We have owned Questeria, our 37′ 1976 Irwin, for ten years now. On November 18, 2005 we signed the papers and purchased Questeria from George and Nancy.
How it All Started
A few months earlier we had no idea we would be buying a sailboat. It all started in our living room in Raleigh, NC…
The only time we used our living room in Raleigh was on Sunday mornings. The sun would shine through the front window and we would read the paper and drink coffee.
On one of those Sunday mornings we were sitting in our living room, drinking coffee and reading the paper. We saw an article saying that you could get tax breaks by owning a boat. If the boat has a head (bathroom) and galley (kitchen) you can call it a second home and take deductions from the loan. We thought we could use some tax breaks and it might be fun to have a sailboat.
A few weeks later, on another Sunday morning, we were sitting in our living room, drinking coffee and reading the paper. We saw an ad for a Caribbean cruise and decided we should go. After booking a cruise we started thinking about shore activities that we would like to do. One of the activities that caught our interest was a scuba diving trip. I should say Ron was interested because Fran had no interest in scuba diving at that time. Ron had not been scuba diving for many years and decided to take a refresher class. After the class he was reminded of how much he enjoyed diving and wanted to go visit Fran’s Uncle George in the FL Keys.
We never did take that cruise.
We went down to Marathon, FL for a week vacation. It was Ron, Fran, Mildred (Fran’s mom) and James (Fran’s brother). We had a great time diving swimming and sightseeing. George and Nancy were looking for a bigger boat and Questeria was for sale. We left for home and hadn’t even made it out of the Raleigh airport when we started negotiating a deal to buy Questeria.
Diving Right In
There was a steep learning curve. Neither Fran nor Ron had ever owned a boat and now we had a 37′ sailboat. Fortunately George knew the boat and is a very good teacher. Ron also started taking online boating classes. One Sunday morning, after drinking coffee and reading the paper we went to the boat show and found the Raleigh Sail and Power Squadron. We signed up for their boating safety class and made lots of new friends while learning boating skills. We would eventually join the squadron, go on many cruises and take most of the classes they offered.
Between November and May we made several short trips to the keys to visit our sailboat, which was anchored in Newfound Harbor. We were both employed. Fran was working for SAS and Ron was working for IBM. We had both been working for our respective companies for a while and enjoyed lots of vacation time. We used this time to learn the boat and how to drive it.
Questeria‘s New Home
In the spring of 2006 it was time to take Questeria to NC. We called this “The Big Trip“. It would not be our last time taking Questeria between FL and NC. We learned a lot making this trip; 1) we had a lot more to learn about boating, 2) we could live on a boat for three weeks without killing each other, and 3) We really like the FL keys. The important thing was that we made it from FL keys to New Bern, NC and we had a great time doing it. (Click here to view photos.)
Now that Questeria was in NC we would spend most weekends working on her. At first we would hire people to do the work, but eventually we tried to do as much for ourselves as we could. There were very few Sunday mornings spent in the living room, drinking coffee and reading the paper. We continued to take classes with the Raleigh Sail and Power Squadron and we read many books about boating and boat repair.
We were spending almost every weekend on Questeria in New Bern (about two hours from Raleigh). We seldom had time to use our living room on Sunday mornings.
We started making short cruises by ourselves and with the power squadron. We also continued to make improvements to Questeria. We took Questeria to Duck Creek and had the standing rigging replaced. We replaced the Kenmore dorm fridge with a 12v marine fridge as well as many other projects.
All this time while we are enjoying cruising and working on Questeria in North Carolina, we are thinking of how much we like the keys. In September 2009 we got the opportunity to take a boat from NC to the FL keys, not Questeria, but Fran’s uncle Ben’s boat Molly Marie II . (Click here for photos.) It wasn’t the same as taking our own boat, but we were still working and felt that we were at least a couple of years away from retirement – or so we thought.
When we get back to Raleigh Fran finds out that her company’s plans to cut some medical insurance benefits unless she retires by the end of 2009. That is what she does. Ron is not ready to retire but IBM has a much more liberal attitude about working remotely than SAS. This sets us up for selling our house in Raleigh and becoming liveaboards in New Bern, NC.
We easily adapt to living aboard, but realize that winter in North Carolina may be too cold for us. We decide to take Questeria back to the keys for the winter. We take Questeria to Bonefish Marina in Marathon and spend the winter in the keys. We are not quite ready to stay during hurricane season so we make our way back to NC in May 2011.
There were no hurricanes in the keys that year, but on August 27 hurricane Irene came through New Bern, NC. Questeria was in Northwest Creek Marina and had no damage. We stayed in Adam’s house in New Bern and were also undamaged. In October we head to the keys again. We decide that we will not leave the keys next summer and become Florida residents.
If you come to the keys you take a chance that you might catch something called “Keys Disease”. The symptoms may cause you to never return to work. Instead you will have strong urges to go fishing, diving or just hang out at the sandbar. On June 30, 2012 Ron gets a bad case of “Keys Disease” and retires from IBM. This sets the stage for planning longer cruises like the Bahamas.
We plan to go to the Bahamas in Spring of 2013. Instead we go to NC to watch Jackson while Alicia and Jeff go to Hawaii. In 2014 we drop our Bahamas plans because Alicia is expecting our fifth grandchild. Instead we plan to go to NC. In early April we make it to Fernandina Beach, FL and we get called up to NC to help. Oliver is born on June 3 and we have to decide which direction to go. We can continue to take Questeria north to NC or turn back to the keys. We decide to take Questeria back south to the keys.
It’s Been a Great Ten Years
I’ve just scratched the surface describing the last ten years on Questeria. We’ve made mistakes, but we have had a great time and learned so much. When we sold our house and moved aboard we agreed that we would give it a year and if we were not happy we would go back to living on dirt. That has not happened and we don’t see it happening for a while. We spent six weeks in the Bahamas and wish we had been there longer.
Yes, we’ve spent a lot of money making Questeria what she is today. She serves us well and takes us to places we never thought about ten years ago. We expect that she will continue to take us on amazing adventures.