Milagros is ours – We’re boat owners!!

It was time to check out our newest find called “Milagros”. We had taken a big risk with coming over to the Americas. But who would have thought that we’d be look at two Kelly Peterson 44’s at once? And who would have thought what Milagros had in store for us?

For the visit to Milagros, Iñaki and I were received by Brent, a cool Canadian yacht captain. He used Ensenada and Milagros as his headquarters for his travels and lived full-time in the marina on the ship.

A sailboat well taken care of

Brent first showed us around on deck. It was immediately clear: He had invested a lot of good work in Milagros. According to him, he had bought the ship and completely overhauled it, before taking her on a six-month voyage through the Gulf of California. All of his installations were on hand.

Down the drain

An example:
On Scorpido in Los Angeles, the deck drains were laid out in such a way that hoses led through the ship and then out through the hull. Where do you want the water on your ship to be? Definitely not in the interior. So why drain excess water through Milagros’ hull? Brent removed the whole installation without further ado. He replaced everything with hand-made outlets in the toe rail. They are much more effective and drain the water directly overboard.

Deck drains of Milagros made by Brent
Deck drains made by Brent

Useful upgrades

And that’s how Milagros presented itself in the interior. Everything that was superfluous was removed by Brent and replaced with new installations that were as simple as possible. The electrical installations were well organized and labeled, a watermaker was installed on board and could be serviced from all sides, the engine could be completely flushed with fresh water and the entire cabin and the cockpit could only be illuminated with red light if desired. Incidentally, this small but fine point is extremely helpful. When underway at night, as the human eye remains adapted to seeing in the dark when light is red. And these are just a few examples.

The story of the water tanks continues

After the experience on Scorpido, I immediately jumped at the water tanks. Brent knew about the corrosion problems of water tanks on Kelly Peterson 44s. After his purchase, he had them completely re-welded during his major renovation. But still the same problem here: The welds of Brents tanks were corroded. He had neither known nor expected that and was accordingly irritated. There were also frowns in the aft cabin – this is where the access to the propeller’s drive shaft is located. Although Brent had also completely removed, overhauled, and reinstalled the engine, he told us that this part of the ship was relatively unknown to him and that he hadn’t really looked into it. Possible, but who knows? The entire rigging was old. Apart from a few adjustments, there was no indication of how old it actually was.

Time for a paintjob

The paint on the hull and deck also seemed to be older and was slowly cracking and crazing. That was another important item on our list. The paint on a sailboat is the barrier between the nasty salt water and the fiberglass of the hull.

Could she be our future home?

So far so good. The time on Milagros flew by. When Iñaki and I looked back on the visit over a beer, one thing was clear: I wasn’t misled my feelings. This ship was nothing like Scorpido. Milagros seemed to be in really good shape. She was equipped for our plans with exactly the simplicity that was right and important. She had a few cuts and corners that caused us concern, but name a vessel didn’t have those?

Yet another marine survey

So it was clear: The search for a surveyor to take a closer look at the ship started all over again. We found who we were looking for via George Jarvie, our trusted man from Los Angeles. Michael Weston of Atlantis Marine Surveys would come to Ensenada from San Diego to inspect Milagros. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the examination myself because I had to go home and work. Since Iñaki was staying with Blue anyway, he made himself available to witness the inspection with his own eyes. Exciting times…

Waiting for news from Mexico

When I was back in Switzerland, Pati and I could hardly wait for the examination. We were in contact with Iñaki the whole time. Until late at night we waited for sporadic news that he sent us via WhatsApp due to the time difference of 9 hours. We were incredibly excited, and sleeping was out of the question anyway.

She’s good to go!

And of course it was bound to happen: During the final phone call with Iñaki, he announced that Milagros had passed the examination with flying colors. Despite a few small bits and bobs, apart from rigging and the water tanks, there were no other big jobs or problems that we hadn’t considered. We did a good job observing during Milagros’ visit.

The overall result of the survey. The original document has 33 pages.

Are we crazy enough to buy a sailboat in Mexico?

Now it was up to us. Did we really want to go into negotiations for a 14m sailing yacht? We two landlubbers and sail laymen? Was it clever to go headlong into an adventure of this magnitude?

Guess we are…

Well, it seems like we’re crazy enough for such an undertaking. The negotiation with Brent was quick and painless. He met us at a few thousand dollars less because of the leaky water tank and the thing was over. We knew from the start that we didn’t have a lot of leeway. Brent knew exactly what a great sailboat he owned and he could have sold it without any problems anyway. So we transferred a whopping $ 71,000 to the broker in San Diego in mid-August 2019. Ouch.

We’re boat owners!

But we were suddenly owners of our own sailboat. How sick is that? It is a completely unreal idea, and will probably remain so until we have adapted to our sailing life.

Now that one of the most important conditions for our adventure – the sailboat itself – had been met, we could start planning.

We’re owners of a sailboat…

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