Detour Ahead for Rode Trippers!

I’d never leave you hanging ‘By the Numbers’…and so the story of Rode Trip and Rode Trippers continues!

When we’d paused, Rode Trip had been hauled from the water in Deltaville, VA and had undergone a mini-makeover to prepare her for prospective buyers. We’d set the price just right, and provided a thorough advertisement hoping that we’d not wait long for the right buyer to emerge. Fascinating people come along when you try to sell things. We received some interesting offers for Rode Trip and here are two of my favorites:
1. An email that read simply, “too little, too slow, too deep, too old to enjoy the $ spending.” I’m sorry, were you actually interested in our boat? I just couldn’t tell from your enthusiastic inquiry. And so, I replied, “Everything else about her is perfect!” Our email respondent replied once again with his opinion that we were asking too much money for a slow moving boat accompanied by a low-ball offer. Maybe, he should have been making offers on faster moving boats.
2. A trade was offered; 7.83 acres of land in Virginia. Interesting. We investigated the land and determined that although it was equally priced (a fair trade), the parcel had been on the market for some time and had not sold. For those interested, send us a note because this man was also willing to trade for a motorcycle or a house boat.

While a fresh coat of deck paint was still drying, we received a serious offer from a man in India with whom we’d been corresponding via email. He had a genuine interest in Westsails, and was particularly interested in Rode Trip because she was water ready. Due to the man’s current location in India, he would be unable to view Rode Trip and so we answered many questions that he had regarding the condition of the boat. He didn’t want her to slip away, and we’d had other inquiries, so he made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. Just like that Rode Trip sold! We were very fortunate to have not needed the services of a broker. We completed a Purchase Agreement with our buyer and he provided us a deposit via wire transfer. We established a final closing date that allowed time for him to make travel arrangements from India to the United States. Chapter One of our cruising lifestyle would soon come to an end. In the meanwhile, Brian and I prepared for Chapter Two to begin.

We locked Rode Trip for the last time and said our goodbyes. Then, Brian and I did what so many transitioning, adult children do; returned to our parents (temporarily) in our hometown in Pennsylvania where each set of parents had readied a guest room for us. During the next few weeks we’d visit friends, sort our belongings, tend to medical appointments, and prepare for our next big move!

Boat Criteria

As our first sailboat, Rode Trip was just right for us. She has a comfortable interior, and keeps us safe in a way that few small sailboats can. Now with the opportunity to look at sailboats to share with Bruce and Kathy, we can use our experiences during our first 2 years of cruising to guide our search.

While out cruising, boats are a constant source of discussion with other cruisers, so we have spent countless hours discussing the pros and cons of different sailboats. We also have been paying close attention to what boats we really see “out there.” As we sailed farther from the US and Bahamas we noticed that there were more and more metal boats. The owners of the metal boats were universally happy with their boat. They were all happy with the strength of the hull as well as how absolutely, totally dry the boats are on the interior. We liked the sleek rugged appearance of metal sailboats, and their owners had sailed to some amazing locations. We were convinced that a metal boat was right for us. Research into aluminum versus steel turned up many technical articles like this one. We also found stories about how long aluminum lasts while still maintaining its rigidity and strength. We have always said that if we were shopping for a new boat the one thing that we would want more of is performance. Many times small boat owners want more luxurious accommodations or more storage space. Although these would be nice we were more focused on a boat that would continue to sail well in light air, but still be safe for crossing oceans. We decided that aluminum was the right hull material for us.

Bruce may be interested in cruising the ICW someday so that gave us a maximum mast height (65 feet) and a maximum draft (6 feet). We also wanted a boat that could be easily handled by 2 people, but had enough waterline to be a bit faster, this gave us a length between 40-45 feet.

For the inside we knew we wanted to have a minimum of 2 full double berths, large water and diesel tankage, and a place to put foul weather gear near the bottom of the ladder. Many items that we think of as luxuries that we never installed on Rode Trip were standard on nearly ALL the boats we looked at. These items will provide comfort for Bruce and Kathy’s floating retirement, and are a huge BONUS for Stephanie and I.

The list of must haves:
safe bluewater boat
shallow draft
mast height appropriate for ICW
can be handled easily by 2
aluminum hull
2 double cabins
comfortable seating for 4 in salon and cockpit
good engine access
adequate tankage (100 Gallons water, 40 gals fuel)
autopilot (wind vane or electronic)
cutter or staysail sloop rig

The list of features that we would like:
roller furling
mainsail reefs from cockpit
dodger/bimini to provide protection in the cockpit from the elements.
hot water
good power generation systems
plenty of Storage
electric Windlass
saltwater plumbed to sink
indoor shower
cockpit shower/ rinse station
dinghy davits

Armed with these lists carefully scribbled in Stephanie’s notebook we were ready to set foot on some potential boats.