Sunday, November 27, 2016

Shipping 28 tons to Canada

We had a great week in Mexico cruising around La Paz and the next move was to ship the Anna to the Northwest.  We got two quotes almost immediately at the Seattle Boat show from the vendors on site and we went with Seven Star.  They were slightly more money but they had a great operation and were excellent to deal with.  The rep whipped out the brochure showing them lifting a new 160 ft Italian minesweeper onto their freighter using the onboard cranes, so I figured they could handle Anna.
The Seven Star ship, Tramper, was to pull into the outer harbor area and someone had to take our boat to the ship at the appointed time and so they could hoist her aboard.  We hired the broker, Shelly from La Paz Yacht Sales, to ferry her out and hand over the TIP and other government forms, bill of sale, and who knows what else to get Anna out of Mexico.  Here she is about to be lifted. 
The ship sailed around May 6th and it arrived in Victoria about 12 days later on the same weekend we had already bought tickets for U2 in Vancouver  BC.  Lots of borders, logistics, a great U2 show, and one seaplane ride to Victoria later, we literally flew in watching Anna being offloaded from our Kenmore Air seats!  That was priceless.
This was amazing, and the next thing we knew we were going through customs on the Kenmore dock telling the agent in Victoria that we're here to pick up our boat, to which he replied, "I just inspected those last night--go get it!"  Because we were the first boat offloaded, a local off duty whale watch captain came to get us from the customs dock and delivered us alongside Anna, alongside mv Tramper, and then waved goodbye as we climbed on.  The boat was in decent shape but we did have some wind damage and chaffing on the mainsail cover lazy jacks.  I should have removed the sail entirely.... Unfortunately, the deck hands did some aggressive power washing and actually took off some deck paint with the high pressure water.  We got them to admit they did it, and hoped they would make good on a repair claim, which they did very nicely. 
After getting the genoa back on the furler and reattaching the backstay, we remembered most of what you need to do to run the boat again, and we left Victoria for Friday Harbor in perfect weather.  The amazing thing about the boat leaving Mexico and arriving in Canada was the lack of anyone caring about our bill of sale, taxes, or looking into all the gear, food, medicine, and who knows what else on board.    I shouldn't complain!  At Friday Harbor the customs officer was a little more particular, but really just wanted to see the CG Documentation which we had, and wanted $27 for the sticker, but mostly she did not want Jan to step onto the dock until we cleared-- strict on that one!  We were  officially in the US!  Our broker, Swiftsure, had another boat on the Tramper clearing at Friday Harbor, and they were not so lucky.  US customs did not like the fact that this boat was still for sale, and they had some explaining to do, but eventually got through.  We felt like pro's though, with our international boat dealings, and celebrated on land with a burger and a beer.  Its truly amazing when things go as planned.
We left Friday harbor with a clear skies and a fair tide Sunday morning and motored toward Seattle in a flat calm.  The end gets interesting though, finishing through the ship canal into Lake Union.  After having successfully navigated 80 miles of Puget Sound we faced 3 draw bridges, the locks, and finally entering a tight fairway and a narrow slip.  Our friends Lori and Terry Brady were at the slip to help us dock and they were needed, if you know what I mean.  Here's their picture, probably certain we would crash.  After docking without too much drama, we felt the best mix of relief and happiness.  We have this great boat that we bought in Mexico 3 months earlier, sailed on in La Paz for a week, then shipped to Canada, and now we're tied up looking at the Seattle skyline.  Somehow it all feels like way more than just buying a boat- OK--I'll just say it, Anna is part of the family. Its ok to cry a little as you read that last line...

Friday, November 6, 2015

Shakedown cruise in the Sea of Cortez

Sailing Anna for the first time by ourselves was a milestone.  The fact that this was in Mexico was a little surreal. Mexico is awesome, but we felt a little exposed as brand new boat owners with no Coast Guard to bail us out if we goofed up. Joe the former owner met us there to go over systems and Anna's care and feeding, which was a big help.  We had a the plan down--Meet with Joe to learn about the boat, buy the food, store it, shove off and sail to Bahia Balandra 10 miles away to anchor for the night, sail to a new Bahia every day for the next week, and come back to the slip in 6 days .
Who knew the hardest  part would be shoving off!?!  There's actually a big difference between owning and hanging out on this boat and really going somewhere on her. Finally at 3:00 we untied the docklines and we actually made it to our destination per plan with only one driver error (corrected prior to running aground!) trying to stay in the long weird  La Paz channel. 
We had a great week cruising around Espiritu Santo, Isla Partida, Isla San Francisco, and Los Islotes, and were on  our way back to Marina Palmira safely. 
The last night at anchor we felt like such seasoned sailors having safely navigated this beautiful area.  We tucked ourselves back into Bahia Balandra again anchoring in the same safe spot we had on night one, which protected us from the southerly Corumel winds before.  A calm dinner and sunset were followed at 11:00 by the predicted Corumel, and we smugly scoffed at boats not as sheltered as we were.  They'll learn in time.... but then what's this?  At 2 AM we now get 15-20 knots from the North and we are taking this right from the open mouth of the bay, which soon becomes 3-5 foot swells and a lee shore!  Welcome to cruising.   The boat is rolling A LOT, no sleep, anchor watch, head visits, ready to scram,  hoping we can up anchor in the dark if needed.... a long night.  We left at dawn and got to our amazing slip by 10 AM and took a well deserved nap.  I spite of that one rough night Anna performed perfectly and we can now relax and start getting her ready for shipment to Victoria on Seven Star in 2-3 weeks.  Ironically, we do intend to sail her back to La Paz in 2017, but that's what this whole thing is about. 

Meet Anna

Anna is a  center cockpit Norseman 447,  hull number 53.  She was launched in 1985 at the Ta Shing Shipyard in Taiwan ROC, just two short years after Jan and I were married in Newport Beach California.  I've dreamed of owning a strong and capable cruising boat for a long, long time, and many plans have circled about for the last 30 years of how to pull off buying a boat like this, and then taking her on an extended cruise.  Dreams can be the most powerful of motivators, and in March 2015 she became ours. Now the fun begins!

We found her on Yachtworld but she was for sale in La Paz.  After looking for easier boats to buy and finding none we liked, we booked our trip to Cabo and took the 3 hour bus ride to La Paz to see her in person.  Here's how it all went down-- We saw the boat and were impressed, met the owner, Joe--super nice, then we had tacos and Pacificos while we watched the Seahawks beat the Packers in a crazy NFC title game, then went back to Anna for a sea trial at sunset in 12 knots of warm breeze on flat water reaching in and out of the channel from Marina Palmira in a mild state of euphoria.  After many other signs that this was the boat for us, we went home to go through the mechanics of making it official.  Next step-- come back to La Paz for a week of sailing on Anna by ourselves in April.