But life changes. Retriever was purchased just before I left Seattle for college in Colorado. The boat was a getaway, not a full time home.
Since finishing college and moving back to the Pacific Northwest a year and a half ago, I've been "homeless." Not really, of course. I've had plenty of places to stay, but none that was my own. I spent last fall, winter, and spring primarily on Mark Bunzel's (the owner of the Waggoner Guide) 30' Tollycraft. The rest of the time I was either traveling or back at my childhood home. Economical, but not ideal.
Living on Mark's boat was a great experience. For no cost, I got a "trial run" at living aboard. I learned I definitely wanted a stall shower, an electric head, more than 50 gallons of water capacity, and additional clothing storage. I developed a wish list for what I'd want on a liveaboard boat.
Last summer's circumnavigation of Vancouver Island gave me additional perspective. A new boat needed to be economical to operate, seaworthy, and easy to maintain. No exterior teak, please. I wanted more range, too, so I wouldn't have to buy fuel at every fuel dock I passed. And a second stateroom would be perfect for guests and extra storage.
On my way back from the trip around Vancouver Island, I noticed what looked like a very nice 2001 Willard 40 for sale in Anacortes. I swung into Cap Sante and took a look. Later that week, I made an offer, but we couldn't agree on price.
In September I visited the Boats Afloat Show on Lake Union. I crawled all over a bunch of boats, and kept coming back to the 37' Nordic Tug.
Fast forward a month and I have a 2000 Nordic Tug 37 under contract. It's powered by a single 330hp Cummins diesel. At displacement speeds it gets excellent fuel economy, yet it'll still cruise at 14+ knots when needed. With 370 gallons of fuel, range worries are minimal, at least if I can keep my hand off the throttle.
The boat has a comfortable motion and is reportedly very seaworthy. A full keel protects the running gear from logs and rocks. A 600 amp hour battery bank, 2500 watt inverter, and 5.5 kw Northern Lights generator provide plenty of electricity when away from the dock. She's got a nice sized stall shower, vacuflush head, forced air diesel heat, refrigerator and freezer, four burner stove and oven, a guest bunk room. Pilothouse side doors make single handing easier, and an electric davit on the stern makes launching and retrieving the dinghy trivial.
A sea trial is scheduled for the end of this week and a survey next week. If all goes well, I'll take possession late this month or early next month. Hopefully all goes well!