Camp Orkila Week

Getting the kids to Camp Orkila is a long day with the drive to Anacortes, the ferry ride to Orcas Island, the bus ride to camp is not a fun ordeal for the parents. For the kids’ week at Camp Orkila this year, we could take the boat straight to Camp Orkila and have a lot more fun doing it. So we took our kids plus Ohana, Bowie and Iris on the boat.

I spent the night on the boat the night before and got up at 6am and prepared the boat so we could leave as early as possible. Everyone started arriving just before 7am and we got everyone on board and left the dock at 7:30am, went straight through the Locks and after a very foggy and slow trip through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, arrived at Camp Orkila just before 1pm.

Going through the small lock
Camp Orkila

After getting the kids registered, Gay and I took a slow cruise to Deer Harbor to spend the night.

The next day, we went to Roche Harbor for two nights. The first night, Gay’s cousin and his wife, who were staying at their vacation house on Henry Island, came over to Roche for dinner with us.

We went back to Orkila for a night and to drop our crab pots, then to Eastsound for a night where we had dinner at the Outlook Inn.

Eastsound Bay on Orcas Island

The next day, we went around the east side of Orcas Island and north to Sucia Island for a night. The next morning, we continued our circumnavigation of Orcas back to Orkila to pick up the kids.

HIJ4

The Schuberts acquired a hard-to-get reservation for the SYC’s Henry Island July 4th (HIJ4) weekend but needed a boat to get there. We volunteered our boat or they invited us, depending on how you look at it.

All 12 of us — the 5 of us, Ken & Karen Schubert, their daughter Caci and her friend (Tobin was away at camp), Havana’s friend Mira, Hudson’s friend Bowie and Eva’s friend Iris — left Lake Union at 7:30am and arrived at Henry Island around 2:30pm, just in time for the wine-tasting.

Gay & Figurati at Henry Island

Sunday, July 3rd was a rainy day so all the outdoor events were canceled and we all spent the whole day on the boat playing cards, chatting, making lunch and dinner, me watching the TDF, etc. 10 people on the boat all day was not crowded.

On July 4th, before the fireworks began, Ken and I took Eva and Iris and hitched a ride on someone else’s tender to Roche Harbor to watch the traditional “colors” ceremony, which is the taking-down of the flags. There were so many boats in the harbor you could walk from boat to boat to get ashore!

Eva and Iris
Colors ceremony at Roche Harbor

The tender captain had drank a bit too much and he agreed to let Eva drive the boat back to Henry Island. She did just that, for the most part, despite the chaos of getting out of the harbor.

Fireworks at Roche Harbor

Figurati on its way!

The boat was loaded on the cargo ship, Glen Scotia, today.

Our boat being loaded on a bigger boat

I learned about the Jones Act, a 1920 US protectionist law that makes it illegal for a foreign-owned shipping company to both pickup and drop-off within the US. Because the boat was picked up in Florida, the cargo ship has to deliver it to Canada, meaning Victoria, BC. Hamid also sold a Cranchi 52 located in Miami to a buyer in California and it is going on the same boat today and will be delivered to Ensanada, Mexico. It’s another example of a law meant to help US workers but has the opposite effect – trying to keep foreign companies, who can pay low wages, from “unfairly” competing with US companies, they prevent American ship and dock workers from earning a wage, make it easier for foreign companies to continue to pay their workers low wages, send what would be US import taxes to other countries, increases enforcement costs in the US and harms the companies who it’s trying to help by preventing them from competing and getting better. Politicians should not pretend to be economists.

I also learned why cargo ships are registered in unusual countries, i.e., they sail under a “flag of convenience”. This cargo ship sails under the flag of Liberia. To avoid US labor laws, shipping companies register their ships in countries that don’t have strong labor laws, like Liberia, which is an interesting story. Liberia is a tiny and poor country and doesn’t have much of an economy and the workers on these cargo ships don’t have great wages or benefits, but at least they are paid more than they’d make at home and Liberia has a significant (for them) source of revenue.

I’m guessing it’ll take 4-5 weeks to get to Victoria. When it arrives in Victoria, we will go with a captain to pick it up in Victoria and drive it down to Seattle.

M/V Figurati

We are officially the owners of our 2nd boat (3rd if you count the kayak), a 2022 Azimut 60 Flybridge! We haven’t even touched it yet and now we wait for it to be put on a ship and be delivered to Seattle.

Figurati is an Italian word that literally translates to “imagine that” or “picture that” and used the way an American might incredulously say “Can you believe it?!”. Colloquially, it means “It’s not a big deal”, “don’t worry about it” or “no worries” the way Americans might answer a thank-you. The lucky circumstances around us finding it and being a reminder that even when things seem to be going wrong, life works out right, made “Figurati” feel right to me. It’s also one word, sounds like it’s spelled and should be easy to use over VHF radio.

Hamid and the boat
Photo by seller’s broker moored in Jupiter, Florida

Specs

The boat is 60-feet long and 15-feet wide, has 3 bedrooms, each sleeps 2, plus a crew cabin with one twin bed, so it sleeps 7 people. It has ensuite bathrooms in the owner’s bedroom and in the VIP bedroom. The starboard bedroom with two twin beds has a bathroom that is shared as a day bathroom. The crew cabin, accessed from the swim platform, also has a bathroom.

It has a huge flybridge with a two-seat helm on the port side, a sun pad, a dining table, three couches aft, a refrigerator, ice maker, sink and a barbecue grill. I don’t think there’s a 60-foot boat with as large a flybridge. The salon has two couches, a dining table with a huge floor-to-ceiling window, and a large galley with a large refrigerator, a Miele induction stove and combo microwave/convection oven and a wine fridge (we will probably add a dishwasher). The cockpit has U-shaped seating and dining table. The bow has a large couch and coffee table and a sun pad which can be converted to an aft-facing couch to create an even larger seating area. There’s so much space for seating all over the boat. Azimut boats now have the same canopy and carbon fiber poles that act as a shade on the bow that I really like on our Cranchi and this one has them too.

It’s powered by two Volvo-Penta D13-900 diesel engines, has a top speed of 31 knots and a cruising speed of 26 knots. The lower helm to starboard also has two seats. Bow and stern thrusters and a joystick make it very maneuverable and easy to dock. And a Seakeeper gyroscope stabilizer keeps it steady in bumpy water, which should be nice for sleeping. It also has a YachtController remote control that makes it possible to maneuver the boat from anywhere on the boat, making docking that much easier.

Thanks to carbon fiber construction above the hull, there are huge windows everywhere, even in the bedrooms, that bring so much light inside that wasn’t even possible on boats that are just 5 years old. And the interior design and furnishings have the Italian style and European attention to details that I find missing in American-made boats.

It’s about time

I’ve dreamed about having a yacht since the summer I traveled in Greece when I was 19. I spent a lot of time in port towns on the islands that summer where you can’t avoid seeing all the boats in the marinas. I’d imagine how incredible it’d be to have a yacht when I’m old(er) that you could sleep on and sail around the Greek islands and across the Mediterranean. I made no progress on this goal at all, I kept postponing it while life went on. When we bought our first boat, my plan was to enjoy it for a year or two and then get a bigger boat that we could sleep on during multi-day trips exploring the towns and islands of Puget Sound and British Columbia. And to get practice for a yacht in the Mediterranean.

My father died at the end of 2020 and less than a year later, my mother unexpectedly died. These were reminders to me that life is too damn short and I committed to no longer postponing these goals. I don’t know how many summers I have left and our kids are getting older quickly, so I decided to not spend another summer dreaming about having a yacht one day. I like the saying “it’s better to have memories than dreams” and I made my goal for this winter to buy a yacht.

Hamid, the Cranchi dealer who sold me our first boat, kept in touch with me and when I decided to shop for yachts, he helped me by giving me advice on boats and negotiating the prices, teaching me about the industry, helping me with research, etc. Hamid has been a yacht broker for 35 years and was an Azimut dealer for many years before switching to Cranchi. He would have preferred I bought a Cranchi, but helped me go through boats from Azimut, Princess, Sunseeker and others. It took 9 months, looking at boats, making offers on several boats, even doing marine surveys on a couple. Hamid was very patient with us and our slow decision-making.

We were in contract on another Azimut 60 and on the day of the marine survey the crane at the shipyard broke, so we couldn’t finish the inspection. The frustrating 2-week delay turned out to be lucky because the inspection turned up things that made us uncomfortable and the delay gave us just enough time for this better spec’d boat and brand new boat to come on the market. Figurati! Hamid found it and we moved quickly, negotiating a deal to buy it within 24 hours. It was completed in December 2021 and shipped from Italy and it arrived in Jupiter March 16, 2022. The owner never took delivery of it because he bought an Azimut 68 while waiting for it to be delivered. Because of this, Azimut is giving us the full warranty, rather than a warranty transfer, including the 3-year “Peace of Mind” Azimut warranty that the dealer offers. Figurati!

Coincidentally, our friends, neighbors (and boat-owners) Deirdre and Patrick were on vacation in, of all places, Jupiter, Florida and were able to go check it out for us. Figurati! They got an hour-long walk-through with the seller’s broker while I participated on FaceTime.

Deirdre on the Flybridge with Dan, the selling broker

I hope it has a safe and quick trip from Florida to Seattle! Now I have to find moorage for it…

25 years in Seattle

Today is the 25th anniversary of my first day at Microsoft. I remember this date because I started on March 3rd, or 3/3, and 3 is my favorite number. It’s significant to me because I moved to Seattle a few days before that (not a memorable date), a place I expected to live five years at most, and I met the person who became my best friend, wife and the mother of my kids few days after that. It’s a life-changing event for me that wasn’t well thought-out or appreciated at the time but appears perfectly planned in retrospect.

In 2 years I will have lived in Seattle half my life. I find this remarkable because I still feel like Seattle is fairly recent in my life and living in Virginia before that still feels like a much longer part of my life. Time sure does fly by the older you get.

Miami

For the kids’ mid-winter break, we took off to Miami for the week. We’ve never been to Miami before, we wanted warmer weather and Miami has literally tons (note the rare correct use of “literally”, boats each weigh many tons) of boats to look at. To our surprise, Seattle was hit with a cold snap a day after we left and even had snow!

Our flight left at 9pm on Sunday and we arrived at 6am on Monday in Miami, which was 3am to us. None of us slept on the plane so we were all tired. We got to the hotel at 7:30am and were lucky enough to be able to get into our room at 1 Hotel. We all took morning naps and then went down to a cabana at the hotel pool and spent the afternoon there. No one wears masks in Miami, it’s as if Covid doesn’t exist!

Miami Beach
Our room at 1 Hotel in South Beach

We had sushi dinner on the hotel’s rooftop restaurant, Watr. That was very good.

Sushi at Watr

Our yacht broker, Hamid, flew in from LA and we met him Tuesday morning at the Miami Beach Marina — 20 minutes to drive 2 miles! — to look at a boat we’re interested in. Then to another boat nearby, then lunch and then to a third boat in Coconut Grove. This took all day because traffic in Miami is insane.

On Wednesday, we chartered a yacht, an Azimut 64 named Olimpo, for the afternoon cruising the waters around Miami and anchoring near Key Biscayne for hanging out.

We had a great and fun Greek dinner at Poseidon, I think the kids even liked it and they don’t like Greek food (yet).

Poseidon in Miami Beach

We did nothing but go to the beach on Thursday and Friday and hang out at the beach and the pool. Our last night, we had dinner at Tom Colicchio’s Habitat in the hotel, which I had been looking forward to all week but it was the least good food we had had all week.

Havana Lager

It’s funny, there’s a Hudson Pale Ale (from New Jersey Beer Co) and a Havana Lager (from Concrete Beach Brewery). I couldn’t resist getting a beer named after our daughter.

5 years of Peloton

I remember when I was tired of using our elliptical machine, that I’d been using for 7 years or so, and was looking for something new. I’ve always liked cycling and wished there was an exercise bike, but in my experience, there wasn’t a good one. But there was a new small company called Peloton that had an interesting bike with a screen on it. It was for spinning classes, something I’d never done and didn’t even like the idea: do what you’re told to do when they tell you to do it. Nevertheless, on November 20, 2016 I ordered it. It was delivered on November 26, 2016 and I did my first two rides and rode it practically every day since. I did my 5th annual Thanksgiving “Turkey Burn” ride yesterday.

I’ve done 1,982 rides and I’m on a 125-week streak. We added a Peloton Tread in February 2020. The bike has been maintenance-free too, I’ve never had a problem with it and aside from wiping it down after I use it, it doesn’t require any maintenance at all. I’ve watched the company grow and become a household name, I’ve seen instructors come and go, some of which have become minor celebrities, I’ve bought several pieces of Peloton apparel (which are all high quality), I beta-tested their new cycling shoes this year which they let me keep and I bought 20 shares of PTON stock several months ago. I’m a fan.

Coincidentally, they’re having a Black Friday sale for $350 off the new Bike+ and $700 off for trading in my current bike. So on my 5th anniversary, I treated myself to the new bike. It’s scheduled for delivery in 7 days, December 3rd.