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Anytime I mention our dream to friends, they always ask, “But do you even know how to sail?” and my tried and true answer is always, “Sure, just hang a bedsheet from a stick and string and wait for the blow.”

In reality, the problem, right now, isn’t learning to handle a boat that size, it’s getting a sailboat that size and keeping it sailing —  something that falls into 2 categories of money:

  1. Cash for the boat…
  2. Cash to keep the boat going…

Being “newbies” to the sailboat world, we’ve spent months and months researching — not only rigging, lines, halyards, anchors, AIS, chart plotters, marine heads, sail types, and blocks — but researching the $$$$, too. When we ask friend’s who’ve sailed for years how much they spend, I almost always get a shrug and a “Don’t really know…”, but every now and then I come a cross little gems like Tate and Dani from Sundowner Sails Again. These two recorded every dime they spent of their first year cruising and the grand total of living expenses… (insert your own drumroll)

“$21,782 – total cost for 2015”

Gasp

When I read that, I did a little happy dance in my head and silently squee’d like a little girl. Yeah, that’s totally doable! Between my skills and Shelly’s, we could easily make that with side jobs here and there, working our way from island to island and place to place — at least until we win that $1.3 billion dollar PowerBall lottery, or until food and fuel become free.

Now, on to buying the boat… and that’s the real dilemma! Our biggest problem at the moment is ourselves, not the cash (though we still have to figure that out, too). We can’t decide on a cat or a mono, length, setup/layout, etc… For the longest time we were convinced we were going with a catamaran. That is, until we stepped aboard one — a Prout Escale 39.

A few days before the 2016 New Year we crashed the office of a broker, Andre, in Mobile Bay. I asked him if he had any cats for sale. He grinned from ear to ear (I assume seeing commission dollars in his head), and said “Sure!” But when I asked to see it that day he glanced out the window at Noah’s flood coming from the thunderheads above and replied, “In the rain?”

“Of course!” I laughed, “That’s how I’ll know if it leaks or not!”

He didn’t laugh. He just stared at me blankly, picked up his cell and called the guy who had the keys. We listened to them go back and forth over the speaker phone and dude-with-the-keys finally said, “In the rain?!?”

To be fair, we HAD explained to Andre that we really just wanted to step aboard so we could experience a cat, see how much room there was, etc… and that we weren’t quite ready to buy. He was a trooper about it and by the end of the day we’d built a bit of a bond with Andre.

The Prout… while the bridge deck was fantastic, and there was soooo much room in the cockpit, the hulls were WAY tighter than we thought they would be. And while the Prout was a little too old for our tastes and had quite a few problems (spider stress fractures in the hull at rigging points for starters), we were stepping aboard for the experience of a cat and not to seriously thinking of buying that one anyway. The kitchen (in the starboard hull) was WAY to tight! and the storage was crappy, not to mention the “master berth” was almost as small as the head.

Andre, after hearing our disappointed comments (and I’m sure, the long looks on our faces) chimed in… “Well there’s a Hunter 41 on the other side of the marina you might like.”

I shrugged, “Okay”, and we jumped back into the truck. I wasn’t expecting much out of the Hunter, but I thought, “Hey, what can it hurt…”

“Holy Shizzzz!!!!!”

My eyes (and Shelly’s) were popping out of their sockets from the moment we stepped down the companionway! The inside of that 2005 was absolutely beautiful! I’m not going to bother with pictures. You guys can google it if you’ve never seen the inside of one before.

But back to the “Holy Shizzz!!” We LOVED the layout, the berth setup, separate shower, and almost everything about that boat! In the back of my mind I kept thinking, “Love this, but it’s a Hunter…”. I’ve read quite a bit about them, seen the forum threads of people nearly coming to blows over them, and seen the spec’s myself. In the end….. I’m still on the fence about Hunter’s. I have no doubt we’d be safe and sound and comfy as kittens for coastal cruising, but that’s not the plan and I’m not convinced I can keep my beautiful bride safe and sound on one while we rip through the deep blue.

So, we’re back to square one. Our biggest problem right now is ourselves. We just can’t seem to decide on a path to take. We’d still love to get aboard a couple of more cats before we completely rule them out, but that Prout has clouded our view of what we thought would be our dream boat.

We’re being very picky about what we want. We have certain requirements in our minds right now because in the end, we’re not looking for a boat… we’re looking for a HOME.