After months of research, flying across the country, and countless showings, it is official: Marla and I bought a new boat. You probably will not be surprised to hear that it is a catamaran. Okay, I know the suspense is killing you — we purchased a 2019 Nautitech Open 40.
I wish I could tell you that the process was quick and painless, but sadly that is far from reality and fairly common. Perhaps we should have heeded the warning signs, which include the fact that two brokers were fighting over us. To add insult to injury, the broker who lost out on the sale was stalking me for days; he believed he had a right to the commission apparently.
Standing at the helm of my soon-to-be yacht in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean signing away my bank account to Nautitech, I was thinking that it will take some time for my brain to process that we will no longer be sailing primarily on the Pacific Ocean. Fort Lauderdale, Florida will be our new home base for a while and it is definitely bittersweet. Although, who am I kidding, this is the most exciting thing to happen to me since the birth of my daughter 28 years ago. Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but my point is that I was psyched despite the rough start. Lo and behold, that was only the beginning of a bumpy ride ahead.
As soon as I boarded the ship, I noticed a ceiling panel hanging by a thread. Within the next half hour, I discovered that the throttle was not working properly: apparently forward was reverse and reverse was forward. Naturally, I had this fixed as soon as possible but now both sets of throttles are out of sync. Remember those old Kung Fu movies where the dubbing resulted in watching the actor’s lips move long after the translation was complete? Completely different situation, but for some reason it comes to mind when I think about the throttle situation. Even today these films are still good for a laugh or two.
It did not take much time for me to realize that the autopilot feature was working in a similar fashion to the original throttle because, as it turns out, it was not calibrated. When I attempted to set the auto pilot to steer the boat in direction X, it decided to go in direction Y.
And of course, other issues reared their ugly heads. There were problems with the bilge, holding tank, air conditioning, oven, stove, radar, starboard prop, lazy jack system, teak floor grate, and keys, to name a few. Believe it or not, the service manager at our warranty company told us this list is actually quite short.
Here is where I would like to tell you that, like a Disney movie (I am sailing the Florida coastline so cut me some slack here), there was a happy ending in sight. No such luck. Like with a house, two bathrooms are always better than one, right? As the toilet in the main head was shrink wrapped, I figured it was a good time to check out the other one. Coupled with the fact that there was no toilet paper and it took me a little while to figure out the mechanics behind a manual head, this made for another fun little adventure. Let’s just say thank goodness for paper towels and plastic bags. Well, the one plastic bag I “rescued” from a life jacket that is.
Trying to focus on the positive, I was impressed with the gas mileage of this vessel. After 4 hours of sailing, I saw that I still had a full tank of gas! Wait a minute, how is this possible I thought to myself. You guessed it. It was NOT possible at all, even for the most economical of ships. The fuel gage was malfunctioning so upon further inspection I was down to less than half a tank. Channeling my inner Scrooge: Bah humbug!
Like Steve Carell’s character says when he is pulled over by a police officer after having a day from hell in the film Dan in Real Life, just put it on my tab.