Moving aboard my first sailboat was one heck of an adventure. Buying the first boat was on itself I think, the best decision of my life. A dream come true after thirty years.
In the past I had a YouTube channel where I already told the story. If you are one of the older followers, you may already know most of the story. But here I am writing about it one more time for those that got here for the first time. There is something new to the story, things I didn’t talk about in the past. It was my personal life and I tried to keep that private as it felt comfortable to me that way. Check the photo gallery.
But here we are back in 2014 while I was working on a cruise ship with Miami as a main port. I was crazy in love and I wanted a family, so I decided to spend my vacations there close to the ones I loved. I rented a room in a house close to Nicol, one of the new Romanian friends I made when moving to Miami. She helped me a lot and not just once. After three months in that house, I started to feel a little uncomfortable. The owner was a really fun Puerto Rican, good man to be honest. But I always had the feeling he is into some shady things, and being on a tourist visa I didn’t want to get in trouble. So I decided to move away.
I always thought that one day I will buy or build a sailboat, but I didn’t know people actually live aboard. But thanks to YouTube, I discovered a video about Teresa Carey. She was also posting videos about her life while living on a small sailboat. As you would expect, I was into that right away. One evening coming home from shopping, I was passing by next to a marina I had next to me. It was dark outside, but on water I see this little boat with the light in the cabin on. I thought in my mind… how nice that would be if it was me.
I got home and laying down in bed, I started watching more videos. I discovered an interesting one about two Canadian teenagers sailing from Canada to The Bahamas. I found it fascinating and I really loved the little sailboat they had. A 26 feet Grampian Marine built in 1970. Clearly the boat was not in the best shape, but she was good for sailing and a small adventure as they were having. So I left a comment on the video.
Buying My First Sailboat
In the comment I wrote how much I like their adventure and the sailboat, also that I wish to buy a small one like that. I never owned one before and I thought a smaller sailboat would make it easier for me to learn. A few days later I received a reply, saying that Transeau was actually sitting in the Glades Boat Storage and that she is for sale for $2000. I told myself is a crazy idea, but I decided to buy the boat… so I did.
I didn’t had all the money so I had to borrow some from my buddy Saroof, a local chef working in a restaurant in Miami. A really nice honest man originally from Nepal… and a good chef too. So I sent the first pay, having to pay the rest when I had some more money. It was time for me to go bring the boat to Miami.
One Heck Of An Adventure
I had no car or driving license and I don’t think I will ever have, I’m not made for land, but for the sea. So I asked a friend to take me to the boat, but he couldn’t help. My fiance at that time decided to leave work and take me there. What a fun trip, almost running out of gas on the way there, right before we were close to the gas station. We also stopped at a hardware store to buy some tools just in case.
When we arrived, I made the necessary paperwork and they told me in half an hour I will have the sailboat in the water. I used to have a video on YouTube about this entire adventure. Sadly I lost the channel as I deleted it by mistake. A little after that, the backup hard drive I had also gave up on me. I no longer have any video and just a few photos from back then. But I was looking at the boat hanging in the crane getting closer. I will never be able to explain in words the feeling it had back then. I was the owner of my first sailboat and I could just not believe I was actually living that moment for real.
After checking the hull making sure things are alright, Transeau was finally back in the water. With the help of a few people around there, I got her secured to the dock and I sat there with my fiance admiring the boat. She had to return back to Miami, so after a kiss and a goodbye, I told her I should be back in less than a week. Turns out I was wrong, as I returned to Miami only a month later, but it was worth it.
First Sunset On A Sailboat
I was really tired and it was almost 6PM. After a little cleaning getting rid of a lot of rubbish, I managed to prepare the boat so I can sleep. I remember even now that I had a sandwich and an instant soup. Even if it was late, I made a coffee and enjoyed that together with a cigarette while on the dock admiring my brand new sailboat.
After dreaming with my eyes open and trying to make a plan and organize myself a little, I decided to go sleep. I was both tired and happy, so I slept like a little baby the entire night. This is the first sunset I had the chance to admire aboard my first sailboat. I will not lie, but I’ve seen many beautiful sunsets so far. That one I think will always remain as the most beautiful one to me. But enough romance, it was time for me to get back to work and prepare the boat for my trip to Miami. Ohh I forgot, I knew nothing about sailboats… not a clue.
So having no clue of what I had to do, I asked for help from two fellow sailors that had their boats next to Transeau. Scott and Jacob were two liveaboards also on their way to West Palm Beach, where I planned to make a longer stop. So they came over to my boat and explained to me what goes where and how. The gooseneck fitting from the boom was broken, so I tied that to the boom with some strong rope I found aboard. It seems that I did a good job, as it remained that way for one more year, until I managed to have it welded. After some more cleaning getting rid of many unnecessary things aboard, Transeau was ready.
I still had some issues with the outboard motor, as it used to stop now and then and I didn’t know why. Francis, the older owner of Transeau told me that it was overheating and had some issues with the termostat. So with that in mind I started taking it apparat trying to clean it the best I could. Turns out that there was no overheating and the issue was the fuel line. It was sucking air next to the fuel pump and the gass didn’t go through anymore. Having that fixed, two weeks later after my arrival, I was ready to leave.
First Time Sailing
I had no clue about sailing, except from reading books and watching videos. But practice is one thing… watching videos is something else. So in a Sunday morning while sitting around with my fellow sailors at the boat yard, I asked them a stupid question. How do you sail a boat ? They started smiling and told me more like a joke… “you untie the boat, raise the sails and you are sailing”. I didn’t know it was a joke, so when I noticed the wind is picking up, I did exactly that. I got a little scared when the boat started leaning on one side, but it was fun and I was sailing on the canal close to the dock. I think they realized I took them seriously, and afraid I will do something stupid some run on the dock yelling at me to go back.
But I was having fun practicing what I knew from books or videos. I was sailing for the first time. Transeau didn’t had the registration ready though, so I couldn’t sail too far. Scott got aboard at some point and explained to me even more giving me some sailing tips and how to trim the sails properly. It was amazing and I couldn’t believe it still. So I must thank all those people for this, wherever they may be today.
The Return To Miami
It was time to return to Miami. After two crazy days walking from the Glades Boat Yard to La Belle to register the boat, I ended up with no shoes. It was so hot outside that on the road I started losing pieces of them. Luckily I had an extra pair of shoes aboard. Now with the boat registered I could return to Miami. I left together with Scott and Jacob, thinking that if one of us will have problems, we can help each other. We were thinking more that I will be the one with problems as the boat was not exactly well prepared or in a good shape. It was amazing for me to go under bridges for the first time, or though the locks. I was actually learning to to handle and steer my boat on the go, while making way towards West Palm Beach.
To save fuel we tied all three boats together and motor sailed. It was so funny as it looked like we have a big trimaran. We only run one engine at a time to also save fuel. It worked well for a while and we could also rest as we would take turns steering the floating caravane. When the canal was not so wide anymore, we split again motors sailing slowly. I loved every second of it, as it was a dream come true and I felt like a sailor.
Arriving In West Palm Beach
Our itinerary so far went like this: Glades Boat Yard, Moore Haven, then crossing the Okeechobee Lake with a stop in Indiantown. We continued towards Palm City, Stuard and at Sewall’s Point we headed for Jupiter Island. From there we continued on the ICW all the way to West Palm Beach with little stops here and there.
Fun never lasts forever, so Scott and Jacob started having serious issues with their motors. So bad that I ended up towing both of them from Jupiter Island all the way to West Palm Beach. Remember I was still learning to actually handle my own sailboat. Lucky all went well and had no incidents. Maybe except one time when they insisted for me to go in a particular direction. I told them is shallow water but they insisted, so we runaground. We managed to get out and all went well after that thank God.
We arrived in West Palm Beach around 5PM, perfect timing for a storm that started. I could see the anchorage where we had to arrive to, but my little Yamaha outboard could barely pull all three boats in the strong wind. After a two hours hustle we finally dropped anchor. Jacob had a friend there, an elderly man that let us rest in his place, hang out by the pool and play guitar with him. I remember we was a good cello player. So we spent a lot of time jamming together. Unfortunately Jacob and Scott started arguing over some money so Scott asked me if I can tow him all the way to Miami. He paid the gas and since I run out of money I agreed on that. So the next morning, after a few days of rest, we headed for Miami.
Here is a nice image from West Palm beach while motoring on the ICW. We made an overnight stop in Boca Raton and also did some shopping for more food. We continued to Fort Lauderdale while I was admiring the view and enjoying the adventure. After another overnight stop in Fort Lauderdale, we headed towards Hollywood Beach, where we had another overnight stop celebrating 4th of July. After a tasty burger while enjoying the 4th of July fireworks on the beach, we headed to the boats to rest for the last leg of the trip.
Finally At The Miami Yacht Club
Having to stay at the tiller all the time steering my boat and towing Scott, I got to the point where I was really exhausted. Imagine the excitement on my face when we got close to Miami, passing the sandbar where motor boats meet on Sundays to party. And it was Sunday so it was full of boats. Charging up my “battery” with that energy, knowing that we were finally close, we finally arrived at the Miami Yacht Club where we decided to drop anchor and get the well deserved rest. I anchored right in front of the mansion that back then, it used to belong to Antonio Banderas and I found that to be a funny thing.
Scott wasn’t too happy as we wanted to go and anchor in the Dinner Key anchorage, next to the Coconut Grove Sailing Club. I didn’t want to go there, because I used to admire the boats at the Miami Yacht Club anchorage while working on the cruise ship. I could see the ships from my boat as the port was just on the other side of the club. I decided to stay there, thinking that if I return to work on ships, in the days I can’t go to the boat, I could at least watch her from the ship. That is exactly what happened two months later.
Moving Aboard My First Sailboat
When I moved to Miami, I planned on getting a loan and buy an apartment where I could move with my fiance and her little boy. The idea was that I would go back and work on cruise ships to make the monthly payment, until we eventually get married and I can get a job in Miami. But after this one month amazing adventure, wanting to move out from the place I had rented, I decided to move aboard the sailboat.
The best decision of my life, especially that things got a little complicated with my relation and life was preparing for me even more surprises. After two month living aboard Transeau, I had to return back on my job aboard the cruise ship. I was running out of visa time and I could not stay in Miami any longer. I returned aboard Transeau eight months later. During my six months stay for the second time living aboard Transeau, I was making plans to sail to Puerto Rico together with my fiance and her little boy.
Her family was living there and I was dreaming of taking the boat there to visit them. Sadly some tragedy struck her family they had a boat accident. Her mom an grandparents lost their life so I left the plan of sailing there on the side. I was really down mentally because of that as well. I got to meet her wonderful mother and one of her sisters when they came to Miami and had some amazing times together. Luckily I had my good friends Nino and Ricardo at the Miami Yacht Club to cheer me up a little sometimes. I will talk a little more about them in a next blog article. Especially about Nino, sadly no longer among us.
While I was away on the cruise ship, next to Transeau came another two sailboats and anchored there. One was the boat of my friend Kostya and his wife Elena. An amazing Russian family that lived aboard their sailboat with their daughter Anastasia. Turns out the other sailboat, a Pearson Triton built in 1960 was also their boat. She used to be their first liveaboard sailboat. I loved her right away, but she was not for sale.
I didn’t know them when I returned to Transeau, but we became really good friends and they always helped me when I needed help. Actually from all the help I got from them, I never considered them my friends but my family, as that is how they treated me. I woke up Kostya a few times during storms when I could not paddle my dinghy back to the boat, and he came to rescue me as he had a strong outboard on his dinghy.
But when later on my relationship started going down, I also started to have bigger plans, not just sailing down to Puerto Rico. For now my second vacation aboard Transeau was coming to an end, so I had to return back on the cruise ship one more time. I was again running out of visa time and I couldn’t stay any longer. This were my two years almost aboard transeau, the story of me moving aboard my first sailboat. But no good story ends so quick… so we will continue in a future blog post.
Did you like the story ? I think I will slowly become a writer too not just a filmmaker, if I keep writing like this. Make sure you subscribe to the newsletter if you liked the story. Once a month you will receive emails about the latest articles I posted on the blog. If you got this far, THANK YOU for reading.
From Stuart to Miami navigating on the ICW, I had to go trough 55 bridges if I remember well. Some of them will give you headaches as they are opening on a schedule and sometimes it gets a little crowded. But with patience all goes well. To communicate with the bridges operators, you can use ch 9 or ch 13 depending on the bridge. Some of them have enough clearance so that you can pass under with no issues. That if you don’t have a boat with a really high mast. You should check the charts before planning the trip. I had no issues with the depth of the water, just some motor boats owners that didn’t care at all about the speed.