have any plan or any schedule. Just hang out here and see where life takes you.”

She was right. Where did this two-year plan come from? Some of it was derived as my slow process of convincing Jennifer to join me on this voyage. She never wanted to go cruising, and when she finally acquiesced by saying it would have to be the Mediterranean, I said that entailed a two-year voyage because we couldn’t get here and back in one year. She reluctantly agreed to it. Of course, now it is her who is so committed to this trip that any discussion of returning home is out of the question.

The two-year plan was also a financial decision. We felt that was all we could justify before needing to return to jobs.

Yet who’s to say that we couldn’t find ways of making money here in Turkey. Or somewhere along our way wherever we sail? Just the other day, when we were renting a car, the agent got into a discussion with us and suggested we teach English classes. I could bring in a few dollars freelancing for magazines. Who knows what we could come up with if we put our minds to it.

“I know,” Jennifer said the other day. “We’ll buy that ruin by the mosque with the playground, we’ll rebuild it and restore it, into a gorgeous home, and then in summers, we’ll rent it out by the week, while we live on our sailboat. Maybe do a few charters. And in winters, we live in the house. We’ll have a fireplace and the kitchen will be open to the living room. Of course, there’ll be a fireplace upstairs it the bedroom too. And I'll source Turkish rugs and send them to Anna and Rachel who will have a little shop in Boston.”

A nice fantasy that kept us distracted for the time we sat there at an outdoor cafe by the harbor sipping our Turkish coffees.

Then we went back to the apartment, got on our computers and logged into Yachtworld.


Joel Gardner said...

Marvelous! Just Marvelous... Yes, the two-year rule had to go. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jennifer and Mathias
The German Sailing Magazine "Palstek" visited the meeting of Hans Christian owners in Germany, see I tried to find contact data of the owners association but couldn't succeed. Perhaps it's worth to contact the Palstek guys?
Iyi sanslar, Andreas
"Veröffentlicht am: 28.10.2011
Yachten mit dem Label „Hans Christian“ genießen unter Langfahrtseglern weltweit einen fast schon legendären Ruf. Entstanden in der Blütezeit des Taiwan-Yachtbaus sind die stäbigen Doppelender noch heute gesuchte Liebhaberstücke. Anlässlich eines Eignertreffens in Neustadt hatte Jan Kuffel Gelegenheit, die Hans Christian 33 näher kennen zu lernen.
PALSTEK Ausgabe: 06-11 "

Unknown said...

Sorry about the lost of your yacht.

Have you considered a Hedoniste 44", they are a classic blue water yacht which might suit your requirements.

Just 'Google' Hedoniste 44 or follow this thread:

Best wishes David
S/Y "Surabaya Girl" - 2DTW3 Portsmouth UK