The Journey

Husband and I tend to talk things to death. That is actually an understatement. We tend to examine every angle and discuss all options. I think this is one of the many things I love about us. Yet oddly enough, when it came to the decision to live on a boat, the decision was quick and sure. It was about a year after husband had taken sailing lessons and he had been racing in our local lake sailing series. I was on the dock with him one day and he was showing me a boat he had admired. She was a CSY 44. We made conversation with the owners of the boat and happened to be there that day. They let us come on board and look around. I was chatting with the wife side of the couple and at this point, husband and I had already began the dreamy conversations about sailing full time some day. I had been on a sailboat exactly twice now – once when he took me out after his lessons wrapped up (I was terrified) and once walking aboard this CSY. I was discussing the potential of one day living aboard and the wife said, “Why not now?”

We were living in a rental house that was way too big for us and were struggling to pay for. We had about two months left in our rental agreement. Husband had just gotten out of the shower and he came downstairs and said, “You know what? Why NOT now?”

We found the Columbia about a week later. That woman changed our life.

We started learning more about sailboats and figuring out what we liked and what we thought we would need as we settled into the livaboard lifestyle. The standard very quickly became the CSY 44. It was big enough for two, but small enough to single hand. The design and lines are classic and very traditional.

We began setting goals and agreed that 2020 was THE year. My stepson would be graduating high school and we had six years to figure out how to make it all happen. So we researched – we read blogs, watched YouTube, talked to anyone with experience. Every time we travelled we walked docks and met with brokers and went aboard any boat we could. We still kept coming back to the CSY 44.

After about a year on the Columbia, we were outgrowing her. She was 29 ft overall and my stepson was rapidly approaching 6ft+. The liveaboard lifestyle was definitely for us, but we needed a bigger boat.

In a very short time, we found an old Chris Craft. A much larger cabin cruiser that had plenty of room for everyone. We bought her directly from the marina, so she needed a lot of work. We learned so much on St. Mary – that’s the thing when you buy a boat directly from a marina, it comes with little to no history. We learned plumbing, wiring, and flooring. We pulled out one of the heads (toilets) and installed a full sized shower. When the hot water suddenly stopped working, we learned how to replace the heating element in the hot water heater. When the head wouldn’t flush, we learned how to replace a mascerator. When I saw how much a simple zipper repair would cost, I learned to sew.

As 2020 started getting closer and we began our more serious chapter in the search process, it was looking like the CSY 44 wasn’t going to be an option. There just were any that we could find that matched our budget and condition requirements. We broadened our search to include aft cockpits and 37+ ft in length. We travelled up and down the Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida coasts becoming increasingly disappointed with our options. We were stressed and frustrated, but at no point did we talk about giving up on the dream.

Over the last 5-6 years, perusing sailboat sales sites was a weekly, if not daily ritual. One fateful day, husband came across Marionette. She had a brand new motor and a heavy, solid, thick hull. She needed new electrical, new plumbing, lots of love, and was 1700 miles away. She was perfect.

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