The One Where We Rewind Our Boat Story Back To The Beginning

So by now you’ve probably read that we’re living on a boat. If not, check out our first Captain’s Log: The One Where We Decided To Live On A Boat.

Today I’m rewinding our boat story to the beginning for everyone who feels like they missed something. Admittedly, we flew under the radar on this one!

As I mentioned in the last post, boat ownership has always been our dream

I think it’s fair to say that Brent has been looking at boats his entire life. However, we really got serious about it in August 2019.

The very beginning of our boat story starts in August 2019 when we started looking at boats in Charlotte.

Although we weren’t quite ready to pull the trigger on a purchase, we thought it would be a good idea to look at a few boats with the kids. We hoped it would help them keep their expectations in check (the only boat they have real experience with is the Disney Dream Cruise ship!) Plus, we felt that looking at a few local boats might help us narrow down our search when the time came.

In November Brent and I attended America’s Great Loop conference. It was an intense 2 days where we learned from the best. As expected, Brent and I were the youngest two people in attendance. However, we did end up meeting 2 other couples with younger kids that will be lifelong friends.

Dinner with our new Looper friends.

At the conference we learned at lot and slept very little. Our biggest takeaway was the need to step up our boat purchase timeline! We had a definite plan to list our house in the spring, and assumed we’d get serious about buying a boat around the same time.

Fortunately, we learned that lenders don’t like to see any major life changes. Therefore, we really needed to purchase the boat before selling the house…as counterintuitive as that sounds! 

We welcomed in 2020 and our biggest issue was an overly booked calendar. Brent asked me when we had a free weekend to go look at boats, and after checking the calendar I responded “June.” 

Celebrating the beginning of 2020, a big year for us.

Obviously that wasn’t going to work!

We ended up having to divide, conquer, and rely heavily on our boat broker. One weekend Brent flew to Jacksonville while I stayed in Charlotte for all of the kids’ commitments. Another weekend Brent took the kids to Wilmington while I went to Atlanta for a girl’s weekend.

Even after looking at a lot of really awesome boats, none of them were 100% right for our family.

Then in early February a boat came on the market in Brunswick, Georgia that was similar to a boat we’d looked at in Charlotte the prior August. We literally didn’t have even 1 day free to go see it. So we ended up driving down to Brunswick late one Friday night, looking at the boat at 8AM, and then making it back to Charlotte mid-afternoon for Miller’s basketball game.

Very first glimpse at what will become our new boat.

It was way more of a fixer upper than we planned on purchasing. But we knew it was the one.We ended up making an offer and after some negotiations, we officially went under contract on it on February 14th. Valentine’s Day!

Negotiating a contract on our boat on Valentine's night.

The next month flew by in a crazy, whirlwind sort of a way. Brent made a trip to Brunswick for the inspection and sea trial. Our house went on the market and went under contract immediately. And then we traveled to Nashville for my book launch celebration with my publisher.

I’ll never forget that trip to Nashville for several reasons. First, it was a blast meeting everyone on my publishing team and celebrating a lot of hard work. 

Secondly, the world began to shut down while we were there. The SEC basketball tournament should have been taking place, but instead Nashville was a ghost town. Schools around the country started cancelling. What a bizarre moment in history!

And lastly, I’ll never forget our trip to Nashville because it was there that we got the phone call that all of our boat paperwork was ready to be signed. Brent picked me up during my lunch break and we went to a notary to officially close on the boat.

Admittedly, I had second thoughts. Everyone around us was worried about where they were going to get their next roll of toilet paper…and we were busy buying a boat. Life is weird sometimes.

The next few days unfolded in ways I could never have imagined. We had our last couple meals in restaurants on the way back to Charlotte. Mary Grace and Miller’s school cancelled in person classes. Baseball cancelled. Church went to online only. And Brent’s company closed their offices and went to a mandatory work-from-home status.

On Tuesday March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, we found ourselves with absolutely no where we had to be (except home) and keys to our brand new boat! We quickly decided that we could just as easily shelter in place temporarily on a boat. So after loading our car up with everything we thought we needed, we headed to Brunswick, Georgia to board OUR boat for the first time!

Coming aboard OUR boat, Light & Salty, for the very first time. St. Patrick's Day 2020.

Typically this would have been ridiculously exciting news to share. You know me, it would have been ALL over social media!
But, Coronavirus.

All over the world, people were getting sick. People we knew had relatives dying. And lots of friends were losing their jobs. The timing to share just didn’t feel right.

So we sat on our little boat secret…until now.

Our boat story begins with a little worldschooling in the sun.

I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason and God works in every detail. Sure, it was probably the most insane boat buying experience ever. As I mentioned in my last post, so much of what’s happening isn’t exactly what we planned. But we’re rolling with it!

The marina where our boat story begins.

We have so many more details to share from the last couple of months as I try to catch this Captain’s Log up to “real time.” Thanks for joining us on our crazy journey!

If you’re new to this website get to know our family better by reading some of our pre-boating travel posts:

Vancouver, Canada With Kids: Why This City Needs To Be On Your Radar

Just A Backpack And A Beach

How To Travel The Road To Hana With Kids

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  1. Kevin Conklin on June 2, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Really going to miss y’all, but really excited for this adventure.

  2. […] We bought a boat with the goal of doing America’s Great Loop. Covid hit. The world went remote. And we spent a year of our life making our wildest dream come true. It’s easy to sum that up in a few sentences, but I can’t downplay the amount of work, prayer, and intention that went into our plans. […]

  3. The One About Boat Shopping - Mom With a Map on January 23, 2022 at 6:13 am

    […] detailed a little about our boat shopping experience in a very early Captain’s Log post: The One Where We Rewind Back To The Beginning. In a nutshell, Brent boat shopped online for years. He was so clear on what features he wanted, he […]

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