As I sit in the cockpit at night after work, I notice that the days are getting shorter. Though I hate to think about it, I'll soon have to face the fact that For Us will need to get into her winter pajamas and take a much deserved winter nap. Though I relish each new season, this season will be especially hard to say good-bye to this year. Having a boat to play with has made this past summer one that will never be forgotten. The new friends made, new vistas and trips experienced and the sheer joy of looking up at a clear blue sky have given a new meaning to life.
Towards the end of September, Tom and I attended our first TrawlerFest, held in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. You remember that in June, 2009 we were a day early but still got to see the boats. This time we arrived in time for the whole event. Though we were anxious to see what other trawlers looked like and how they performed, we made a beeline upon arrival to the Kadey Krogen trawlers participating in TrawlerFest. What are they doing at this event you're wondering, right? During the course of the summer and after the many wonderful hours spent aboard For Us, Tom and I began to get a feeling that maybe we needed a bigger boat. We loved to have friends aboard and sometimes there just wasn't enough room for everyone at once. Let's just have a look the captain and I said quietly to each other (we didn't want For Us to overhear this plan).
Well, we looked, and we looked - and we talked to the Kadey Krogen folks and sat on their boats - and during the long drive back to Long Island, we made the decision to trade up to a bigger boat. Though we initially thought we would purchase the newly designed (and yet to be built) 52, we soon realized that we couldn't bear to miss a boating season while waiting for our boat to be built. Once we arrived home, a barrage of phone calls between us and Kadey Krogen folks ensued - and I mean a barrage! Not only one call a day, mind you - many, many calls a day. Not only was everyone helpful and very, very patient, they were excited and genuinely happy for us. The saying that timing is everything is not trite, not in any way, believe me. As it turns out, Kadey Krogen was just completing hull number 4850 in Taiwan; the boat was due to be placed aboard a freighter bound for Seattle where it would be offloaded and appear in a boat show and hopefully be sold in a matter of a few weeks. Time was of the essence if we wanted the boat diverted to Florida instead.
When all is said and done, it all comes down to money and time. If we wanted to purchase this new boat, we had to do a few things, none of them quick and easy. The most difficult of the choices was to put For Us up for sale or sell her back to Kadey Krogen - and soon. When this idea was first presented, I cried a river of tears. How does one just say good-bye to a dear and trusted friend? I felt disloyal, ungrateful and selfish - all at the same time! I knew selling her would not be a problem, either by ourselves or giving her back in trade to Kadey Krogen. It was the severance of a true bond that I couldn't face. As the days moved on, we were faced with a decision that had to be made. True to their reputation for both business acumen and fairness, the KKY folks helped us along as best they could. On November 15th, a year and 10 days after we bought For Us, we decided to purchase the 48 North Sea and give our beloved girl back to her original family.
To illustrate how quickly things happened, get this... That Monday, November 15, For Us was scheduled to be shrink wrapped. She had already been professionally winterized, her dinghy's outboard removed and stored. "Oh no" we said to each other after hanging up with the KKY folks, maybe the shrink wrap team was delayed. After all, didn't our dock neighbor wait 10 days? Tuesday morning, I frantically drove to the marina and tottered onto the dock all dressed for work (today's outfit necessitated heels) only to see the specter of For Us replete in her winter pajamas! Since this blog is within public view, I can't tell you what I said when I saw that, but needless to say, the air above my head was blue! We just tossed many hundreds of dollars overboard, so to speak. As if that wasn't crazy enough, when I got to work a message from Tom was waiting - For Us was leaving us that coming weekend!
That week passed in a blur of phone calls, emails, text messages - every form of communication known to man. I guess you could say that neither the KKYFor Us. On Saturday, the captain who would take her to Annapolis was arriving and it would be time to say good-bye.
On Saturday November 20th, I cleaned my already immaculate boat, took lots of pictures and walked slowly around the entire boat, reliving the most wonderful summer of my life. I made a promise that I would never forget my sweet girl and would be sure she was adopted by a loving family who would enjoy her and love her as we did. Soon thereafter, the captain arrived with his crew, my husband following close behind. They were properly impressed with For Us and said all the right things. After touring the boat and becoming acquainted with all her systems, it was time for us to leave. Luckily we were all heading to a nice dinner in town, so I focused on that as I dragged myself out the aft door, onto the back porch where I had enjoyed many wonderful times and off the boat for the last time. My eyes were filled with tears as I looked back to take a final glimpse of the most wonderful boat bobbing innocently in her slip, not knowing what the next day would bring.
Our captain Ian, was not only professional and capable, but understanding of how Tom and I felt about our boat. We received daily updates as they made their way south and heaved a collective sigh of relief when Ian informed us they had docked and all was well. And so this chapter of our new lives as boaters comes to a close, leaving us the better people for having loved For Us.