This is the first of a series of posts I intend to do, remembering our experiences involving Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans... and elsewhere.
We had always intended to do a long family sailing cruise. We finally changed that from a generic discussion to a reality in 2005. We made a firm decision to buy a boat in New Orleans, prep it for a 6~12-month cruise, and putter down to the Florida Keys, then the Caribbean islands.
For the first half of 2005, we still had Chiara, our Italian exchange student; Ronnie and Chloe stayed home with her while MJ and I flew to New Orleans to buy a boat. I did some preshopping online and narrowed things down to a few possibilities. Talked to a broker and arranged a whirlwind shopping experience with him. My old pal Bob had an empty rental apartment in one of his buildings uptown and he generously loaned us that plus a car. We were ready to shop boats.
MJ and I spent several days going through likely candidates. The broker was very competent and excited to help us pursue such a lovely dream. I liked working with him. Allowing a couple of days at the end of our trip to finalize a deal, we stopped looking at boats after a few days and discussed the best possibilities between us there on site and with Ronnie and Chloe back in the Northwest by telephone.
Our two finalists were a C&C 39 and a Hunter 34.
C&C 39 stock photo
Hunter 34 stock photo
The C&C was actually a boat I really liked and respected in a general sense. It's a boat I would have bought as a "lifetime" boat at that time. Well-built, powerful, fast, an excellent boat. The Hunter was a price-point coastal cruiser. Not a boat I'd ever consider as a "lifetime" boat. A Chevy against the C&C's BMW, to give a car analogy.
However, the Hunter was a lot cheaper, naturally, and more to the point, MJ strongly preferred its layout. It was more casual-friendly. Given that we weren't buying a lifetime boat, just one to use for a while then resell, and given that we were planning for the Keys and the Caribbean, not trans-Pacific crossings or the Roaring Forties, we discussed it with the folks back home and decided on the Hunter. Happily, for efficiency's sake, it was in the broker's stables and negotiating purchase price and details of the deal was a straightforward matter of dealing with him alone. Finalized the paperwork, made a down payment, and returned home.
That pretty much took care of June.