Monday, April 5, 2010

Waiting for the weather

A couple of years ago we got back into Alberta too early and then sat through several storms before moving to Saskatoon where we again sat out a couple of storms before returning to Nipawin.  We’re not inclined to make that mistake again so it wasn’t hard to convince ourselves to spend another week in northern Washington.  Not that the weather here has been so dramatically better than the weather in Saskatchewan – exactly the opposite in fact – but the odds are better here. The days are getting longer so it isn’t so hard to take but it sure would be nice if it would warm up a few degrees.

SWMBO has been shopping for an espresso machine for some time now.  Personally I’m inclined to decide I actually need something bad enough to shell out the necessary bucks and then either go online and buy it or head for the nearest discount tool store but her process is much different.  She actually does the research through whatever  consumer group it is that does that sort of crap, goes to libraries, studies the various brands and models and eventually settles on one that is “best”.  Then she spends a considerable amount of time shopping for the right price on that specific model of that specific brand.  Which is a good thing I guess but it sure takes a lot longer than my method.

So anyway she finally hit on an ebay auction late last week but of course shipping ran into the Easter weekend and it seems that the seller is kind of a putz.  So her alternatives were to have the machine shipped to some friends’ place where we would pick it up this fall, to pay some exorbitant surcharge for express shipping (which likely would have turned out to be pony express shipping) or to wait a few days for it to arrive.  We chose the latter since the weather was inclining us in that direction anyway.

Its no big hardship to spend a little more time in this area.  We’re a little further from the water now but not much and we’re only maybe 15 miles as the crow flies from the other park.  They call these places “preserves” and except for the one in Las Vegas that is a good name for all the ones we have been in.  The level of services is adequate but not extravagant.  Several of them, this one included, don’t have sewer hookups.  If they don’t have sewer hookups they offer a pumpout service that you have to pay for (obviously if you are a cheap SOB like me you can drive to the dump station) and some of them have a limited number of full hookups with the balance electric and water only.  I can see how that would be a bigger problem for some of the production RVs with smaller tanks but our holding tanks let us go a week if we are careful in our water usage and longer if we are really anal about it. 

Leaving aside the lack of sewer hookups about half the time, the preserves are either isolated or at least out of the way.  The one at Morgan Hill for example was less than 20 minutes from Fern’s house in San Jose but snuggled into a bunch of orchards with wild turkeys running through it and generally as far away from the hustle bustle of San Jose as you could imagine.  This place is less than 2 miles from I5 so its certainly not isolated – if you listen carefully you can hear the traffic on the interstate but as you can see from the pictures it is really peaceful and at this time of the year virtually deserted.

We looked at some more boats but I think we’re probably done looking for a while now.  This 44 Defever was “on the hard” in Anacortes and its a good thing we don’t have our money together yet because we’d likely have made an offer on it. 

Its by no means certain that we will end up with any recreational trawler-type vessel.  There’s a lot of similarities between production recreational trawlers and the RV industry.  The production recreational vessels tend to have extra trim and smaller “scantlings” in order to keep the cost down and increase their appeal to the cocktail crowd.  It took us a lot of RV time to arrive at bus living but we’re thinking we might bypass that time in the boating world and go directly to a commercial vessel that has been converted to a liveaboard.  Those aren’t easy to find and (similar to the converted bus situation) some of them are really scary.  We’ve still got lots of time so for the immediate future we will focus our search for something that started out life as a commercial vessel, in the same way our bus started out its life in passenger service.

If we do end up with a recreational vessel I’d say there’s a really good chance it will be either a Defever or a Hatteras.  Both of those names seem to hold their value really well and while we haven’t been on board a Hatteras yet, its easy to see why Defevers are so popular.  Arthur Defever has drawn a lot of boats in the 90+ years he has been alive.  The ones that carry his name are the best known obviously but there are many other very capable cruisers that he drew.  We have been impressed by his common sense layouts and incredible headroom throughout the vessels. 

Early in our search we looked at an Ocean Alexander Mark I where the very earnest young owner sounded completely believable when he assured us that we would never find adequate headroom in any production boat and further that we would never find an accessible engine room.  At the time we didn’t know any better than to believe him. 

I can’t stand up in the engine room on the Defever 44 (or the 48 for that matter) but there’s lots of room to work in it.  That’s one of the highest priorities for me.  I miss my workshop and I intend to replace it whenever we move onto a boat.  I want a place for a drill press, vice and maybe a little 110 volt MIG.  All of that is eminently possible on a Defever as far as we can tell.  It sounds like an oversimplification but I believe that if we can find a large open engine room and over 1500 gallons of designed fuel capacity then everything else will magically fall into place.

Now if the weather would just smarten up.  I’m starting to feel a serious urge for this ……..


Reluctant Cowboy said...

Bow and stearn thrusters! That is one nice boat. I've been looking at ELCO's not your cup of tea but around here live ins are not practical!

Take care

Jorgito's dad said...

Damn but you've got good eyes Skip. I was thinking "how the hell does he know that?" and then I thought "maybe he can see them in the picture." No doubt about the bow thruster but you had to look close to see the stern thruster. I'm not sure what an ELCO is but a quick Google suggests an electric drive boat. If that's the case I've got no particular problem with the idea. Wouldn't work for what we've got in mind but I like fishing too.

Reluctant Cowboy said...

Ok I'll confess it is one I had looked at on the MLS or yachtworld boat sales sight. Too deep of hull to be hauling around here....darn.

The ELCO's and even Monk Deck bridge (coast hugging style) are Flat top cruisers Wood (yep yearly maint.) from the late 20's to 40's.
Around here I have 2 lakes within 5 min. and two bigger ones within 4 hours so looking for an oversize load with not having a pilot car. Tough to find.

Your boys look to be something to be proud of. Congrats! ya did a good job. It's kind of funny I had girls and for some reason missed taking pictures of them helping me weld and rebuild engines. They are better at it than the husbands :)