Back in 2008, I had left Phoenix (and Niccolea – my bestie and neighbour) to head to baking school in Portland. When that looked sketchy, I just went to work as a baker for a while and eventually I got a job for a small financial services company and settled into life in the Pacific Northwest. I went hiking, camping, snowboarding, learned about disc golf and craft beers and cooler temperature pacific beaches – I was hooked on life here and decided that Oregon was definitely the place for me and made it my home base.
It was while working in back office finance, doing charge-backs for small banks and credit unions, I had decided it was time to buy a boat. I had dreamed of circumnavigating since I was 9 years old and we went out sailing on our boat as a family the first time – and there seemed no time like the present. I worked 9-5, I had a little extra money, I thought a project boat would be ideal. So I poked around on Craigslist and found one. I paid $600 for the first one and parked it in a garage shop to work on it over the winter. Just after I bought the boat (we’ll call her Bittachon) I was downsized, but that just seemed like the perfect time to work on changing how my life was going.
I actually lived in the garage and worked on Bittachon for 6 months while training myself to live in a smaller space. I had a futon and a bookshelf, a camping kitchen and a wood stove, trying actively to minimize the things I really needed to live happily. I spent a lot of time cleaning the boat out, drawing up plans and trying to figure out how to make it work. The only thing missing really was a cat – Captain Nigel Shortbottom arrived at this period.
Then I decided this was not the right boat. I had succumbed to boat fever rather than looking for a boat that suited me best. I also spent a lot of time reading everything I could get my hands on about sailing instruction and techniques, after all I was a little out of practice. But the living in a small space intentionally was very helpful and I highly recommend some form of it. Thinking I had learned my lesson – I was determined to ignore boat fever – and promptly did it again.
Mind you – I hadn’t sold Bittachon yet. So now I had two sailboats in various states of disrepair. One on the coast in Astoria, and one mounted on a trailer in storage at a friend’s house. So I moved to Astoria and made a deal with the marina to live on the new boat as I had gotten a job as a baker at a local cafe. I put the other boat in trailer storage at the marina and began to make myself at home in the new boat I had dubbed “Emuna” which is Hebrew for “faith.”
A solid little CAL 25, Emuna was the size and layout I was comfortable with, having learned to sail on a Venture 25 at home on the Gulf of Mexico. Along with good clean lines came a thick laid hull and keel, she was simply much better than the drop keel previous boat. While Bittachon had managed in her prime to sail the San Francisco Bay, those days were long over. I kept Bittachon’s mast, and for good reason – having succumbed to boat fever again, Emuna didn’t have one.
Emuna had been demasted in a serious winter storm, had water damage and no mast, no engine and no power system. And yet. Something about that little boat appealed to me in a way that other CALs in the marina in better shape for roughly the same price didn’t. So I paid $1200 for a beat up boat with what I saw as a lot of promise. It simply floated in her slip like she wanted to go somewhere, and conveniently enough, so did Nigel and I. We moved in and set up house – using a camping stove in the cockpit and a cooler for refrigeration, but the V-berth was comfy and the futon mattress made a great couch. I hooked up the shore power with a little help and that was that.
Thanks for reading!