Posted by: Dawna Bate | August 28, 2012

Out and About

Our lives have always been pretty ordinary. We have always been happy staying at home, not having too much going on except for our hobbies and our family and friends. Grocery shopping on Thursdays, laundry on Fridays. We used to joke when our daughter was younger because she would go for a sleep-over at a friend’s or a grandparent’s house and we would still do laundry on Friday nights. We tend to be home bodies and don’t get out and about that much. And we’re fine with that.

One summer Sunday in 2006, we did manage to get out on a boating date with our friends Jeff and Heather. The plan was to drive down to St. Catharines, launch their powerboat at the Dalhousie Yacht Club and motor up to Niagara-on-the-Lake. The only problem was that when we got there, it was raining. One place that you do not want to be is in a boat on the water in the rain. (I’ve learned that lightening can travel 50 miles across the surface of the clouds!)

While standing in the rain at the yacht club trying to decide if it was us or the clouds who were going to clear out of there, we visited the marina just up the road. This one had all sorts of boats “on the hard”, meaning they were out of the water and on large steel storage racks. Most of the boats were for sale and that prompted the “what if” game again. What if we owned this huge powerboat? – We wouldn’t be able to afford to put gas in it. What if we owned this beat up junker? – It probably wouldn’t float. What about this one – named Heather? Was that a good omen? Although this particular Heather looked to be in pretty rough condition. Wait a minute. What if we owned this 25′ Catalina sailboat? Out and About was its name. – Little gas, it looks like it would float, and it didn’t look like it was in too bad a shape. Suddenly, our “what if we owned this” was transforming into a “what if we really owned this”.

This is the photo used in the sales flyer when we were buying the boat

The clouds moved out, we headed out and Out and About was left behind. The boat that is, and not the thought of owning her. David and I started getting more serious about the idea. We went down the next Sunday and looked at her again. (You know you’re in trouble when you refer to a mode of transportation as ‘her’.) We found a ladder and climbed up to take a look inside. We wrote down the name of the broker selling her. And we actually called him to ask about the price.On one visit, we bailed water out of the interior cabin. (You know you’re in trouble when you start cleaning up a boat that doesn’t belong to you.) Should we have been worried that there was water inside the boat and she wasn’t even in the water?

From speaking with the broker, we found out that this poor boat had a sad history. She had an owner that really liked to sail. Unfortunately he died suddenly while still quite young. His widow had the boat hauled out and stored. And there she (Out and About, that is) sat for three years hoping someone else would be interested in her. (You know you’re in trouble when you start personifying a boat.)

After three or four visits, talking to the broker several times, having a survey done (similar to a house inspection – thankfully, we found out that the hull was sound and wouldn’t leak and the water that we bailed was caused by improper storage), trying several times to give people money and get the ownership papers, she was ours. We owned Out and About.

Now what were we going to do? Had we lost our minds? Just how much trouble were we really in?



  1. B.O.A.T. is an acronym, as you have learned. It stands for, “Bring Out Another Thou$and.

    • I hadn’t heard that one before, Joe, but it could be the title of my next post! I’ve heard “a boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into.” Either way – the experience is priceless.

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