Although our trip isn’t over, we have been steady reflecting on things we can do better next time and things that went well this time too :) Trust me when I say that we have a nice little list of improvements to make on Journey once we get home, but overall, our boat choice was by far the biggest of all of our successes!
JR and I battled between buying a cheap boat that needed lots of work or a good boat that was ready to go. There are pros and cons to both options and I’m not convinced that either choice is “cheaper,” but we did know what it was like to own a boat already, and seeing some of the “fixer-uppers” that were on the market made us consider the cost of time as well. When we were boat shopping, JR kept saying, “I just want to buy a boat from someone like me!” Humble, I know, but what he meant was he wanted a boat that was really well taken care of. Enter David and Peg.
When we went to go see Journey, we had no business being there. She was a bit out of our price range, but there was a cheaper O’Day about 4 hours away. We said, “Let’s go see this one and decide if the 4 hour trip is worth it.” But when we climbed aboard Journey for the first time, we knew that this boat was loved. To say David and Peg took care of this boat is an understatement. It also helped that they had done the Bahamas trip twice on Journey already! We hit the jackpot and never made that 4 hour trip.
Here is a list (incomplete, I’m sure) of the many things that made Journey “the one.”
a) Great electronics – Journey came equipped with a chart plotter, auto-pilot, wind gauge, 2 depth sounders, and radar. They also had the capability of communicating with each other. Although David chose not to let them “talk,” JR jumped at the opportunity to sync the electronics and loves that he can put a route into the chart plotter and then let the boat do the driving or use the wind gauge to stay on a particular point of sail so that we don’t have to do any sail trimming. We also met some folks who gave JR a free copy of this software that lets him plot courses on our laptop then transfer them to the chart plotter, which then tells the boat where to go. How cool!?
b) Depth sounders – Because Journey’s chart plotter has a fish-finder sonar feature which doubles as a depth sounder too, we actually have 2 different depth sounders with transducers on either side of the boat. JR has become and expert at finding the deepest water in the tricky parts of the ICW by reading both depth sounders as he sails back and forth in the channel. We LOVE having 2 depth sounders. The sonar feature also helps figure out what type of bottom is under the boat which has been very helpful in anchoring.
c) Windlass – Worth its weight in gold. I can’t even imagine pulling that beast of an anchor up by hand. I admire our friends who do it, especially the ladies, but thank goodness I don’t have to!
d) Indoor comfort – Thank goodness that David and Peg did some reflecting as well! They added details to Journey that we wouldn’t have thought of until we’d taken her to the Bahamas ourselves! The propane heater was WONDERFUL to have heading down the ICW last winter. The four strategically placed fans have been a Godsend on our way back north (it’s freakin’ hot.) The red LED lights in the galley and the head are awesome during our overnight sails (we added one in the V-birth as well.) Although we barely used it, it was cool to have the TV antenna for those cold nights in November. The outdoor folding table got more use than our indoor one. The small grill was perfect for 2 people. David and Peg also installed electronic tank monitors and although they aren’t always 100% accurate, they are close enough! These monitors tell us how much water is left in each of our tanks and how full our holding tank is. They are super helpful!
e) Inverter – Journey came with an inverter which, like the windlass, is worth its weight in gold. With all of the portable electronics we brought with us, the inverter gets used EVERY SINGLE DAY. We also feel like the 12 volt chargers have been a little hard on things like the iPhone and iPad, so it’s nice to be able to juice them up on regular AC power.
f) Fridge/Freezer – Although our fridge/freezer died when we were in Bimini (it was 10 plus years old!) we replaced it with essentially the same one. We met a few people that went fridgeless, but, much like the windlass, that wasn’t for us! The new fridge is much more efficient and just big enough for necessities. We even manage to make ice!
g) Dinghy lift and motor lift – Journey just isn’t shaped right for davits. David and Peg installed a great system for putting the dink on deck and launching the dinghy motor. It took us no time to figure out the routine and we can get the dink launched or put away in about 30 minutes. Having that procedure already set up is priceless. I guess the fact that Journey came with a dink and a decent motor is a perk in itself!
h) Two Propane Tanks – Our stove and heater run on propane. We have two 11 lb. propane tanks that are stored nicely in our propane lockers in the cockpit. Having two is awesome. We had a friend who ran out of propane on a Sunday (the bus didn’t run on Sunday!) and I was all, “Use your other tank!” and they were all, “We only have one.” Ooops. I totally took that for granted :)
i) Bimini and Dodger – Although the thread is getting weak and the fabric is a little seepy, our bimini and dodger have held up great. Again, we know a few people who have gone without, but no thanks, we are very spoiled now! Keeping the sun and waves out of your face are essential. They also made the perfect home for our solar panels (not yet installed in the pic below!)
j) Labeled Hoses, Wires, and Messenger Wires – When JR started looking through the wiring on Journey, I swear he looked like a kid in a candy store. We absolutely bought our boat from someone like JR, thorough! David had labeled every wire and every hose and everything else that can be labeled! He even labeled messenger wires just in case we needed to run something else somewhere else :) When JR was installing the solar panels, he ran the wires right to the spot that was already labeled “solar panels!”
k) Spares – Even though David and Peg bought another cruising boat, they didn’t go out and try to sell every little extra thing on Journey to pad their cruising kitty. Instead, they left a bunch of extra goodies for us! We didn’t even know they were including these bonus items as part of the deal until we got Journey home and starting digging in lockers! There were extra fuel filters, oil filters, other miscellaneous engine spares, and even some special tools as well. It was fun to go looking through the bilge and find a whole bunch of stuff that we would ultimately need, we actually had to inventory it! We were also thankful that we didn’t have to spend the time figuring out what the right replacement parts were, they were already there for us! David and Peg also left us 7 jerry cans which came in quite handy. Score.
We <3 our Journey (and David and Peg :)