We bought a second boat!

Our beloved Ayala, a Fair Weather Mariner 39, is undergoing extensive work at the Berkeley Marine Center – we are changing the bottom to Coppercoat and doing other regularly scheduled maintenance, while working on replacing the diesel engine with an electric motor, adding an arch and significant solar, and moving to electric-powered cooking.

In the best of times, these would be complex and time-consuming projects. With COVID-19, the process has stretched on for months, without a clear end in sight.

The Berkeley Marine Center – reasonably – is not allowing DIY projects for the foreseeable future.

The shipwright for our re-power lives outside the Bay Area and – understandably – does not want to travel for work right now.

Together, that means that progress is glacial, and we cannot control when we will be back in the water.

We can’t work on Ayala, and we can’t live on Ayala either. We would not want to live in the air for this long, and the BMC’s safety protocol forbids liveaboard during the pandemic.

Since our haul-out in May, we have been living in an apartment in Oakland. We have been very lucky – it is spacious, private, in a beautiful building, with wonderful light and views. The house is east of Lake Merritt and on top of a hill, so on the 4th of July we watched a huge, uncoordinated fireworks show. It was spectacular, and so close to our windows that it often felt more like artillery than firecrackers.

Charles started living on a boat full time in 2012, and I moved onboard permanently in 2014. At first it felt novel to be living back on land, but the novelty of apartment life wore off fast.

We miss sailing. We miss the marina, and our neighbors. We miss the water, and our view. We miss having our own space.

The apartment owner was awesome and really understanding, letting us plan week-to-week for the first few months. But without an end to the health crisis, the owner wanted a more stable arrangement for the winter – and we wanted to stop planning week-to-week.

So, we decided to buy a boat.

Rent in the Bay Area is expensive, and it would be hard to find another flexible situation for less than 6 months. We put together a spreadsheet for all our costs would be to rent an apartment for 5-6 months, and came up with a comparable budget for buying an interim boat and started checking Craigslist.

Almost instantly, I found an Islander 32 MK II, a masthead sloop in ready-to-sail condition, with a working engine, good maintenance records, and a cozy interior. Charles contacted the owner immediately, and set up a showing for that afternoon. By 3 p.m. that day, we were the new owners of an Islander!

The Islander Mark II is a Robert Perry boat, as is our Fair Weather Mariner. 32 feet is right between our first boat, Duende (a Contest 28) and our second boat, Manzanita (a Catalina 36), so we should be right at home.

Despite an incoming heat wave, we are planning to move in the next few days, and be sailing in the very near future!

We are so excited to be headed back to the water, back to boat life, and be closer to Ayala’s projects without feeling so pressured for time.