Our Never Ending Atlantic Crossing; Aka We Bought a New Boat and We’re Headed Back to Florida


So it looks like after all of our hard work to get ourselves from Miami to the Azores, we will not be sailing the azul waters of the Mediterranean this year. Or next. Maybe the year after that.

This is because we are now turning our butts around and hightailing it back to Florida. What?! I know, something about that state just has a certain pull on us. We also have something waiting for us there in the form of 37 feet of aluminum hull.

But I am getting way, way ahead of myself here, let me back up a moment. First just let me say that we love Serendipity. She’s been a great boat to us and we’ve never been openly seeking to get rid of her. I just happen to be married to a man that spends a fair amount of hours cruising Yacht World, just for fun and just to see what’s out there. A little pastime of his. I have blogging…he has researching boats for sale.

We’ve known since we bought her that Serendipity would not be our forever boat, but she fit the bill for what we were looking to do at the time. A young couple that could comfortably cruise around for a few years in 34 feet. In the back of our minds though, there’s always been what we want in our next boat. The next boat will have a bigger galley (me), preferably be an aluminum hull (Matt), have more general storage (me), and have a pilot house (Matt). Plus we both agreed that an extra 8 to 10 feet would be pretty nice, something we can grow into and maybe eventually start a family on. Nothing that we needed right away, but something to keep an eye out for in case it came along.

Well, it did. While sitting in Horta, just as we were about to cast off the lines to sail the remaining 1,200 miles to Gibraltar and really begin our European cruising, my ever searching hubby came across a 48 foot aluminum boat with a pilot house sitting back in Rhode Island for a very affordable price. Introducing the idea of this new boat to me, I was a little less than enthusiastic about not only giving up on Europe, which I’m dying to see, but crossing back over the Atlantic so we can get this new boat and probably have to spend a year working in restaurants or Bed Bath & Beyond to build up the kitty again. When I say it was affordable all I mean by that is we have the money to buy it, but it would have taken up just about all of it.

This would be however, our f-o-r-e-v-e-r boat. Worth the sacrifice in the end, so I told him to go ahead and put an offer on it. A little bit of a low ball offer, and I’m not sure what I was expecting from it, maybe a big ‘eff you!’ from the current owner, but imagine my surprise when the broker came back the next day stating our offer had been accepted.

But wait? Didn’t you just say that this new boat is 37 feet and sitting in Florida? Yes, I did. Keep following along, I promise I will explain everything and it will all make sense in the end.

With this 48 foot boat we were not going to have a survey done since it was recently purchased by it’s current owner and a full survey had just been done last October. We felt comfortable that this recent survey along with a disclosure agreement from the owner, as well as a flight from Matt to view it in person, would be enough for us. When the disclosure agreement came back though we found there was corrosion by the stern tube, information that was not on the listing and we had no prior knowledge of. The current owner had already had a quote done for repairs, and with this new cost added to it we didn’t know if it was still in our budget. It was something we wanted to mull over for a few days.

Thinking about it long and hard we decided that we’d go back to the owner and say that if they were willing to lower the price to cover half the cost of repairs we’d still take it. Unfortunately the owner was quite firm on the price, especially since our initial offer was already at the bottom of what he’d be willing to sell for. We were disappointed but at the same time could understand. We thanked him and moved on. It appeared as if the Mediterranean was still in our future, but now we were two weeks even further behind. Fall weather was coming along and those last 1,200 miles were not looking too appealing. Seeing there were very high winds sitting between us in Gibraltar, we decided to break up the trip and get ourselves to Sao Miguel, an Azorean island 150 miles east of Faial.

The trip was a quick 36 hours, but still gave Matt enough time to think about this new dream boat that he was letting slip through his fingers. As soon as we pulled up to the docks in Ponta Delgada and aquired an internet signal he was online with the broker stating that we’d take the boat, corrosion and all, for the originally agreed upon price. Au contraire….., things do not always work out the way we hope. During our little sail in the Azores, other potential buyers had gone to see this boat and new offers were coming in. We found ourselves in the middle of a bidding war, and even though we had upped our previous offer by 5k, we still lost in the end.

To say that Matt was let down would be a complete understatement. The next 48 were spent with him sulking about Serendipity, lamenting how he screwed it all up. The overcast skies and rain we were getting complemented his mood perfectly. So while he was going back to his favorite pastime of hunting new boats on Yacht World, his mood cheered a little when he found a 37 foot aluminum boat with a pilot house, sitting in Florida, with a very affordable price tag. He was so hopeful and excited when he looked at me with big saucer eyes, asking if he could put an offer on it, that there was no way I could turn him down. Just to see what we could get away with though, and I think part of me still hoping that we’d make it into the Med, we put in an extremely low offer of ten thousand less than the asking price.

This broker was very quick and efficient and within a few hours we had a counter offer splitting the difference between the two. The big saucer eyes turned me to again. I knew it was all over. Just like when Matt knew we’d be coming home with a cat the moment we walked into the rescue shelter in Georgia two years ago, I knew we’d be heading back to Florida with a new project boat on our hands.

Ok, now for the details! Our new boat is of French design, a custom built Trisalu 37, built in Quebec in 1983. It’s a shoal draft cutter that has a center board with a draft of 7′, but when raised we’ll be down to 3’6”. Something that will be great for the Caribbean. One of the things Matt likes best about it is the deck salon, and was a big selling point for us. There’s been recently replaced sails and engine, but there are definitely areas that need work as well. We’ll be going through and replacing all the wires and hoses, and transferring over some random items from Serendipity, like the water maker. To see a list of all her features, check the link here.

This new purchase is definitely going to be a project boat for us. As Matt likes to say, it’s basically going to be a gut and rebuild. But we’ll be able to make it exactly how we want it, so I think it will be worth all the time and the effort in the end.

So what does all this mean for Serendipity? She’ll be coming back to Florida with us where she’ll promptly be put up for sale. The plan is to get ourselves to the Canary Islands shortly, spend a few months exploring them, and then depart in December or January with a planned landfall of St. Martin. From there we’ll do a bit of quick island hopping on our way north, hopefully still making visits to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, skipping the Bahamas, and getting ourselves to the new boat sometime in March.

This is definitely a huge change in plans for us, which is why I told Matt that I’m never making plans again. They just never happen. So if you ask what we’re going to do when this new boat is ready to cruise, I really couldn’t tell you. We might hang around the Caribbean or we might do another Atlantic crossing, finally seeing Europe. I don’t think we’ll know until we’re out on the water and we’ll see how we feel at that point. I do know however that this extra time back in the States will allow us a visit out to my parents in Arizona (who I haven’t seen in almost two years!!), possibly a visit back to Michigan to see friends and family there, but best of all, a chance to cruise with our boating besties, Jackie and Ron of Skelton Crew, who should be arriving in Florida with their boat just as we’ll be getting ready to toss off our lines. And isn’t that worth going back for just in itself?

*This post has been written about two months in advance so that those of you who follow us on Facebook will have an explanation of why we’re now moving south and not east..  All information will be still given as it happens in future posts, so hopefully I don’t confuse you when I begin talking about the daily trials of looking into the first boat, not getting it, and then moving on to this one that we have currently purchased.








20 thoughts on “Our Never Ending Atlantic Crossing; Aka We Bought a New Boat and We’re Headed Back to Florida

  1. Whoa! What a big change, but just like leaving to go cruising in the first place the big jump will reward you I’m sure. Safe travels!

  2. Congratulations! She’s beautiful and tough enough to take you guys anywhere! That’s awesome and utterly crazy at the same time, but I would expect nothing less of you two jet-setters! 🙂 And that means I get to see you again soon, I’m sure!

  3. Whatever grit is, you two have it! I admire your tenacity and hope your forever boat is all you hope it will be. Congratulations and best wishes for a shorter Atlantic crossing on the next round! Cheers, Jessie

  4. Wow big changes. That is so exciting, and crazy! I know how you feel, when we started on our 33ft we were heading for South America, got to Bahamas and found Necesse, and gut and redo project boat. Then, after a year of work we were going to go to Grenada, and boom, pregnant. So could only make it to the Bahamas, again! So screw plans. Go with what works and what’s fun. Maybe our paths will cross sooner than we expected!

  5. How exciting! Out of the blue for those of us following along on the blog – but that’s just part of the fun of following along. Good luck on the crossing – and I’ll be anxiously waiting on those gut/rebuild posts/pics!

  6. @ Melody, now you can see why I was asking if you’d be back in Fort Lauderdale this spring, I need to see you again! I’m sure we’ll work something out. Crazy and unexpected though, right? It still is for me.
    @ Jesse, Thank you! You two must be super excited yourselves starting your own journey though. Congratulations on getting down to the Golden Gate Bridge. Keep headed south and to warmer weather!
    @ Genevieve. Every time. Every time we try and make plans, something like this happens. 🙂 But as you’re proof yourself, it’s not always bad. Europe will always be there if we want to see her. But who knows how long you’ll be in the Caribbean, and now I need to get back and see you.
    @ Jennifer. This was completely out of the blue for us too! You have no idea how many hours I spent going back and forth when Matt asked me, trying to decide what would be the best thing for us to do. Get ready for PLENTY of gut/rebuild photos, this boat is going to get torn down to it’s bones and built back up. 🙂

  7. Big change. I like the new girl. She looks like a nice future cruiser. I would love to hear Matt’s version of story.

    We have been watching a video blog called Untie the Lines about a German girl who is doing some solo cruising on an aluminum hull. I love the idea of taking an older aluminum boat and gutting it to set it up like we would want. But I think we will go for a multihull if/when we go for another boat.

    Looks like we might be in Florida around the same time getting ready for a Bahamas jump. We were already planning to try and meet up with the Skelton Crew. So hopefully we can meet up with you guys too. But that would be plans and we don’t want to make those either. 😉

    Fair winds and I hope you make it back across in less time.


  8. Too funny! You guys sound just like us. I like to blog and Carl likes to shop for new boats on yachtworld. We were talking last night that I’m not excited about doing the NW passage, me: our plans always change, I’m sick of getting excited over plans that never come to fruition. Even more funny is that we went to see that 48′ aluminum boat in RI. We were going to put an offer in but couldn’t get back in contact with the broker, they had a bunch of offers on the table so I guess they weren’t excepting new ones. Had a great layout! Good luck on your way back over.

  9. Oh no, Carly, you just put back back into his depression! Ha, now he’s really upset that we didn’t get the 48 ft boat in Rhode Island, knowing the current interest in it. You’re the 2nd or 3rd person that’s told us they looked at it and it looks like a nice boat.
    About making plans, it used to drive me crazy when the small ones wouldn’t work out just after we’d left, and after a year or so I go used to that. But now when the big ones don’t even work out? Yes, I’ve realized I can’t even make those anymore. Good luck with the NW Passage, I bet it’s going to be beautiful!

  10. I’m a little behind on the news here. Congrats on the new boat! I knew someday you’d have to move up. You’ve been getting everything you can get out of Serendipity. The new boat will better match your ambitions.

  11. Pingback: We Bought a new Boat! | Matt & Jessica's Sailing Page

  12. hi…you have a very interesting and informative blog. Thanks for all the time you put into it.
    After a lifetime or two of designing and racing sailboats, I have set off cruising and I must say it’s quite different from racing…different things to learn and master. Thanks

  13. Pingback: Throwback Thursday: Our Never Ending Atlantic Crossing: Aka We Bought a New Boat & We’re Headed Back to Florida | Matt & Jessica's Sailing Page

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