A new beginning.......................
We were working on boats in a boat
yard located in Green Cove Springs, Florida and dreaming of a new
Teri was painting boats with Awlgrip and I did boat names and graphics
while managing our online graphics business.
It was a small marina/work yard where folks can do just about anything
they want without fear of being politically incorrect. In fact,
politically incorrect would be the norm around this place. You know
something is unusual when you enter the boatyard and there is a sign
saying, “you are now leaving the USA. Please check-in at the office for
clearance”. Of course the exit sign welcomed you back to the United
With some of the most interesting characters a sailor could ever cross
wakes with, this little yard was hopping with all sorts of boat work.
The residents were a mixed lot with backgrounds ranging from convicts
to attorneys. (Is there really a difference?) Boats ranged from either
barely floating in many cases all the way up to the big bucks yachts.
Every day at 4:00 PM sharp all work stopped and most everyone, no
matter what their background or what sort of boat they had, would gather
around a place they called the "porch". The entrance to the main office.
Beers were opened, stories were told and everyone had the answer to
everyone else's problems. Hell, they could even tell you if you had a
problem and you didn't know it yet. Or better yet, they could create one
for you if need be!
Teri had established a nice business (Dolphin Refinishing) at painting
boats of all sizes and shapes. Awlgrip was her specialty and boats were
Rolling and tipping the paint to a mirror finish that amazed everyone.
We had moved our 36 foot Travel Trailer into a live-in space at the
yard and so work was just outside the front door.
It was hot, sticky and buggie (mosquitoes and no-see-ems) in Northern
Florida which I had a horrible time adjusting to.
So my work consisted of helping Teri in the cool mornings and then back
to the trailer (and AC) to work at my web business in the afternoons.
We were wanting an adventure. To just take a few months or, as long as
it was fun and as long as the money held out, and just go travel.
We talked about taking the truck and the trailer to Alaska for the
summer. Or maybe up the Eastern Seaboard. There was also the possibility
that we could take our Sea Ray and do the Intracoatal waterway north.
Aw, but then the fuel prices hit over $3.00 (2006) all across the country and
here we were sitting with a gas guzzling Sea Ray Sportfish boat and a
big V-8 diesel truck towing a 36 foot trailer at 8 mpg! Damn, that
wasn't going to work out at all.
“No worries, we'll just go buy two brand new Harley Davidson's and travel
light and show the oil companies we would not be deterred.”
We picked out the bikes. A Sportster Low for Teri and a Soft-tail for
Then we found all sorts of accessories that would allow us to take the
two dogs with us.
Yes, dogs.... we now had two small Corgi's. Both less than a year old.
After some time we got our brains in gear again and realizing that with
the severe back problems we both suffer from, that maybe the bikes were
not the best idea.
The decision was made to find a cruising boat and head out to sea again.
After chasing down a dozen boats of all types and condition, (mostly
hurricane damaged boats) we were feeling frustrated and ready to give up
on the whole affair.
Now, given the idea that I might go cruising once again before I am too
damned old, my mind slipped back to an earlier plan that involved a
Ever since I had built my last boat and gone cruising on it, I had
fallen in love with the Freeport 41 built by Islander Yachts.
The interior decor was copied and used in my last boat (Solita). The
Freeport had very similar hull lines as Solita and she was an incredible
What seemed to make her the right boat for me was based on the type of
cruising I had dreamed of after selling Solita.
She was 41 feet long on deck and 32.5 feet on the waterline with a 13.5
foot beam. She carried near 1200 square feet of working sail and had
been designed by Robert Perry. Known for his excellent performance and
comfort in yachts.
With these proportions the boat would make decent speed under sail (one
that met my criteria for fishing), she would be large enough below decks
to have wonderful living arrangements, and at 41 feet she would fit into
most popular slips in marinas without incurring added expenses for
She has a ketch rig which splits the sail area into easily workable sail
sizes for one person. Her main mast is 51 feet above waterline and this
too is a plus when it comes to navigating inland waterways. Most bridges
have at least 55 feet clearance.
With a huge six cylinder, 105 hp diesel engine spinning a three-blade,
24 inch diameter propeller she easily carries near double the horsepower
of most 41 foot boats. Not to mention that she will drive into head-seas
quite well with that much power. That is if she absolutely MUST power
into them. We prefer sailing over power.
Even at six cylinders her fuel consumption would be less than five
quarts per hour.
Her engine room easily accommodates a large diesel generator,
water-maker and all the electrical goodies a sailor could ask for.
Then with 200 gallons of water and 200 gallons of fuel, you end up with
a range that is usually only available to boats in the 55 foot plus
One place I have always wanted to cruise is the canals of Europe. Sail
her to Europe, lower the masts and you have a wonderful barge canal
So this design had been my love for many years.
Now I needed to show one to Teri.
We searched the web and found a dozen or so for sale. Most of them out
of our budget. But there were a couple of them in Florida and we made
the long drives to see them. Teri was convinced too. She loved the
design from the very first look at one.
watched online as they were listed and sold. More came on and sold very
We traveled to look at them in Sausalito, Ca., Jacksonville, FL., Tarpon
Springs, FL., St. Pete, FL., San Diego, Ca., Long Beach, CA., Marina Del
Finally we were down to the only one left online that we could look at.
This boat had been for sale for nearly two years. Appeared to have an
incredible equipment and spare parts list. But, it was sitting in
I talked with the broker as I watched the price drop online once again.
He told me that basically the boat hadn't sold for two reasons; one, it
was in Mexico and two the boat appeared "dated".
We flew out to Los Angeles to look at what was available there. After
the first day on one of the boats that I liked, Teri got a very strange
feeling about the broker. She said "something is wrong here with this
deal", "we need to walk away from this".
So I went back the next day and talked with the broker from a point that
would bring to the surface what Teri was sensing.. Teri was right.
Something didn't feel right.
Then the broker told me that the lady owner had changed her mind about
selling the boat. But since I had placed an offer and a deposit on the
boat, sight-un-seen, I could only buy it at full price. Since she was
not willing to negotiate. That shut the deal down immediately for me.
We went back to our hotel disappointed in the fact that we had spent so
much time and money to fly out there, only to loose trust in the deal
right from the start. Then to find out that the deal never could have
We sat in the room, got on the computer, found no new listings for a
Freeport 41. The only remaining boat was the one in Mazatlan.
Teri got on the phone and two hours later we were on the red-eye to
The broker referred us to the Faro Mazatlan Hotel and when we arrived at
6:30 AM we went straight to the hotel for coffee and breakfast.
In short order the broker, Ray Watson and Jeannette arrived to take us
down to the boat.
We couldn't wait to see her and sail her that morning.
We boarded Flying Cloud and started our inspection. After an hour or so
of peeking in lockers, looking at the engine room, asking a million
questions we decided to take her out and see how she sailed.
The trial sail was short with no wind so we returned to the dock to
continue digging deeper into potential problem areas.
At this point we knew the boat needed a lot of work. But it appeared
that it was mostly cosmetic stuff. We were OK with that. But I didn't
want to get into mechanical repairs. That would be too time consuming
That evening the broker took us out for dinner at a wonderful restaurant
in the old part of Mazatlan.
Over dinner, I presented my offer to Ray. He nearly choked, but didn't
The next day we met at the brokerage office and finalized the purchase.
Teri and I spent some time alone on the boat that day. We took over 500
photos of every detail. We measured things and made lists of all the
stuff we would need to bring down with us.
The broker told us that there was no problem doing our own work in the
boat yard and that most anything we needed could be found in Mazatlan.
We flew back to Los Angeles in amazement that we had finally bought a
Now we had to get busy with a plan. How to finish up our customers work,
take care of my step-father, sell my house and acquire all the equipment
we would need for the boat. Then, how to get it all to Mazatlan.