No Mud, No Lotus

boat survey fail.

“No Mud, No Lotus.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh


While the above quotation is attributed to a Buddhist Monk, the phrase applies perfectly to where we are in life at this moment.  For those who don’t follow Lane’s blog, Beautiful Body Acceptance, you may not know about her obsession with the lotus flower and its meaning.  The lotus flower is a strong, beautiful flower that has to rise up from the mud, muck, and darkness beneath the surface of the water in order to bloom and become beautiful.  A lotus flower must overcome the darkness and the struggle to push through in order for the world to see its beauty.  Lane often compares her journey in eating disorder recovery to a lotus flower and right now our journey to find our sailboat home is also looking more and more like a lotus flower…


Well, we have completed ONE boat survey.  While we hoped this would be the only sailboat survey, as that would mean we had found our boat, but that was not the case.  Needless to say the survey was just a little shy of disastrous.  Even though we had each seen the sailboat at least once prior to the survey (Lane had seen it twice) we still thought she could be a pretty good boat for us.  We admit, we were slightly infatuated with Beneteau sailboats, as their interior is roomy and they are beautiful inside.  Please note the keyword being “were” infatuated with them.  We also knew that older Beneteau sailboats tend to have some issues but that’s okay, we could fix minor ones.  Needless to say we figured we might run into a few issues but we had been assured by the broker everything worked except the air conditioning units and those were in the process of being hooked up.  Okay, no problem, we know some people in Charleston who could do that for us so we decided to proceed with setting up the survey.  While I want to type “big mistake” right here it was actually a big learning process making it worthwhile but still time consuming (and somewhat costly).

From the moment the surveyors got on the boat and started poking around doing their job the warm and fuzzy feeling of “hopefully this will be our boat!” started to dissipate before giving way to feelings of “this boat is a complete project boat and not at all what we want.”  In the beginning it seemed to be a lot of little things–the lights wouldn’t come on, the water holding tanks were pretty empty so the water didn’t work right, etc.–but by the time we got to the boatyard for the haul out (which was pretty cool) only a few hours later the surveyors already had a host of issues in need of repair.  It wasn’t even noon and we were feeling pretty deflated about everything.  The rudder was waterlogged, the hull hadn’t been painted in quite some time, and so on.  We knew we would need to repaint the hull but the rudder was a surprise to us.  While the Travelift was a pretty fun thing to watch (it hoisted a 44 foot sailboat into the air) that was the extent of our excitement…okay Lane’s excitement.  After hammering out the hull to check for bad spots we finally had her put back in the water to check the sails and head back to the marina.

Once she was back in the water and we were underway, we pulled the lines to hoist the sails.  The main looked great (finally! some good news!) but the jib…well…it was stuck.  The line used for the jib sheet was too thick and the jib got jammed.  It took four grown men to get it pulled out and put back in place without ripping it or breaking anything else.  Ack!  After that fiasco the surveyors went down below to check out the keel bolts.  Remember how I said Beneteau sailboats are known for keel bolts getting rusty and the keel falling off?  (The keel keeps the boat steady.) Well, the bolts were really rusty.  Another black mark for this sailboat.  The last thing we need is to hull her out to paint, drop the rudder and repair it, AND drop the keel and replace those bolts too.  That pretty much did us in and made up our minds.  However, the icing on the cake was when we lifted the boards to check out the bilge and, in order to make the boards sit evenly, the owner had them propped up on paint stir sticks that had been broken in half, stacked, and held down with a screw.  Seriously?  That was it for us and the end of our journey with Beneteau sailboats.

As you could surmise, we are now back to the drawing board on sailboats.  BUT we have learned some valuable lessons with this boat:

  1. Look in EVERY. SINGLE. HATCH. I mean, lift up everything and open everything.
  2. Ensure electrical works BEFORE ever hiring a surveyor aka don’t take a broker’s word for it.
  3. If the broker says the owner has been doing projects by himself…beware…don’t trust  that s/he knows how to do it all.

And there you have it, our learning curve list. While the survey was exhausting and disappointing, at least we learned a lot and got to spend a beautiful 90 degree day out on the water.  (It’s the little things..)


Please keep praying for us as Lane will be traveling to Florida to, once again, check out their boat market in the very near future.  We are remaining faithful to God’s plan for our lives and that He will direct our paths and help us find our sailboat home. 

Par la Foi,
The McKelveys

**All things are possible for those who believe. -Mark 9:23**

2 thoughts on “No Mud, No Lotus

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