When Phil and Barb Andrews set out to buy their first boat three years ago, they knew they wanted one with classic lines and wood. They found just what they were looking for in No Plans, their Tollycraft Voyager 28. The boat was built in 1965, the year Phil was born, and is homeported in Olympia.
Tell us about your boat’s name.
The boat had no name when we purchased it. My wife has graciously come to understand that I hate to make plans regarding the weekends. I prefer to take a more spontaneous path, and this may be because the work portion of my life as a litigation attorney is often dictated by the calendar. I floated the idea of naming the boat “No Plans” and Barbara laughed and readily agreed. Our boating friends know that we tend to depart Vancouver, Wash. on a Friday afternoon knowing only that we will be on the boat through Sunday, but not really having any plans as to where we might go. It is quite common for us to arrive at the marina, take a look up to the north towards Dana Passage, take a look across at Devil’s Head, and only then decide on our weekend location.
Have you owned other boats before this one?
I had been fortunate at various times in my life to have friends with boats. I swore I would never own one but in reality, I just didn’t have a “plan” to own one.
Tell us the story of how you found your boat and what makes it special to you.
First of all we had to catch the boating bug. We rented a cottage on Budd Inlet for Labor Day weekend a few years ago. While watching the boats go by we decided that having a boat might be better than having a cottage as boats can go multiple places but of course the cottage will remain where it is.
While staying at the cottage on Budd Inlet I started looking around at the various yacht dealers and on Craigslist. We also took a quick trip up to Vancouver, B.C. for pleasure, and after walking around the marinas in the lower part of downtown, it was over; I was hooked and we were likely going to get a boat.
My wife and I both decided that we like the classic lines of much older boats far more than we like the more modern and glossy fiberglass boats. We both recognized that any boat that we were likely to purchase was going to be a bit of a project. That that was OK with us, provided that the work required was somewhat reasonable.
Therefore our eyes were wide open in looking at boats that were built in the 1960s and early 1970s. To keep things simple, we did look at a boat or two down on the Columbia River simply because it was closer and we could at least take a look inside different kinds of boats. I found No Plans on Craigslist. We knew that we wanted our boat on Puget Sound. We figured Olympia would be the best spot for a homeport as it is the closest spot on the Sound for us.
We did not limit our search to Olympia, but our boat was sitting in a covered slip at Zittel’s Marina. We contacted the seller, a nice man selling the boat for his parents. It was the typical story: grandkids wanted a go-fast boat, it was never being used and they just wanted to sell it. So on the fateful day in early November of 2008 we drove up to Zittel’s Marina, and as luck would have it the sun was out, the water calm and Mt. Rainier was clearly visible from the docks.
With the owner along onboard, we took the boat out for a quick a little test drive. I certainly wouldn’t call it a sea test, and we cut a deal with the seller later that afternoon. Shortly after our purchase, many folks who moor their boats at Zittel’s approached us and expressed that they were very thankful that the lonely old boat that had been sitting there unused had been purchased by a couple that were likely to bring her back to life and use her.
Even though our boat is not in Bristol condition, it does seem to be a conversation piece at most marinas that we visit. When you couple the age of the boat, the fact that it is a Tollycraft and the fact that the 1965 Voyager is a Monk design, well, there’s always someone who has a question about the boat.
What makes the boat special to us is that both me and the boat were born in 1965. As a middle-aged man, I get to attempt to age gracefully along with this old boat that spent some of its life quite sedentary in the marina. I enjoyed having the boat to tinker with on the weekends and I’ve come to the realization that I can either spend time working on the boat or I can spend time boating on the boat.
We understand that we need to be realistic about the projects that we decide to take on, since we live about 115 miles away from our boat. Although she remains a bit of a floating restoration project, we both tend to smile as we come back from a kayaking journey and paddle towards No Plans.
What’s the history of your boat?
My wife and I don’t know anything about the history of our boat. We do know the history of Tollycraft and we know where it was built and when it was initially sold, but as to who the first purchaser was or who’s owned it since then, we absolutely have no information. Due to an informative book written a few years ago by Bet Oliver detailing Ed Monk Sr. and his boat designs, we have conclusive evidence that the Voyager was designed by Mr. Monk.
Thankfully, the boat appears to have been moored under cover for most of its life and that is likely why she is in the relatively good shape that she is and still afloat after 47 years. We have undertaken a full repower, new fuel tanks, refastened the running gear and replaced all thru-hulls, with work ongoing as of July 2012.
What do you like best about your boat?
I think the favorite thing about our boat for both of us is that we really do like the classic lines and natural wood of the old Monk designs. The ample walk-around space is wonderful as well. Taken all together, the zealous ownership group of Tollycraft boats and the fact that older boats just tend to make meeting other people at marinas and anchorages quite easy, well, it can just plain make boating fun. We are acutely aware that there are tradeoffs in owning an older boat, but I’m pretty certain that I speak for both of us in stating that we wouldn’t have it any other way.
What do you know now about your boat that you wish you’d known when you bought it? Would that have changed your mind?
There’s no question that I know my boat better today than I did three years ago. Because the price was as reasonable as it was, I really don’t think that I would have done anything differently, even though I’ve found some things that didn’t catch my eye when I first inspected the boat.
The bilge was dry and clean, the engine started and did not smoke, the transmission shifted into forward and reverse, and all of the original interior woodwork was complete and looked the way it would have back in 1965. Unfortunately, the boat also had the very original foam and vinyl covering as upholstery. That was easily remedied shortly after we took ownership.
What’s your favorite story involving your boat?
I don’t think we have any one favorite story. We’ve just been very fortunate in meeting nice people just about everywhere we go. The South Sound is a remarkably beautiful place and the other boaters that we have met are generally quite fun and enjoyable. We have made some good friendships in the short time that we’ve owned the boat.
Describe the most challenging situation you’ve experienced on your boat and how it performed.
The most challenging situation that we faced in our boat was, as most boating situations that are challenging generally are, the fault of the captain (me). I had left the boat down at Swantown boatyard in March 2011 to have a new inverter and golf cart batteries installed. It was my intent to drive up to Olympia on a Saturday and motor No Plans back to Zittel’s Marina. I learned a very important lesson that day about wind opposing the tide.
We arrived at Swantown and the wind was blowing out of the west at a good clip. While we were motoring north out of Budd Inlet, the wind wasn’t having much of an impact on us. But as we got to the confluence of Budd Inlet and Dana Passage, the wind blowing from the west was opposing the inflowing tidal currents in Dana Passage and it was a confused mess. The boat did fine, the captain not so well, as I should not have gone into Dana Passage. We made it back to our marina, but I learned that I really don’t ever want to put us or the boat in that situation again with confused seas piling up all around us.
Tell us a little about your boating background.
I really don’t have much of a boating background other than being on other people’s boats. I do pride myself on being cautious and paying attention to what other folks do and don’t do, so now I’m very aware of the wind and the tide.
Where do you plan to take your boat? Do you have a dream destination?
My wife and I bought the boat mostly to use on the weekends and to take a trip for a week or so here and there. We would love to take the boat up to the San Juans and even up to the Gulf Islands, but now that we have been blessed with a baby daughter on June 2, 2012, I think our dream destination has just become getting to the boat each weekend.
If someone gave you $10,000 that you could only spend on your boat, what would you do with it and why?
Oh heck, if someone gave me $10,000 I could put into the boat I honestly think that I would probably spend it on having the boat itself cosmetically restored. I’d love to do that kind of work with my own hands, but with a full-time job about 100 miles away from my boat, it’s just very unlikely that I will ever have the time to put into taking the boat back down to the plywood hull and doing the same for the topsides.
I would love to see it with a new professional finish. Like many boats, that $10,000 would certainly not ever be recaptured were I to sell the boat, but my wife and I just enjoy keeping this old boat alive and looking reasonably good.
If you could have any other boat, what would it be and why?
Like many boat owners, I’m always looking at other boats that are on the market or that we pass by on the water. I’m drawn to the Roughwater boats, and that that might be because they too were designed by Ed Monk. Wisely, I have not gotten in my car to go look at one of the Roughwaters listed for sale.
What didn’t we ask you about your boat that you wish we had?
I think that covers it for now. See ya’ll out on the water.
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