It was fall 2015. We had just sold our beloved 27′ Catalina, Lanikai. We were 5 years into our 10-year plan and the timeline indicated that we should go boatless for a year or two and brush up on some non-boat based skills like sewing, medical training and, especially, saving up for our “forever” boat.
Boatless and Restless
When we sold Lanikai we didn’t realize how empty we would feel without a boat. So what does any boater do when they are boatless and dreaming? Yachtworld! Every. Night.
We quickly fell in love with a gorgeous Stevens 47′ in Florida (the same make/model that Behan & Jamie from Totem have). It was at the top end of our price range, and we hadn’t saved nearly enough money, but we LOVED it. I tried to convince Steve to detour to Marathon on his work trip to Texas. He hummed and hawed and we finally decided not to spend (waste?) money to see that dreamboat, concluding that it was probably too large for us anyway. We wanted to focus our search on something more local. So it was back to the drawing board. But seeing that Stevens 47′ for sale on Yachtworld for months after was agony…then when it disappeared I’m pretty sure I went through a few stages of mourning!
Heartbreak in Seattle
A few months went by and we found a number boats that caught our eye. A Peterson 36′ with pilot berths looked great and was a huge step up from our 27′. We arranged for my Mom to babysit the kids and took a weekend trip down to Seattle to meet the broker and see that boat and a few others.The best description of her was wet. Really, really wet. There were leaks EVERYWHERE, the most obvious being the boot around the mast that ruined the teak floor. The pictures on Yachtworld were taken when the floorboards had just been replaced but subsequently the boat had been neglected for years. We were heartbroken. We saw a few other disappointing hunks of junk that weekend, so we decided to chalk that trip up to experience.
Hope Emerges from the Misty Winter
The winter continued and we tried not to think about buying a boat and focused on other priorities. I was incredibly busy at work closing a deal so I had more than boating on my mind. Every once in a while Steve would forward a Yachtworld listing and we would lay in bed after a long day at work dreaming about what our next boat would be. In February, Steve sent me a listing for a 13.5m (42′) Beneteau Idylle named Mist Maiden in Point Roberts, WA that was priced well below market value and within our price range. That price could shave a few years off our plan! The boat looked promising so we arranged to see it with the owner’s broker. We showed the kids the listing on Yachtworld and Spencer, my 4 year-old at the time, was thrilled that there was a guitar on board and hoped it came with the boat!
The first time we saw the boat we met the broker and took a look around. We were a bit gun-shy after our disappointing trip to Seattle so we took a more pragmatic view and tried not to let our emotions take over (well, my emotions – Steve is analytical to the core). The boat wasn’t perfect, but she looked sea worthy and had some great features, especially 6′ 6″ headroom in both the salon and under the bimini…perfect for Steve’s 6’3″ frame. After going home and talking through the pro’s and con’s (and I assure you, more than one spreadsheet), we decided to make an offer, subject to sea trial and inspection. We arranged for the sea trial with the broker and owner a week or so later.
Sea Trials and Tribulations
The sea trial didn’t start well. Before we left the dock we realized that the jib halyard was wrapped around the top of the forestay so the genoa wouldn’t unfurl. I volunteered to be hauled up the mast since I was the lightest on board. I had never been up the mast on Lanikai, but was pretending to be a bad-ass (so NOT a bad ass!). Steve hauling me 50′ up the mast past two sets of spreaders was certainly a testament to my trust in him! I felt like I was on top of the world as I wobbled in the sky on that beautiful, sunny day. Thankfully I was able to unwrap the halyard and was lowered safely back on deck! With that crisis averted, we motored to open water and raised the sails.
We had a great time sailing, but it became increasingly clear that there was some work to be done on the boat. When Steve tried furling the genoa, he realized that the furling line was rigged the wrong way around the drum. Oops. In any case, Steve and the owner managed to jury-rig the genoa back onto the forestay and we headed back to the marina. Overall, it was a minor setback that was easily fixed and we were still happy with the boat.
Haul-Out Heart Attack
After the sea trial we got ready for the haul-out and inspection. The haul-out was almost the end of the road for us (and the owner, for that matter), when one of the travelift slings slipped and the boat crashed back down into the water. I am pretty sure the owner nearly had a heart attack! Luckily, Mist Maiden was only a few feet out of the water, but 20,000 lbs sure makes a loud splash!
The boat had more mussels (muscles) than Hercules from sitting all winter, which were quickly power-washed off by the crew at Point Roberts Marina. Our surveyor (complete with beret…seriously!) continued his inspection of the bottom including hull, through-hulls, rudder, keel and propellor. We had a really hard time reading him as he stared intently at sections of the hull and banged his mallet on various areas, so alas, we would have to wait for the survey report before we really knew anything.
There were no shocks or surprises in the survey, so now it was just a matter with letting go of a large wad of cash (well, not actually cash…but a wire transfer). As the money went out into the ether we sat on the edge of our seats waiting for the confirmation of title transfer. We received it shortly thereafter and could call Mist Maiden ours! Now it was just a matter of finalizing the insurance, sailing her home back into Canada.
Post Script – Bringing the Boat into Canada
This was the second boat we had bought in the US and brought into Canada, the first being Lanikai, which we purchased on Bainbridge Island near Seattle. Bringing Mist Maiden home was even simpler than Lanikai since it was a Canadian Registered vessel. We just had to pay transfer tax. We still followed the usual border-crossing procedures; we sailed to the nearest Customs dock (in our case it was the public dock at Coal Harbour in Vancouver) and called Canada Customs when we were safely tied up, ensuring we had the Bill of Sale, the insurance paperwork, and no fruits or vegetables. They asked for our information over the phone and sent us on our way without Customs officials even setting foot on the dock or the boat! Overall it was a pretty simple process.