Two Months In (North Beach, MD)

*Blink*

Two months have passed?!? December 1st feels like a biggie — winter has arrived! Snow’s in the forecast!

Brio II has been awesome. We’re still in the “getting to know you” phase of our courtship, but I think we’ve picked a solid partner. Granted our neighbors mostly tell us stories about how long she sat here and how many cigars were smoked on her, but hey every lover comes with a past, right? 😉

Toddler life on a Sabre 42 CB Sailboat

Neighbors helped us solve another mystery when they offhandedly commented, “the ducks are probably sad they can’t nest on her anymore.” Explains the copious amounts of feathers and a single perfect blue egg that I found in a cockpit cubby… You can’t make this stuff up, people.

Lazarette life on a Sabre 42 CB

A few weeks ago the wind-up clock that we’d assumed was dead suddenly chimed 2:00pm. We joked that it was like Brio II had accepted these fools weren’t going to leave her alone, so she might as well come back to life again. Scared the heck out of me when it chimed though!

The projects… well, they continue. A memory popped up on Facebook recently, reminding me of our honeymoon in the workyard when I proudly proclaimed “the boat projects will be done soon!”

Ha! I was off a little on that one 🙂

I keep a little calendar where I jot down the day’s wins… sometime they’re small, like “scrubbed all the purple bird poop off the decks in the rain” and sometimes they’re big, like, “finished running all the damn ducting for the damn Webasto” (which will be *amazing* when it’s done but holy heck if you’ve never tried to run 3-1/2″ ducting from stem to stern, you don’t know the fun you’re missing out on!!).

On particularly bad days, I note the lows too – “accomplished nothing because the manual bilge pump hose was actually full of diesel which we discovered by accident and have since spent all day cleaning up”.

Note to future self: check the manual bilge pump before you buy the boat.

Cumulatively, progress is being made. I know I’ve extolled the benefits of marginal improvements before, but it’s a mantra we cling to often. Even when you can’t see the instant results of your efforts, as long as you keep making teeny tiny improvements in the right direction, you’ll reach the day where you look around and think *damn* we’ve done a lot of work here!

Boat "progress" - nav station opened up on the Sabre 42 CB to do a little wiring work

This also applies to health (eat marginally better, move marginally more) and finances (invest a little more, spend a little less) and love (show a little more kindness, practice a little more patience). There you have it folks – Leah’s life advice in one paragraph 🙂

While we’re bragging, I need to mention my most proud achievement of late — teaching Zephyr to answer “what does Santa say?” with a very measured and adorable “ho ho ho”.

We also go to the “whee” on a daily basis (the slide), frequent the nearby beach looking for “ibby’s” (itsy-bitsy-spiders) and scan the sky for “amas” (airplanes). Watching a kid learn to talk is incredible.

We’ve celebrated two Zephyr-month-milestones (18 and 19!), had an entire Thanksgiving dinner onboard (including the smallest turkey I could find and two pumpkin pies), and made a few friends around the marina.

All in all, I’d say life on Brio II is unfolding exactly as Leah-of-the-past could (should??) have predicted… slowly, with lots of projects, lots of memories, and a few story-worthy-detours along the way.

And hey, maybe one of these days we’ll actually leave the dock! Maybe-possibly-pretty please?

– LMK

A new boat for the Brio II trio! (in Rose Haven, MD)

We bought another boat!

Yes, yes, I know you’re not supposed to own two boats at once. But when I decide I’m ready to do something, I don’t like to waffle for too long. I’m more of a jump-and-figure-it-out-along-the-way type… Build your wings while you fall off the cliff, change the wheels on the bus while you’re driving down the highway, that kind of thing.

So after over a year of waffling and boat-shopping, when we found Brio II, we knew. No waffling, no ifs, no time wasted — she was the one.

We visited the boat twice, let Zephyr try out an afternoon nap in the vberth, negotiated an offer, packed as much of our stuff into Jon’s truck as we could physically fit, drove 12 hours up and down and back up to the Chesapeake, and moved onboard before we’d even officially closed on the boat.

Can you tell we were just a little bit excited??

Sabre 42' CB sailboat - interior looking aft

It’s been 4 weeks of life aboard Brio II, and we are still so HAPPY to be here. Yes, our days are full of projects, and yes, we’d love to be on the move south again — but we’re focusing on enjoying the journey, and in this case — the projects along the way!

While I don’t personally know a ton about Sabre 42’s, I’m rapidly learning. I’ll try to put together a little resource page at some point, similar to the one I’ve been curating on Nor’West 33s.

What I do know is that Sabre 42’s are Maine-built centerboard sloops, with two cabins and two heads (!!!), a cored hull and deck, tons of light and air from 8 opening hatches, and so many opening ports I haven’t actually managed to count them all yet.

Sabres also have a nice mix of traditional-feeling finishes (like a teak interior that reminds us of Brio’s beautiful woodwork) with more modern touches (like a huge comfy cockpit and spacious shower area built into the aft head).

The 42′ of length and 12’8″ of beam don’t hurt either 😉

Brio II draws 4’9″ with the board up and 8’6″ with the board down — reportedly. We already know the ICW will help us confirm our exact draft!

She was repowered in 2004 with a Westerbeke 44B, which was a big draw for us. Having the new Beta in Brio was such a source of confidence and relief, we really didn’t want to deal with another 1980s engine.

Granted we discovered a leaking exhaust manifold within the first week of ownership and our alternator refuses to put out more than 5 amps at a time, but what else is new??

In other words — we bought a diamond in the rough. Eyes wide open, knowing we’d need to tackle some fairly large and potentially-daunting projects, we pulled the trigger on a bit of a fixer-upper.

We may regret this at some point 😉

But when faced with the choice of a boat loan for an “already refit” Sabre 42 or buying one that needed some love for cash, the answer — for us, at least — was easy. Sweat equity, patience and persistence are tools we’re very familiar with, and we hope they’ll pay off in this instance too. (Remind me of this when I’m whining about how much work Brio II is, okay? 😉 )

It also means that we don’t have quite as much pressure to get the original Brio ready to sell and listed. Our intention is to eventually sail Brio II down to Lady’s Island, finish moving off of Brio, get her listed, and then hang around the area for a few months while we (hopefully!) sell Brio and likely do more projects on Brio II (deck core replacement, anyone??).

Obviously plans are subject to change and random new whims by the crew 🙂 But that’s where we’re at currently.

More to come as we dig into our new home!

– LMK

Musings on Life at 17 Months and 32 Years (in Beaufort, SC)

Zephyr turned 17 months and I turned 32 last week. I have to keep doing the math to figure out how old I am, which is one of those things I thought only *really* old people did, so not sure what to make of that 😉

Sailboat life in a dinghy with a toddler

We drove back up to Maryland last week (Zephyr now thinks of the truck as his 4th home), 12 hours each way from Beaufort, to look at a few potential “Brio II’s”. We’ve been looking for the “perfect” Brio II for about two years now, and honestly I’m not sure we’ll ever find her… but I think what we’ve both realized is that we are VERY EXCITED by the prospect of a bit more space, a couple cabins to spread out (and close the doors) on, new projects and a new empty canvas to make our mark.

I look around Brio and see a boat that has been completely transformed since we bought her 8 years ago… we’ve touched almost every system, refit almost every major component of her… but we just can’t make her any bigger.

Toddler climbing the companionway on a Nor'West 33 sailboat liveaboard

I realize what a ridiculous privilege it is to be able to sit here and complain about the size of our floating home while contemplating buying a second boat, so I have to acknowledge that our life has been blessed in so many ways already… a bigger Brio has just been a huge dream!

Shh baby napping

This is the “shhhh Zephyr is napping 4′ away from here!” face. Very well practiced by his parents!

In the interim, as boat shopping continues and the weather slowly, slowly cools down (now in the high 80’s instead of the high 90’s… a much appreciated change!), life marches on.

The latest baby updates:

Toddler and daddy in dinghy in Beaufort, SC near Lady's Island Marina

Zephyr is super into water right now, and will happily spend hours playing in the sink with a measuring cup and a spoon, or in the cockpit with the hose, or in the marina lounge’s kitchen sink.

It’s a fantastic way to keep him busy, right up until the point that you need him to do something else… hell hath no fury like a toddler whose water has been taken away!

He’s slowly adding words to his vocabulary, including a few of his own making… “ama” (airplane), “me-me” (milk), “ba-ba” (unknown but he says it very determinedly haha!).

He’s also getting better at navigating docks and decks on his own. I refuse to let him outside without a lifejacket on — the one “rule” I won’t compromise on, after a few too many tragic stories too close to home — but I fully expect he’ll fall in the water at some point, it’s just a question of when. At least with his lifejacket on we can haul him out and dry him off, and it gives us a handy spot to tie Kevin to (the elephant Z can’t live without).

And it’s nice to watch him race around the deck of a bigger boat, comfortably making his way around shrouds and sheets, popping his head down a hatch to peek inside.

The one thing we’re completely agreed on is that this is the life we want to give our little man… a life afloat, with lots of time together, lots of time outside and in tune with nature and the weather and the creatures around us, and without a ton of “stuff”.

Not that you’d believe the “stuff” part of you looked in the back of Jon’s truck right now… “like real gypsies” my dad exclaimed, when he saw the piles of our crap.

We don’t travel light, but we do travel often!

Lastly… In case you want to wait on pins and needles with us… we’ve got a Brio II in the works that I am REALLY hoping we can finalize and share more about soon 🙂

I’ll keep the Zephyr pics coming until the paperwork is signed, but then Z might have to share the limelight with Brio II…

Living the two-boat-dream,

– LMK



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