Last year, the quest to be a crew member on the Clipper Round The World race came to an end, unfortunately. It was a huge disappointment but with the delays to the current race due to COVID and port closures, the next race (the one I was supposed to be in) also was delayed and that prevented me from participating due to other commitments.
However, after a long bit of soul searching and chatting with Anne, we decided to take the plunge and become boat owners ourselves. Our plan is to purchase a blue-water capable (i.e. can sail across oceans, not just stick close to shore) boat in the 40-45 foot range. The difficulty in these times, of course, is that it's difficult, if not impossible, to actually go see the boat ourselves. Where we are, most of the boats are barely over the border into the U.S., which basically means they could be on Mars because we can't cross that border right now. This limits our selection. Still, we're pouring through Yachtworld and BoatTrader and other sources.
And we found one! A Hallberg-Rassy 42E. I've crewed on a Hallberg-Rassy 39 a number of times. It's the boat we took around Vancouver Island a few years ago, and the boat that I holped transport from Seattle to San Diego and then from San Diego to La Paz, so I have a number of months aboard one. They're good boats and it seemed like a good fit.
But... one step forward, one step backwards. It is in Washington in Port Townsend, which we can't visit at the moment. Fortunately, the captain of the H-R 39 lives in Seattle and he was able to go take a fast look at it. he pronounced it as seemingly a good boat (A pretty cursory look by him as a favour to me. Thank you Rod!). Because we can't go see it and there are difficulties and intricacies to a cross-border purchase, we retained a Yacht Broker to work for us in the arrangements, a husband and wife team who, due to COVID are currently separated by the border. He's in Washington, she's up here in Canada. This week he went over to look at the boat and found some things that were cause for concern. In short, we decided not to make an offer on the boat.
So, we're back to making spreadsheets, comparing boats that we see, doing our research, etc. We can't afford one of those million-dollar yachts, so that also puts a damper on our selection. Still, we have hopes. We have our eye on a couple of boats from Yachtworld, but we're taking it slowly and examining them. We make a spreadsheet, list out the things we want, list out what the boat has, and they never match. So we look at it some more and see if it will do - either because we don't REALLY need that third dishwasher or else because we can fit that third dishwasher into the corner over there, on our budget. Kidding about three dishwashers. We don't want any, but it was a good example.
This March (is that really only 1 1/2 months away!!??) I'm scheduled to go back down to Mexico, COVID permitting, and pick up that Hallberg-Rassy 39 to help bring it back to Seattle, by way of Hawaii. It should be an interesting trip, for sure. I'm keeping an eye on the COVID situation though. Not because of the boat, but because of the airports and being on an airplane with a lot of other people. Sure, the chances are low, but they aren't zero, and then we have quarantine in Mexico whilst trying to get the boat ready for the long trip back up to here.
Oh, and there's crew selection. Taking it South we had a crew of 4. 3 of us were due to help bring it back north, requiring the addition of a new crew member. Unfortunately, life had other plans and one of us had to drop out, meaning that 1/2 the crew will be new to us. That can be a bit of a concern when crossing an ocean, stuck in the middle with each other and finding out that you can't stand each other. Ugh! Still, as long as we all act professionally, at least, there are ways of managing it. If two people really can't stand each other, put them on opposite watch schedules, for example, so they aren't ever required to interact other than passing each other in the salon. It can be tense, but it's doable.