Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Scramble to Leave Home


The past two weeks have been filled with activities related to family and friends, or preparing for our departure for the Great Loop. We had all six of our kids with us Christmas Eve and day; ok, only three of them are biologically ours, but we claim their fiancĂ©e, husband and boyfriend as ours too, and feel we’re the most fortunate people in the world that all three of our adult kids have settled in with people we like, love and enjoy. For the four days we had kids with us, we slept too little, ate too much, drank good eggnog or wine, talked a LOT, and received great gifts, all of which were things we need for our Great Loop trip. It was wonderful.


Since Christmas it’s been a flurry of packing and organizing bins full of boat gear, electronics, nautical charts and cruising guides, dishes, pots and pans and bedding, making lists, talking to the surveyor and our boat broker about final details on the boat purchase, arranging a place to moor the boat in Florida once it is ours, 15 hours on the telephone and computer sorting out boat insurance: who knew we’d have to develop a Hurricane Plan, a Captain’s Resume, buy almost $1,000,000 worth of Protection and Indemnity coverage as well as Oil Pollution insurance?



And we’ve been on the telephone almost daily with our nephew’s wife, Sara. She and our nephew Tom, just retired from the military after 20 years training or serving as a Navy Seal, are moving into our house the day we depart. They’ll live here for the year or more we’re gone – free housing for them as they transition to civilian life, and free caretaker for us! We call that a win-win.


Our plan is to depart home Tuesday, January 3 and begin the drive south, then east to Florida, hopefully covering the 4,000 miles in 9-10 days, with stops in Yuma for lunch with friends, Tucson for an overnight with another friend, and Houston for a visit with Cathryn’s parents. We’re excited; or at least Cathryn is excited, and Bob is looking forward to it; he can’t actually bring himself to say he’s excited. Now if we could just decide on a new name for that boat . .

Sunday, December 18, 2011

And the Journey Begins . . . .

Following 26 hours of driving around the state of Florida with our fabulous boat broker Curtis Stokes and his wife Gill, and looking at 11 boats, this is the one we fell for. It took from Thursday night when we decided to make an offer, until Sunday morning when we got the email from Curtis telling us price negotiations were successful to know that we were moving on to the final stage in purchasing her.  We’re scheduled for an engine and hull Survey (like a house inspection, only for a boat) and Sea Trial (checking it out underway on the water) on Tuesday, and assuming those  don’t raise issues (and we have reason to believe everything will go well with this step), then we will become owners of this boat approximately January 10, 2012.

So in some senses, this is where the Journey begins, and we’re both excited.  We’ve already spoken with Captain Chris Caldwell and his wife Alyse about coming to spend 3 days on the boat with us January 23-25 to do boat-specific training in maintenance, docking and other areas in which this boat is quite different from the boats we’ve owned the last 7 years.

42’ Jefferson Sundeck underway

photo (8)


photo (5)

Sundeck and entry door to Salon below

photo (6)


photo (3)

Guest Stateroom (our one disappointment with the boat, that it has bunks instead of a double or queen bed in the guest stateroom)

Golden Dolphin guest stateroom 12-10-11

Galley (kitchen) with full-size refrigerator

photo (2)

Dinette across from Galley

photo (1)

Master stateroom (queen bed)

photo (4)

Guest head (bathroom)


We spent 30 minutes texting with our son Ryan the other evening about potential boat names, and as we did with our previous boat, we invite you  to “vote” on those that have been suggested already, or contribute additional suggestions for a new name for this boat (to be accompanied by proper mariner’s boat re-naming ceremony).  Because we’re purchasing this boat to undertake a journey around The Great Loop, most of the names contain some reference to “loop”.  The following list is only in alphabetical order, and includes suggestions made by Ryan, the waitress at dinner the night we decided to make the offer, and another gentleman in the restaurant:


Circulo Grande (Spanish variant on the term “Great Loop”)

Curva Grande (Spanish variant on the term “Great Loop”)

Gettin’ Looped

Gran Lazo (Mexican-Spanish variant on the term “Great Loop”)

Grande Cappio (Italian variant on the term “Great Loop”)

Let’s Get Looped


Olalla Bay Associates (the legal name of the Delaware Corporation that is actually buying this boat on our behalf)

Starship (note: the boat is a 42’ Jefferson)


What are your additional ideas? Post under “comments” or email us with your suggestions.

Friday, December 16, 2011

“All I Want for Christmas is a Great Loop Boat!”

Hear the tune in your head? Pretend Bob and Cathryn are singing the song, only pretend we also know how to carry a tune (not!)

We flew to Florida Tuesday, then spent Wednesday and Thursday with our amazing boat broker, Curtis Stokes and his wife Gill Stokes. Curtis drove us about 900 miles all up and down the west and east coasts of Florida to look at 11 boats, a list we’d generated together in the previous weeks by our looking online from Seattle, and Curtis previewing about half the boats in person. Curtis and Gill are hilarious:  despite being only a few years younger than Cathryn, they have the energy, tenacity and calm demeanors to put any 30-year-old to shame, and certainly us!  They sleep very little, eat only infrequently, and don’t need to use the restroom half as often as we do.  Wednesday we were racing around the state from 8:30 am until 9:30pm, and Thursday from 6:30 am until 7:30 pm, spending both nights in Fort Lauderdale.

Golden Dragon

This morning we’re making an offer on a 42-foot Jefferson named “Golden Dolphin”, currently located in Stuart, Florida. If we reach agreement with the Sellers on price and contract terms, we will conduct a survey and sea trial on Monday, then fly back to Seattle late Tuesday to get ready for Christmas with all three of our kids and their fiancee, husband and boyfriend.

So . . . “All I Want for Christmas is a Great Loop Boat!” seems an apt description of our current frames of mind. Having said that, we also received a phone call last night from a friend of 30 years informing us her husband was diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this week. We are so, so terribly sad about that, and hope he is successfully treated. Meanwhile, it reminds us that life and good health are precious, and we should be doing exactly what we’re doing, enjoying adventures around the world, together, while we have the health and resources to do so.