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Lorilee arrived in Rockport, Texas on January 30th, safe and sound.

But before I get into the boat restoration stuff, I’d like to talk about my experience about buying a boat in another state and the transport.   As mentioned in a previous post (Craigslist, California, and a Fat-bottomed Boat), I found Lorilee on a Craigslist ad that Alex sent to me.  As soon as I saw the ad, I sent the seller a load of questions.  After a few emails between the seller and me (and a quick analysis of my finances), I bought a flight to California.  So in the couple of days before my flight, I did a lot of reading on Bud Taplin’s site and watched a bunch of YouTube videos for things to look for on a Westsail 32.   I had a laundry list of items to look for.

When I arrived at Long Beach Yacht club where Lorilee was berthed, I spent several hours inspecting the engine, the rigging, every cabinet, and every hatch.  I asked a million questions.   The seller was very generous with her time.  When I was satisfied, I made an offer, and she accepted.

So back to Texas I came, with my mind in a flurry about what to do next.  The original plan was to fly back during the Christmas Holidays to finalize the sale.  However, after some calls, I found that the yards, surveyors, and other folks involved would be on vacation.  So we pushed things back a few weeks. *Sigh of relief*. I bought myself some time, but I had a LOT to do:

  • Finalize the boat loan
  • Send deposit to seller
  • Book a survey
  • Line up a trucker
  • Hire a rigger for transport preparation
  • Insurance matters
  • Flights/hotels for the second trip
  • Coordinate everything with the yard in California
  • Book a yard in Texas
  • USCG and Texas registration docs/taxes

I won’t get too much into the finances of buying the boat.  However, I will say that I avoid taking on debt as much as possible. Somehow, Americans have been trained to think that debt is okay.  That having a mortgage, car notes, and credit cards is somehow normal.  Well, it drives me absolutely crazy to have debt.  It feels like a shackle around my ankle. However, because I hadn’t seen a Westsail 32 in this price range, Lorilee was worth the risk of taking on a little debt.  All in, she was less than my last truck!

IMG_3738After some calling around, I discovered that Bud Taplin lived near Long Beach and was able to do the survey on the 19th! And by complete and total coincidence, the trucking company I hired is headquartered twenty minutes from where I live, AND they happened to be delivering a big Catalina to Marina Shipyard in Long Beach on the 21st.  The stars were aligning.  This was turning out better than I could have planned.

My previous blogs detailed the rest of the California side of the story – from purchase to unstepping the mast.  It was indeed a stressful affair.  In fact, during the month of December, I developed a strange eye twitch…


My initial plan was to take Lorilee to a yard in the Clear Lake/Kemah area (in between Galveston and Houston), have a bottom job done, restep the mast, and take her to a marina somewhere in the area.  After seeing her condition during the survey and much deliberation, I decided that I wanted to do some major work on her before splashing. There are only two yards in the entire area that let you do your own work, and the yard where I was originally planning to take her to was going to be $48/day plus $7/day to store the mast next to the boat.  Absolutely effing ridiculous. AND they don’t allow sanding or painting.  So of course I had to find another solution.

IMG_3879Bud recommended House of Boats in Rockport.  I’ve been in Rockport before for weekend fishing trips.  It’s a nice town, but it’s three hours from where I live. However, this yard is only $15/day flat.  What a difference! I’d say three hours of driving each weekend is worth saving over a thousand dollars a month. So a few a few days before the truck arrived, I had them divert their route to Rockport.  It actually saved them some time and distance.

This yard is exactly what I was looking for. Basically, it’s a dirt lot with a hot shower, power and water hook-ups, and lots of folks around to offer advice, an extra pair of hands, and of course – ol’ salty stories.  There are always dolphins swimming in and out of the harbor right next to the yard, and I get to see some fantastic sunrises. Hell, there’s even a pompous rooster walking around waking everyone up at 4:30 a.m.  I can’t help but smile :)

The day Lorilee arrived, the guy who runs the travel lift had to go out of town. Of course.  So the trucker and I sat around for six hours waiting for him to return.  We didn’t offload until about 7pm.  The yard guys left Lorilee in the lift that night, so thus I slept in my boat, swaying in the wind…


The next morning they blocked her up and my work began.

– Ryan

Published in Ryan Bradfield
Updated: February 24, 2015 — 15:46


  1. Ryan,

    nice reading your blog. Good luck on the repairs, keep the stories coming. A strange eye twitch huh. That happens to me sometimes when I get stressed and don’t sleep well

    1. Thanks beachnut. As soon as the boat was blocked up, all the stress pretty much washed away. It was done. What a crazy month though!

  2. Hey Ryan,
    I did almost the same you are doing. Bought my boat in Missouri, trucked it down to Houston (Clearlake) and blocked up on a yard on Nasa Rd 1. Worked on the hard for three months (painted the whole boat and refurbished my motor) and moved to a slip on the same yard for $180/month. Did all the additional work (plumbing/electrical/floor change/etc…) and moved to a marina in Kemah where I am living on the boat ($350/month) and sailing in the kemah/Galveston bay area. I am now preparing to really start my adventures and sail from Kemah to Isla Mujeres.
    I am out of the country until April, but when I return if you need a hand on projects, I certainly would like to help.
    Below is a film I made of my ordeal.
    Good luck and have fun!!

  3. Awesome Tony! The yard in Clear Lake I mentioned is the one on Nasa Road 1. Clear Lake Marine Center I think it is called. They were going to charge me $1.50/ft per day, plus $7/day to store the mast. Totally insane. And at that rate, they won’t even let you do any sanding. What marina are you at in Kemah?

    Careful, I may just take you up on your help :)

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