Christy Clement and Jason Andersen bought their 1993 Caliber 40 in Mexico, had it trucked back to Seattle and later spent a year cruising in British Columbia and Mexico. After returning to Washington, getting married in the San Juans and taking a road trip through the U.S. they’re now back in Seattle, working and planning their next escape. You can read about their adventures on their blog.
Tell us about your boat’s name.
Jason is a software programmer. It’s tradition in the software world that the first program you write when learning a new programming language always spits out the same words to the screen: hello world! Because this was our first sailboat and it doubles as a great name even if you’re not a computer geek, we fell in love with the name as soon as Jason came up with it. We did have someone come up to our boat once and upon seeing the name said, “Oh no, you didn’t” – turns out he got it.
Tell us the story of how you found your boat and what makes it special to you.
We actually found our boat in the classified section of 48 North. It was in Mexico, but owned by a couple in Seattle. So we were able to meet with the previous owners a few times and got a comfort level that they knew what they were doing and kept her up really well. We went down to San Carlos to buy our first-ever boat basically sight unseen, in another country, without a broker. Somehow, it all turned out ok.
What’s the history of your boat?
Built in FL, one of the previous owners trucked in across the U.S. to get it to Seattle and it’s been down and back to Mexico now twice via truck and Dockwise. I think our boat may have more non-sailing miles than most.
What do you like best about your boat?
I love the openness down below. That’s why we fell in love with Calibers to begin with. She’s pretty beamy at 12’8” and we can fit eight people around the table, which blows me away. The previous owner loved to tell people that you could fit 128 bottles of wine in the bilge. We haven’t tried that, but it fits a lot of rum too.
What do you know now about your boat that you wish you’d known when you bought it? Would that have changed your mind?
That the fridge draws 60 amps. It wouldn’t have changed our minds, but it would have been nice to know.
How does your significant other feel about the boat (be honest)?
Great. We got into this together and love that we can move our house almost anywhere. It’s a lifestyle for us and we both love it. We fantasize about having a house on land with a big ol’ kitchen and a workshop someday, but I think we’ll always stick to relatively small houses after being on the boat for so long and feeling so comfortable with small, useable and hyper-efficient spaces.
What’s your favorite story involving your boat?
Oh, so many to tell. Like the time first time we unstepped the mast and found a dead bird at the bottom of it. We still have no idea how it got there. Or when we arrived in Nanaimo to get our boat from Dockwise and the lock was so corroded that we had to break into our boat. We’ve had a few latch problems – our head door latch broke when the door was closed and we nearly had to find a small child to lower through the mini hatch with a screwdriver. Fortunately, Jason was able to open it himself with a screwdriver taped onto a boathook.
Describe the most challenging situation you’ve experienced on your boat and how it performed.
We’re wimps when it comes to weather, so we typically duck into port if it’s nasty. I think our worst weather was on the Ha-Ha after we left San Diego (because we were on a schedule) and we had about 35 knots and eight- to 10-foot waves. We’ve never worried about the boat handling that kind of weather, it has always proved to be really solid. It’s more a matter if we can handle it and how much we’ll be covered in puke when it’s over.
Where do you plan to take your boat? Do you have a dream destination?
We just got back from a year of cruising B.C. and Mexico. We ran out of money, so we’re back working for two years before we head off again. Next round we want to do Alaska, then eventually we want to make it to the South Pacific and Australia/NZ.
If someone gave you $10,000 that you could only spend on your boat, what would you do with it and why?
Oh jeez. We have plans to spend big for this next trip. Highest on our priority list are: cockpit enclosure, replacing our awful Jabsco heads and new refrigeration. The cockpit enclosure will give us a lot of extra living space even when it’s cold outside, which will be great for the Alaska trip. We’re dumping our old Jabsco heads which give us nothing but problems and getting one Lavac and one composting head.
We have refrigeration now, but it runs on AC and sucks a lot of juice and we can’t run it while we’re at anchor. We went without while we were in Mexico and realized our mistake as soon as we hit Cabo and couldn’t have cold beer. Fortunately, there are plenty of palapa bars there.
How long do you plan to own the boat? What would it take to get you to part with it? And what advice would you give to the next owner?
We plan to live on her for another eight years (if all goes as planned, which it never does). We’ll probably sell her after that because we probably wouldn’t be able to keep up a boat and a house. I can’t imagine parting with her before that, but I suppose anything is possible. Advice for the next owner? The only two ways to fight mold on a solid fiberglass hull that we’ve figured out are: a giant dehumidifier or move the boat to Mexico.
If you could have any other boat, what would it be and why?
Jason wants a metal hull, probably because we’re not very good at docking. 😉 And we both would love something with a raised salon so we could see out when we’re at the table. That said, I don’t think we’ve ever found the perfect boat.
What didn’t we ask you about your boat that you wish we had?
What is your dinghy’s name? (do you want the answer too?)
Our dinghy is named The-Most-Ridiculous-Plan-In-The-Room. How did we get that name? There’s a story, of course. We were at a cruising seminar with John and Amanda Neal before we ever bought the boat and they asked who in the room planned to be cruising within the next year.
About five couples in the room raised their hands and John asked each one where they planned to go and what kind of boat they had. He got to us and we told the group about planning the cruise B.C. and then sailing to Mexico. When he asked us what kind of boat we had, we said we were still looking. The room erupted in laughter and since then, our initial cruise became known as The Most Ridiculous Plan In The Room. So that’s what we named our dinghy (courtesy of my sister, McKenzie).
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