Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Full Circle

We have lived aboard Madrigal for the past four years, nearly to the day. During our time aboard, we got married, I started working from home for our very own business, and we had our beautiful baby girl. Madrigal has been more than just a boat for us, and always will be thought of with love and happiness in our memories.

Madrigal has taken us on many wonderful trips, and we've learned so much about sailing from her. She was exactly what we were looking for in a boat four years ago, and has given us everything we ever dreamed of and so much more. Trips to Gloucester, Ipswich, Salem, Wessagusset (haha) many, many, many wonderful trips to Peddocks Island, and so many other little trips that will never go forgotten. She has been a powerhorse. So reliable, so trustworthy.

Madrigal is a beautiful boat, and as we pack away our books and toys and clothes and things, her beauty begins to shine. The wood looks brighter, and as I wash the bulkheads, I am taken back to April of 2008 when Justin and I spent many hours together laboring to sand and varnish every single piece of teak aboard the boat. I recall the nooks and crannies, the soreness in my muscles from wanting to do as much of it as I could by hand (shun all the power tools!) and most of all, I remember the act as being something which brought me and Justin together so closely. We were building our new life together as we sanded those walls.

Ivy spent her entire first year aboard this boat, brought home on her third day of life. She learned how to walk when she was nine months old because she had a handhold every step of the way. Madrigal gave her the confidence it took to finally let go and put one foot ahead of the other.

Madrigal was not built to be a liveaboard, but she worked splendidly for two people and a dog. I won't lie - she was small, but small is not a bad thing. Too small is, though. So when Ivy came along and started growing like a weed, she started to feel too small. Enter the Creekmore...almost.

So here we are, about to take our own big step. It isn't a step that either of us expected, but it is one in which we feel confident will get us to where we need to go.

As you may recall, we were given the Creekmore 45. The boat is currently holed up in a boatyard about a half hour south of us, and Justin has spent countless hours at the boat getting her prepped and ready for it's big debut on the water. It's first ever debut on the water, I might add. Here's the recap: the boat was owned by a man who worked on her for 20 years as a dream to sail around the world. He suddenly fell head over heels in love with a woman and decided to drop everything with the boat and build her a house. They still sail often, and he regrets absolutely nothing (I couldn't help but ask).

Justin has made immense progress on the boat, and I am sad to say that the labor of love has fallen into the hands of Justin alone, as Ivy has made it far too difficult for us both to work on the boat very often. I help when I can (and hope to help much more frequently in the near future) but really he's done nearly everything. Anyway - he has made leaps and bounds of progress, but we hit a standstill with the purchasing of the lead...we just couldn't afford it.

Brainstormbrainstormbrainstorm. What to do. When is it the right time to sell your home so that you can move forward to afford the next (uninhabitable) home? We both knew we didn't want to go in debt for the Creekmore - that was our intrigue with the boat in the first place. This was going to be an honest-to-goodness boat for us. Ours, through and through. Finally, last summer, we decided that we'd sell Madrigal and rent a month-to-month apartment until the Creekmore was ready. It wasn't ideal, but it would give us a bit of extra space and we figured a few months as dirt dwellers would make us all the more excited to move back onto a boat. We nervously listed Madrigal online and the calls started coming in. Really quickly.

We showed Madrigal to quite a few people. "I'm sorry she's such a wreck - we live aboard with an infant". I wondered how much our crap was going to deter people from seeing her true beauty, but we were both so hesitant to sell that we just did the best we could with the cleaning without going overboard (no pun intended).

Turns out, Madrigal's beauty shined right through our mess of baby toys and books. Quite a few people were quite interested. Oh man. Now what? Are we really going to move to an apartment? Suddenly an offer was put on the table and we were really starting to freak out. We realized that the cost of an apartment in Boston was going to suck up most of that money that we'd get from the sale, and where would that leave us? Dirt dwellers far longer than we had wanted, and still unable to afford the lead. It seemed that there was no answer for us to get from point a to point b without some sort of magical bridge to help us across.

And then...

Well, to tell the rest of the story, you have to remember where we started out, at least where we started out back in 2007 - The Fitzcarraldo.

As you may recall, Justin and I moved out to Boston in the winter of 2007 for jobs and school (man, I can't believe it's been that long already). We knew nothing (NOTHING) of boats but we wanted to be liveaboards oh so badly. Sailboats were off-limits (we didn't even consider the idea that you could liveaboard a sailboat) so we looked at big, fat powerboats. To us, The Fitzcarraldo was just about perfect in all ways, so in May of 2007 we moved aboard.

We were quick to realize the beauty of a sailboat, so it didn't take us long to try and sell the Fitz. We loved that boat, but it just wasn't what we were looking for.

It didn't take long. A woman from the west coast called - she and her boyfriend were moving out to Boston and they LOVED the Fitz. They'd do whatever it took to get her. It took a bit of shuffling, but we finally agreed upon things and Dave and Christina were the proud new owners!

I'm making this story longer than I intended, but I don't want to miss anything...

Very quickly, Dave and Christina grew to be some of our very best friends. They've been aboard the Fitz ever since the sale, but as it is, they too outgrew the small box-of-a-boat. And then, a couple of months ago, they were also given a fantastic opportunity to move aboard a larger boat. The boat needed some major fixing up, but Dave suspected it'd be ready for habitation by April or May if he got to work immediately. And work he did. Day in and day out, Dave was on that boat fixing things up.

And here we are. It's April now, and Dave is moving their things aboard the new (soon to be named) boat. And how does that play into everything for us?

Well, the Fitz is now nearly unoccupied. And being the wonderful friends that they are, Dave and Christina offered for us to live on it until we get the Creekmore in the water this upcoming fall.

So there you go folks. After working our butts off to move off of the Fitz and onto Madrigal, then working our butts to move off of Madrigal and onto the Creekmore, we've come full circle for a few moments in our life to re-appreciate the good ol' Fitzcarraldo.

Phew. Sorry to be so long winded. I know it could have been told with a bit less detail, but I thought it'd be fun to include it all. I have to be honest - I was initially dreading the move back to the Fitz. I thought it was such a step down (only because we had already moved on from that boat, and for no other reason). But then it got me thinking about the things that we used to love about that boat - the big fridge! The freezer! The stand-in shower! And Dave put a lot of time into the Fitz, so the floors are all new, the head is renovated, and some of the gross stuff that we never bothered with because we were clueless got taken care of while under their ownership. We think it's going to be fun for Ivy, once she figures out that the Fitz is "home". We're going to clear out the main salon and really keep it as open as possible so that she really has a good amount of room to play. I think it will actually be easier to babyproof than Madrigal. And Willie loved that boat. Oh man, he really loved that boat.