Days on cruise: 214
We’ve sold the boat! Well, not really. But sort of. And no, we’re not quitting the Loop before we finish!
Last May at the Great Loop Spring Rendezvous in Norfolk, VA (above) Curtis Stokes, the boat broker who helped us buy Next To Me, introduced us to clients he was working with to shop for their Loop boat, Jack and Sara from Indiana. He said he wanted them to see an example of an “older” boat in good condition, and would we mind showing them ours?
So we gave them a tour. They liked it and asked Curtis to help them find a 42’ Jefferson. He subsequently took them on two boat shopping trips, and in the end, they liked Next To Me better than other 42’ Jeffersons they saw. So after driving to Green Turtle Bay in Kentucky to see Next To Me again a few weeks ago (above), Curtis brought us an offer from them to buy our boat when we finish the Loop. There is a signed Purchase and Sale Agreement in place, and when we get back to Fort Pierce, Florida, they’ll conduct a survey and sea trial, and assuming she passes their inspection, Next To Me will get ready to do the Loop a second time. See the happy current and future owners below!
Jack and Sara are wonderful people, and we’ve enjoyed spending time with them here at Joe Wheeler. Yesterday afternoon we opened our boat for over 2 hours for Looper Crawls, sort of like an Open House for all the folks here who are Looper Wannabes. More than 40 people came aboard and toured the boat, and Jack and Sara were onboard listening to comments and questions from others. One couple told us they’d been following our blog and considered talking with us here about possibly buying the boat; we introduced them to Jack and Sara instead.
Last night’s Rendezvous dinner, with 250 people in the dining room, included introduction of all the Looper Wannabes. Below is a list of some things they said, as reported by Great Loop Association staff:
As we listened to folks describe their excitement and fears while planning for their Loop, it reminded us of how we felt at our first Rendezvous 18 months ago. It’s interesting to consider how much we’ve learned in the past two years.
Take a look at the paragraphs below, excerpted from our post on this blog written in August 2009 (click here for our August 2009 post ) as we completed a 700-mile one-way trip with friends on their 60-foot trawler, traveling up the Inside Passage from Washington state to Ketchikan, Alaska.
“We’ve developed a huge amount of respect for the kind of people who make a journey like this, not as guests like we’re doing, but as a couple who captain and crew their own boat. The remoteness of much of the waterway makes it mandatory that anyone who expects to do this successfully must have a dependable boat (is there such a thing?) or a set of skills Bob and Cathryn cannot ever imagine acquiring. Greg is a knowledgeable mechanic, knows how to do wiring and plumbing, and is a jack-of-all-trades. He and Terry understand navigation, including information about water, tides, currents, wind and weather, and how they affect travel. They manage to balance their adventurous spirits with appropriate caution.
They’ve often made this trip alone, without the aid of additional crew, which looks like a major under-taking to us due to the extended cruising time.
Our conclusion, based on this trip, is that we would not be comfortable making this kind of trip without someone with a great deal of experience on board, without at least trying a shorter trip first. Whether in a new or old boat, a break-down of any kind could result in being stranded, or even grounding on the rocks in a remote location with help very far away.”
Does that sound like the same people who have now traveled 4,600 miles, through 17 states, on all kinds of water in every condition imaginable, and survived, happily?
How far we’ve come, both geographically and in terms of skills and self confidence, surprises us. Doing the Loop has given us great pleasure, but also a chance to recapture the sense of adventure and ability to grow intellectually that we didn't expect to experience at this stage of life.
So, now with the boat more or less sold, we have to start spending a bit more time answering the question we get almost daily from others: “What’s next?” It’s going to be a challenge to find something that equals our current adventure.