Friday, December 2, 2011

Of Duds and Digs

What we want in a boat is simple:

1)  Berth with a backrest
2)  U-shaped galley
3)  Accessible motor
4)  Heavy, blue water design

After looking at boat after boat, we were invited by a broker to take a look at a Slocum 38. I can’t remember hearing of them. She seemed promising as we climbed up onto this one, sitting on the hard. Double-ender, heavy cleats and sizable standing rigging.

Slocum 38. Nice double-ender. Cutter-rigged.
Inside, a u-shaped galley to port.

Sweet u-shaped galley, but couldn't those switches have been put elsewhere?
Note the top AND side-loading icebox. 
Nice salon, though I think a round table is odd. Hard to set a laptop on it or write with enough room for your elbows.

The mast is keel-stepped, so it comes right down through the salon next to the table in an unfortunate spot. If the table were square it might work better.
She had one of the nicest nav desks I have seen.

The pefect nav station. Lift-up desk. Nice and wedged in for high seas. Wrap-around displays. Comfy seat. Get rid of that old radar display. That Raytheon can act as the radar display and then it doesn't have to hang in that exposed spot.
And most importantly, it had a double berth with a backrest. Not perfect, since it was a quarterberth arrangement with no portlights and thus dark and a bit claustrophobic.

Full double (or queen?) quarterberth. Alas, no natural light.
But after having looked at so many boats and beginning to think we were never going to find our next boat, we looked at each other and half-nodded, half-shrugged.

With all previous boats, we didn’t spend anytime looking at the specifics. If the layout didn’t match our desires, no need to waste time looking at the engine.

“Shall I look at the engine?” I asked.

“Sure,” Jennifer said.

I ran my hand down along the companionway steps to find the latch. No latch.

I could feel the disappointment welling up in me. I lifted a floorboard by the galley and, sure enough, the engine was recessed into the keel.

I got on my knees and stared down at a fine Yanmar that was squeezed into the bilge. The only hope in servicing this thing would be to acquire a miracle hamster; one trained in dark basements to work on elevator motors in aging hotels. Then he could crawl into those impossibly narrow crevices to change oil filters, replace belts, monitor wire and hose chafe, and perform all the other tasks to ensure I could rely on my engine when it’s blowing like stink, raining to quench the fires of Hades and we need to get into port.

Mental note to self: Check internet for “Elevator hamsters.”

In the meantime, I had to tell Peter, the broker, that the recessed motor had knocked the boat out of the running.

Peter is an ex-pat. He is a tall, slim man with a thick neck. He is a South African who relocated to Bodrum and sends his kids to the local school. A charming chap whom we mistook as British at first.

“What you want,” he told us, “doesn’t exist in the Med. Or quite rarely anyway.”

We engaged in a long discussion of boats and brokers, and Peter told us that in the Med, there is little demand for big, heavy blue water boats. Just about all of the sailing here is done from island to island or along the coast. Short hops, for which people want fast, light sailboats that are modern and have lots of wide open cabin space down below.

Most buyers here are looking for Jeanneaus, Beneteaus and Bavarias, with the uppercrust buying Halberg Rasseys.

The boats we want are available in abundance in America.

We went back to the hotel and though it seemed crazy, started googling boats in America. Plenty of Hans Christians. Plenty of Tayanas. Plenty of Unions, Valiants, Cheoy Lees, and Westsails.

I even requested a quote from a ship-by-freighter company to transport a Hans Christian 38 from the east coast to Turkey and received a rough estimate of $30,000.

That afternoon, we finally settled on an apartment, the one we are living in right now. It was the best we had seen. It’s bright and sunny inside. It’s actually an empty summer rental, and so the owner supplied the towels and bedsheets. We negotiated. He wanted 700 Turkish Lira for the month (about $375) but after hearing our sob-story was willing to settle for 600 TL or $325.

Soon we realized that even that was generous on our part. Because it’s only rigged for summer occupation, the cold blows in all around the doors and in the loose window. I’ve used stuffed up paper towel as insulation. The blankets are pilly fleece. We have to dress warmly at night because they aren’t enough to keep us warm. The only cooking facility is a two-burner hotplate, of which one doesn’t work.

Note: Two burner cooktop in corner. Can do dishes with hotwater only in the middle of the day.

The bathroom has a sink, a toilet and a showerhead in one corner, but no curtain. So to take a shower, we must remove everything from the bathroom: towels, toilet paper, and anything that we don’t want to get wet.

The floor is recessed just a bit in the corner to capture most of the water.

The lighting is fluorescent. There is a slight cat-piss smell. The couches are so ratty that Jennifer asked the owner for blankets to cover them.

Note: Papertowel in door just behind Jennifer's knee. White blankets over couches. Rolled mat in front of balcony doors. Wine bottle candles to add a modicum of mood. Jennifer googling boats.

Oh, and when we want to take a shower, we have to do it in the middle of the afternoon. That is the only time the water is hot enough because it comes from a solar heater.

Over the last week, Jennifer and I take turns being depressed. I will crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head. Then recover a few hours later. Just in time to try to cheer up Jennifer who becomes sullen and quiet and taps away at her iPad looking at an endless blur of boats.

At times, we both break out laughing at our situation. And ourselves. We chide ourselves for being depressed when we have the luxury and opportunity to be in such a beautiful place in the world, among new friends and searching for a sailboat with which to continue our adventure. How depressing can that be?

At other times, we can’t escape the quicksand.

1 comment:

judymac said...

I'm so glad you can laugh, that is the most positive thing thus far in this adventure. You will find what you need. It might not be another Dolphins, there may not be one left, but there will be the right boat, the right solution. And as you said, what a place to be working this out.....