A Good Day Aboard

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Feb 7, 2010
The following is a post I made last night on the Nordhavn Dreamers web-site which I thought some people considering buying a trawler may appreciate and see use as a little push to move on with your decision. I hope you enjoy!

Things are little quiet on the dreamers site this week so I thought a short post with the theme of "if we can do it, anyone can" was in order to help those with any doubts about testing the Nordhavn waters. For those who do not remember who we are, we previously owned N4050 and N4061 located in southern California and lived aboard (part time) for about five years until life hit us hard and we had sell the boat. Four years of medical issues didn't allow much time for dreaming but the little dreaming I did do combined with staying in touch with the new owners of N4061 and Jeff Merrill at PAE helped me get through some rough times.

Fast forward to earlier this year we decided it was time to try and get our lives back. A number of lingering medical issues would limit out ability to travel far in a car or airplane so the next best plan was another boat with all the comforts of home. N3522 became the answer as we slowly test the waters and see how far we can venture. Talk about therapy, amazing what can happen to someone who has been thru hell when they are able to think about something other than pain. The purchase process and refurbishment (mostly new interior) has been heaven sent for the both of us.

Today was only the forth time we were able to drive to San Diego and spend a couple of nights aboard. After the two hour drive we arrived at the marina and were welcomed with clear skies and 76 degree temperatures (warm for SD in January). The marina parking lot was full, like a summer weekend. After unloading the car and getting everything to the boat Mary was making the final touches to the interior when she said, "John, there are two guys outside the boat saying "that's a Nordhavn - beautiful boat". That never gets old. After awhile it was time to run to the local supermarket for weekend provisioning as well as picking up our favorite pizza from Pizza Nova. Back aboard dinner was complimented by a pitcher of margaritas while watching a DVD of Don Henley of the Eagles. After dinner a walk along the bay overlooking the million dollar view of nighttime lights of downtown San Diego followed by a visit to the fire rings, pool side at the marina. We returned back to the boat for a cozy night looking forward to a bay cruise and lunch while on the hook (first time) listening to some more music and just being thankful for another day with a little less suffering.

At the end of our dock is N68 that just returned from Mexico. As I look up at the pilothouse high above and think to myself how cool it would be to own such a boat, I think back to what another well respected Nordhavn owner and contributor to this site once said "the few is the same from the aft deck regardless of the size of your boat" (or something close to that). Its not just the view but the overall experience of just being aboard "your boat". It doesn't matter the size, year or make, it is just being there with someone special to share those moments. While we do not know what our future holds we are thankful for today and if some day we can point our bow south, then Cabo here we come! Few dreamers will face what we have and if we can take the chance to live our dream so can you. Waiting doesn't help anything except insure that you have a little less time. If you dream of owning a boat (any boat) my advise is to do it now even if it isn't the dream boat. The memories you will have will be priceless compared to the dreaming and a few extra savings which you may never be able to enjoy. OK, enough rambling from me for today beside the last song "Hotel California" is about over. I apologize if this was not the normal post but thought someone may appreciate the message.

I cannot express enough our gratitude to our good friend Jeff Merrill who helped us through the past 13 years and three boats. If not for Jeff we would never had experienced this great life style. We wish him the best in his new adventure.

John T.
La Tempestad
Great post John. Very well expressed.I can relate to being at home on water,although on smaller boat. All the best,smooth sailing.
Absolutely well said, and THANK YOU for an eye opener!
Certainly puts things in perspective.

As one who also feels more at home on the water than anywhere else, I can certainly relate.

Thank you for the post and we'll keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

Safe voyages...

Nice post.

Thank you for the inspiration !
Indeed, thanks for the post John. I recently found out some disturbing medical news. No "symptoms" yet, but it's there just the same lurking. Your post was well timed. Just do it comes to mind...

Very nice, John. A great reminder for all of us. Carpe diem!

Thank you, your comments are a reminder to us all on the value of living today.
Thanks for a great reminder post John. It's nice to hear about your good day on the water. They are SOOOOO special. I recently was diagnosed with a medical condition that I refuse to let beat me or keep me from enjoying my time aboard.

Your comment about the view from the stern is so true. I'm on my 7th boat and this will be the biggest. Once I no longer feel comfortable handling this one we'll sell it and either downsize to a smaller (~28'er) that's trailerable or go to a land yacht (motorhome). Either way it will be something that's easier to handle and maintain.

Until then, life's too short to stay tied to the dock!
Reading this thread I am reminded of my fathers friend Taylor. You all know a "Taylor" I'm sure. Hard working, likable, never missed a day of work, healthy as a horse...

Taylor retired from the Navy after 22 years and went to work as a welder until age 65. He drove an F-250 pick-up with camper shell and a 12' aluminum boat on top. All his fishing gear and motor in the camper, ready to launch at a moments notice. Taylor was a bit of a legend among my fathers circle of friends and was known to launch that boat 2-3 times per week on average, fish all night and show up for work on time the next morning. A real fishing fool. His dream was to live on a lake with a boat docked at the house to spend the retirement years fishing daily if desired.

Taylor retired on a Friday and Saturday dad and his buddies went to visit, I tagged along. I listened to these guys talk and enjoy an afternoon fish fry congratulating him on finally making it. Monday morning the Navy was sending guys over to pack his house and Tuesday he was moving into that house by the lake, escrow closed the previous Monday. Lake house, new truck in the driveway with a new boat and outboard picked up that Saturday morning before we showed up. Plan was to splash his new boat Wednesday and we all would meet that next Saturday for a fish fry on the deck of his new house.

We all met that following Saturday as planned but not at the lake in Northern California, it was at a funeral chapel in San Jose. Taylor's wife called Monday to tell us he died in his sleep. That was well over 35 years ago but it made a huge impression on my young life.

The truth is none of us are guaranteed to wake up tomorrow. Plan for your future but don't forget to live today because these are the good old days.
...I recently was diagnosed with a medical condition that I refuse to let beat me or keep me from enjoying my time aboard....

You my friend, and those like you, are a true inspiration!!:thumb::thumb:
Give 'em hell and whatever "it" is, we'll keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

Until then, life's too short to stay tied to the dock!
Undoubtedly, one of the best quotes I've read recently!

Thanks for sharing your insights.

To paraphrase the old fishing adage-

"A bad day on the boat is better than a good day at the office"

John-glad to hear that things are continuing improve for you and your wife. Hope the boating life adds to the recovery! A boat is expensive therapy, but worth every penny!
Carpe diem!
Means: 1. Complain daily, 2. Eat fish every day, 3. Seize the day??

Seriously, I wish you guys with health issues all the best, do all you can while you can. It can, and it will, be any of us.
This applies to all of us, well or not. "If within reason you can afford the time and the money for something you want to do, do it; the future is unpredictable"
Thanks to everyone who responded to our post. Hopefully it will encourage those who have not yet tested the waters to do so soon before time runs out.

John T
La Tempestad
We showed it to our close friends that have been on the wait and see fence. Then Dan's pacemaker started beeping due to a low battery. Battery is being replaced and they are sea trialing their dream boat on Thursday. Talk about a reality check! Timely post and sage advise for sure.
Excellent post, and so timely.

We were with family on Sunday for the NFC chanpionship game- as usual, we were eventually asked about living onboard; "doesn't it get cold", "don't you feel cramped", "is this your version of a midlife crisis?", and so on.

I offered the family passes for the boat show, and Bob (who has a love of boating, and really wants a boat capable of overnighting) stated that "I'll get a boat when I retire".

Our marina manager and I were talking late last year about life onboard, as his oldest had just jumped ship and abandoned the nest.

My question/answer to both was the same-
"Are you promised tomorrow?"

Bob's answer was that he needed to retire first.

The marina manager is moving aboard in 2 weeks. He got it.
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What a great message. I shared this with my wife this morning, it really brings me great joy to know I have someone to share this with. We found our love of the water almost by mistake.
A few years ago, about six we decided that we wanted to enjoy some recreation. So we dived in and bought two brand new Polaris EFI 4x4, a toy hauler to enjoy them with when away from home and a flat bed to enjoy close to home. We ventured out several times with them. Long story short, my wife suffered from an injury (hit by a car - sever nerve damage from many years prior) that would not allow us to use the quads anymore. Doctor said if you continue using more than likely you will lose the use of your hand. The next day both were up for sale along with the toy hauler.
We asked ourselves, what could we do to enjoy the outdoors? Be able to spend quality time together? (of which you don't when your on a quad, motorbike, etc as you are on separate toys -which we didn't care for, we could spend a whole day together but not share much in the why of conversation) Share with our friends or family? How about boating?
I started on the net and after some research found Sport Craft Marina (a C-Dory dealer in Oregon). I told the salesman we would have to wait until the toy hauler sold. Well, no pressure but he knew someone that was in the market now for a toy hauler. He connected us and we bought a new boat from him. What a great experience, everything a new boating couple needs! Starting us on a journey that has stayed with us since. Two C-Dorys, a 17' Northeastern Dory and now the latest, 34' Tollycraft.
Many thanks to Tom and Ryan over there at Sportcraft! Our lives have certainly been enriched because of the time we have been able to enjoy on the water. More importantly with each other and now our four year old son.
You are going to have to get him an air horn! Perfect job for him on foggy days.
Man, this is an awesome thread! One of the best I've seen in a while.:thumb::thumb:

Very touching and motivating at the same time.

Thanks to the OP and those who have contributed.
More please:D

Time is more valuable than any of us can comprehend.

And thank you for the timely post reminding everyone that no promises are made. And what 'ta heck is wrong with doctors? They say "you're positive" and most normal people think that's a great thing. Then comes the diet (via physician removal of parts) followed by chemo, and well, life sure does get interesting. Thank goodness for boats and boaters.

Folks on the water truly are amazing. The experiences are hard to describe to an outsider yet such fun to live. I love the diversity found when a round table of boaters gets together. There will probably be one or more delivery captains, but the former occupations of the rest run such a broad spectrum that were it not for our shared interest in boats and cruising I cannot imagine meeting and getting to know the others.

I do feel blessed. And I'm happy to be here enjoying life afloat.
Great article, we feel so blessed to be spending our time on board travelling through Florida this winter. After awhile hanging out in Carrabelle waiting for a good weather window which are few and far between this winter we had a good gulf crossing to Clearwater where we are enjoying the beach everyday.

Each day we feel so lucky yet question whether we should be able to enjoy this lifestyle at our young age of mid 50's. Everyone says wait to you are 65 or 70 but who knows what tomorrow will bring, maybe we will be wrong but if we are we will enjoy our memories from all these great trips and all the good friends we find each and everyday.

Cannot believe we have lived aboard for just over 4 months and just don't miss our house at all.

God bless us dreamers and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Currently docked in Clearwater Beach Marina FL
"Currently docked in Clearwater Beach Marina FL"

Glad you having such a good cruise. There are not many beaches prettier than Clearwater's. Please let me know if the grill on the corner of the marina still has great grouper sandwiches.
John's (OP) posts in the Nordhavn Dreamers forum were inspiration for my wife and I to sell up, and buy our N62. We left Vancouver October 15th, currently lying Puerto Vallarta. Would not change a thing. As others have said - "Thanks John!"
That's why I recommend retiring as soon as you can. I retired 23 years ago at 55 years of age and never regretted it. Lookin' forward to Super Bowl Sunday as that is my birthday.
If you retire early...just make sure you are still employable/can jump back into a decent workforce in some way...

Retirement is great but if the rug ever gets pulled out from under you ...and can in many possible ways....it's nice to be able to still feel somewhat secure.
If you retire early...just make sure you are still employable/can jump back into a decent workforce in some way...

Retirement is great but if the rug ever gets pulled out from under you ...and can in many possible ways....it's nice to be able to still feel somewhat secure.

Great advise.
I'd planned on being totally retired by age 50/55...what's that about the best laid plans....???

I've got a few more years to go, but am approaching a comfortable (I hope) semi-retirement. That being hopefully able to pick up a trawler, and spend extended stays aboard or U/W. I can run both of my businesses from the deck!:thumb:
In the words of that great pitcher/philosopher, Satchel Paige, " Don't look back, there's something gainin' on you."
Retirement Plans

Great advise.
I'd planned on being totally retired by age 50/55...what's that about the best laid plans....???

I've got a few more years to go, but t'm approaching a comfortable (I hope) semi-retirement. That being hopefully able to pick up a trawler, and spend extended stays aboard or U/W. I can run both of my businesses from the deck!:thumb:

Sounds familiar, I also planned on 55 but I guess I didn't take serious enough, still have no regrets. At 40 I took what we had in 401K and built my dream house. Watched everyone loose their 401K savings as we made a few dollars. A few years later used the equity in the house to buy N1 and N2. Between the two boats I'm sure we spent a few dollars which I don't miss or regret. Now committed to serious retirement savings and riding the market while enjoying N3. Assuming things work out, 60 will be the new 55. That's retirement age not size of boat. Part of my thought process is to live for today while planning for tomorrow while realizing life does happen. So far it has been a good balance for us. No regrets if it all ends tomorrow. I have been fortunate and blessed in more ways then I can count.

John T
La Tempestad
I understand John. To some degree we're alike. We're definitely not where "I" planned to be, but life sort of got in the way. I have to assume that things work out the way they do for a reason? I definitely didn't take things as seriously as I should have. Now in my late 50's, I'm having to regroup.:banghead: I'm guessing I may still have another 10 before I see a full retirement. Oh well, it is what it is.

I definitely agree with you about being blessed though. I've had a great ride, and while I have my 20/20 hindsight regrets, the experiences have been worth the price of admission:)

And your last comment
...if it all ends tomorrow. I have been fortunate and blessed in more ways then I can count...
sort of reminds me of this:

"If it suddenly ended tomorrow, I could somehow adjust to the fall.
Good times and riches and son of a *******, I've seen more than I can recall..."

Jimmy Buffett:thumb:

Sail on...

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