…….from the mind and fingers of the guy sometimes known as “Captain Paul”. This is a long story……
Some, possibly many, of those reading this will know the background on the idea behind No Yards – the boat name and the lifestyle. For others, this will either clarify what you thought you knew or explain what you didn’t know at all. Long overdue, what follows will fill in some of the blanks over a timeline that starts sometime in 2016.
We’d been living on the Toronto waterfront for more than a full year, and doing what many 50-something couples do at this stage in life; start serious discussions about timeline and preparedness (financial and psychological) for the next stage in our lives – retirement. Happily, we were tracking quite well to our long term, though not necessarily fully documented, plan. Moving to downtown Toronto after our children were grown and out on their own had been a plan for many years, and though both children were still living at home, we made the move from the 5 bedroom home in Georgetown to the 2 bedroom condo in Toronto in 2015 with their full support……we were ready!
Living downtown in one of North America’s largest and most vibrant cities had been all we expected to this point in time. The bars, restaurants, live entertainment and sports; the waterfront and the buzz of the city were all we had hoped for and more. We could now enjoy our Toronto Argonauts season tickets by walking to the stadium rather than having to make the one hour (best case) drive from Georgetown nine or more times per CFL season. It had been nearly 30 years since we’d lived in the city of Toronto and at this stage of our lives we were able to enjoy it so much more than when we were just starting out together.
After much analysis, we decided to work toward retirement in 2019. Only three years away, with many questions to be answered. Will we retire together? Can we afford it? Where will we live? Will we really be ready to stop working? How will we spend our time? Too soon really to answer all of these questions, but with a stroke of brilliance Lisa had a potential answer to the third question, suggesting that we might look to purchase a live-aboard boat and keep it at a Toronto marina for the warm weather months – our Toronto condo! Winters would be spent somewhere warm. Sounds perfect. Far more cost effective than the sky-high rent of a waterfront condo, and with a big boat we could explore Lake Ontario. Forget the fact that the only boat we ever owned was a 15 footer with a small outboard engine; and that was only for a couple of seasons on Grand Lake in New Brunswick. And that was about 20 years ago. Details!
2016 to 2018 – the plan is coming together
So then, it was decided. We were buying a live-aboard boat which would be our ‘Toronto Condo’ and spending our winters closer to the equator than we ever have. No more snow shoveling for this couple! Based on the plan, we had about three years to determine how big the boat would have to be to comfortably live aboard, where we would dock this vessel, and what our budget should be. Oh, and we had to figure out how to drive this thing. Details!
We talked to anyone who would listen to us about the boating lifestyle. It didn’t take long to figure out that boaters like to share their stories. The best advice we got was to get on as many boats as we could. This would allow us to determine how much space we really needed and to weed out the ‘nice-to-have’ features from the ‘need-to-haves’. We started training courses with the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron. Boating 1, 2, and 3 plus Boat & Engine Maintenance were good courses that helped us understand the rules of the road, navigation, weather, and minor repair and maintenance procedures. This also introduced us to people who actually had boats and provided more first-hand information and ideas on what to look for. Meanwhile, we were starting to look at boats. Mostly online, but also at boat shows and with brokers trying to sell boats. The plan was coming together!
2018 – It’s time to make a purchase
Beginning in 2017, our wants and needs were becoming much clearer. Minimum 2 cabins, at least 30 feet long (and that’s at the very low end), diesel engines, used boats only (too much depreciation on new), and power boats only (sailboats were never an option – we dislike sailing). We started to seriously look at boats that we might consider purchasing – Sea Rays, Carvers, Ocean Yachts, Meridians, Maxums, and more. The nice ones were pricey, the cheap ones needed more work than these neophytes were willing (or able) to take on. This could take a while. We soon knew pretty well every boat in our size, style, and price range all across North America on the Yachtworld website. Meanwhile, we became social members of the National Yacht Club (NYC) on the Toronto waterfront in anticipation of the day that we would have a boat to keep there. Though NYC is known as primarily a sailboat club, about 30% of the boats there are power boats. Oh yeah, it’s happening all right.
After a failed attempt to purchase a Meridian 408 early in the Summer of 2018 (failed sea trial and marine inspection), we had pretty well landed on a short list of boats that we felt would meet our needs: Meridian 408 or 459 and Carver 396 or 444. With minimal selection for sale, and none at our price, it was quite certain that we would not be making a purchase in 2018. Not a problem, the right one would come along. Things always work out! Meanwhile, we thought it might make sense to ensure that there would be a slip available for us at NYC. A quick call confirmed that there were no slips available for 2018, but there would most certainly be one available in ’19. As long as the boat was 45 feet or less, and weighed less than 25,000 lbs. we would be fine. Wait, what? We had been aware of the length limitation, but the weight restriction was news to us, and all of the boats on our short list were heavier than that. Looks like a problem with the plan. Where are we going to keep this boat that we don’t even own? It’ll work out.
At about noon on August 4th 2018, the daily scan of Yachtworld has a Carver 396 for sale on Georgian Bay. The first 396 we’ve seen for sale in Canada in months, and it was priced exactly at our budget. Things are looking promising. At 4:54PM on August 5th, our offer is accepted. Two weeks later, she is ours! Things work out! But where do we keep her? Boating on Georgian Bay for what remained of the 2018 season answered that very quickly. Georgian Bay was the place for us. All we need now is a new name for our new home, and we’re set to go.
No Yards? Why No Yards?
From the day we renamed her, we have frequently been asked where the name came from. Many times the person asking the question has an idea, and usually they are quite close. Here’s the story… Much thought, over many months went into the naming of our Carver. No Yards represents two things for us.
First, we have been Canadian Football League fans for some time, travelling across Canada to attend Grey Cup festivities on an annual basis. If you haven’t yet been to the Grey Cup I will tell you that you are missing the best party in Canada. The Canadian game is quite different that the American one, with one of the unique features being an emphasis on the kicking and return game. When punting the ball, the kicking team cannot get closer than 5 yards from the receiver of the punt until it is caught. If they do, they are issued a No Yards penalty.
Second, since our retirement in 2019, we are indeed living the plan. On our boat in the summer and somewhere warm in the winter. We do not have a ‘dirt home’ and as such, No Yards. Stay tuned for my post and photos chronicling the official renaming of the boat.
My goodness he writes a lot
Rest assured that all of my posts will not be as verbose as this one. Just wanted to get the information out there….