Some changes are afoot at Forest and Fin! This site has transmogrified from first Lara’s blog, to her online shop and showcase, and now she’s asked me (Brian!) to write here regularly about Selah and her refit.
Last Friday, Lara had a show in Charleston celebrating her newest works (which are amazing….I see them happen pretty much start to finish and I’m still blown away by them). During the show, she had a slideshow of some random pictures from our travels on Illusion playing on the walls around her art to show the inspiration for her paintings. People had a lot of questions about boat living and our future – so in case any of those curious folks at her show are reading, you got us inspired to write about our new boat Selah - where she came from and where she’s going!
On my first trip up to Maine in August to check out Selah, two guys were sitting behind me on the plane talking about boat stuff and leaving for the Caribbean. My ears perked up instantly, and I eves-dropped long enough to infer that one of them was a real-deal sailor. Before the plane landed in Portland, I turned around and interrupted their conversation.
“Sorry guys, I couldn’t help but over hear you talking about leaving for the Caribbean from Maine — I’m actually looking at a boat up here tomorrow. When is latest I could expect to get a decent weather window for going south?”
Instead of a straight answer, the sailor did what sailors do best — he told me a sea story. He’d gone to the Caribbean every few years for the last 25 years, usually leaving in September. But one year, he got stuck with work and ended up pushing it back towards the end of October. It was 1991. He suggested that I may have read the book about it, or perhaps seen the movie – “The Perfect Storm.” He had been far enough away from the storm not to have endured the worst, but still 48+ hours of gale conditions had been enough for him to make a rule of thumb for heading south.
“If I’m not gone by October the 15th, I don’t go.”
I kept that thought in the back of my mind during the whole process of buying Selah. As the days on the calendar went by, I probably gave myself a few extra grey hairs trying to find a way to be comfortable with the purchase and be out of Maine in time for that deadline. My initial plan had been to make the trip in segments – the short first sail to New Jersey – head back to work in between, then come back a week or so later and sail her to the Chesapeake to do the refit in Gloucester, VA, at a boatyard we’d used with Illusion. I ended up getting too busy with work and the sale wasn’t final until the the 21st of October.
I loaded her on a flatbed 18 wheeler the night of the 23rd of October, and on the 24th, she started her trip south. Selah narrowly avoided Hurricane Sandy by scooting down I-95, instead of coming down under sail. It was a decision I had gone back and forth on for weeks. The money was a major concern but so was timing. We had wanted to get working on her as quickly as possible, and I had some general bad feelings about heading south from Maine that late in the year, so the decision was made to truck her south. On October 29th, Hurricane Sandy made landfall — in New Jersey. Thanks to a sea story, Selah survived her first brush with a storm the best way possible — by not being there at all!
More stories and pictures to come (the ones below were photos I took on my trips to Maine)….we’re well into the refit now. Selah has been pulled apart and is slowly going back together here in South Carolina.