It’s been a while since I’ve written a post here – blogging has gone out of fashion in recent years (in fact a long time ago) in favor of social media apps like Instagram and Facebook. For that reason, and because putting together a well-formatted blog post with high quality photos is a lot of work, I’ve focused more on Instagram/Facebook updates.
But we do have some big news to share which will change a lot – we’re getting a bigger boat! A 2003 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 43 Deck Salon (DS).
The last year and a half in Alaska made it clear that we could use some more space. Our C&C Landfall 38 has been a fantastic first boat for the past 7 years (with 5 years living aboard), but 38 feet started to feel small in Alaska. Our storage needs grew as we took up fishing, and the cold weather demanded more clothing and self-sufficiency (time between ports grew to 3 weeks at times, rather than 2 weeks down south in BC/WA).
It’s very hard to give up a boat that we put so much work and love into. But as my grandfather always said, “love people, not things.” A boat is just a tool we use to explore nature and fulfill dreams. And after 7 years we had enough experience to know what we’d want in a second boat for near-year-round cruising / living aboard in the Pacific Northwest:
- A bigger berth that we can both sleep in without scrunched toes or limited shoulder space.
- More storage space
- More windows to let light in (sun is rare in Southeast AK!) and take in the beautiful mountain views. With all the rainy days you spend a lot of time inside in Alaska.
- Sailing performance – our C&C was made to sail, and that’s not something we’re willing to give up.
All this added up to a few feet bigger (40-45′) and newer (>2000) – our C&C is nearing 39 years old now, and is in great shape but only because we basically did a 5 year refit on her. I don’t want to have to do that all over again with another 40 year old boat.
A few notes on the boat search process – it’s not easy right now! It’s a seller’s market, and boats are selling often within the first week of listing. This meant a boat we liked would often be off market before we could even get to it. We had hoped the “pandemic effect” on boating’s popularity would be waning – as new boaters realized boats are a ton of work and rather expensive to maintain. Plus inflation and a possible recession are heading our way, driving up loan interest rate costs. But it seems there’s no decrease in boating demand yet, and the Pacific Northwest is one of the hottest markets in the country.
One weird thing about the boat brokerage world is they usually don’t go “pending” until they’re at closing, which is 3-4 weeks after an offer has been accepted (due to the time to get surveys done and other logistics). This means many of the boats you see on YachtWorld are not actually available.
All boats are compromises, and one misperception we quickly corrected was the idea that our second boat would be the perfect boat, now that we know exactly what we want. But if you’re searching for the perfect boat, you’ll never find it. What you do want to find is a good platform that you can turn into the perfect (or near perfect) boat.
The New Boat
The new boat is a 2003 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 43DS (DS meaning deck saloon). It already has an Alaska pedigree, the previous owners having taken it to Alaska about 8 times, plus trips to the west coast of Vancouver Island. Deck saloons (or deck salons, either label seems to be used) interested us because they have bigger windows – kind of like a pilothouse, except you don’t drive/sail (helm) from inside as with a pilothouse design. The idea of enjoying our morning coffee with a view of a snow-capped mountain sounded very appealing. Yet we steered away from pilothouse designs because we love to sail, and most pilothouses feel more like motor-sailors (how do you trim the genoa sheet while helming inside?).
We quickly learned DS means many different things depending on the manufacturer and design. Some feature a raised salon, some don’t. And some of the newer deck salon models have windows that we couldn’t see out of without standing or kneeling on a couch (settee) – due to our 5’6″-5’7″ height, with new boats being designed for 6’0″+ people.
Some other great things about it that we’ll love are:
- An electric windlass – no more raising anchor and chain in 80′ deep anchorages with a hand cranked windlass!
- Big fridge and freezer, with a front-loading door for more convenient access.
- Webasto heating system operated with the push of a button!
- A swim step
- In-mast mainsail furling – this will take some getting used to, and may be a slight performance handicap, but being able to reef more easily will be very handy
- Great engine access
- Centerline aft queen berth
- A dedicated shower space
- Tons more storage space
- Much larger water tankage (140 gallons from 50)
- Larger diesel tankage (52 gallons from 16)
- Minimal exterior teak (no teak toerails or handrails). The cockpit is teak floored which is unfortunate but unavoidable.
- More seating options / space and a dining table that can be left open / up.
We’re planning to head back to Southeast Alaska (Juneau is still our new home port) in April/May. In the meantime, we’ve got a lot of work cut out for us. The new boat is cruise ready, but it wasn’t used as a full-time off-grid cruising boat and could use some self sufficiency upgrades and modernization (in electronics mostly). We’ll increase the solar from 220w to much more, add an inverter, a battery monitor, cell booster, and maybe do lithium batteries eventually. We’re also thinking about our next dinghy – changing out our PortaBote for something else – and maybe adding davits.
With the new boat, it’s daunting how much there is to learn / re-learn – rig, sails, engine, electrical, water system, waste plumbing, galley, storage, propane system, steering system. But we’re very excited about what lays ahead!
In other news, if you’re looking for a well maintained 1984 C&C Landfall 38 for cruising the PNW (or even the world) at an affordable price, we’ll have one for sale soon!