Breaking Tradition

Rob and I have had some weird anniversaries.

At the conclusion of our first year of marriage, we had a wonderfully romantic time eating the top layer of our wedding cake, camping in the middle of the woods.  Much to our surprise, the top layer was banana…

On our fifth anniversary, we both had horrible colds and made a trip to the doctor together.  

After six years of putting up with each other, we got a baby-sitter and went for a moped ride, where I broke down 10 miles from home.

My dad had heart surgery on our tenth anniversary.  (Thankfully, it went well!)

We dragged anchor in Charlevoix on our eleventh anniversary.

Last year, instead of celebrating twelve years together, we dealt with the stress of emptying out a house, after ten years of living there.  At that time, we didn’t know if we would have a home in Houston, when we arrived.

This year, we figured we would celebrate our lucky 13th next weekend, with a must-find-a-boat trip to Louisiana.  There were some inexpensive boats there, in our price range.  We would buy one, then have an adventure down the Intercoastal Waterway, back to Clear Lake.  We would then dock the boat at Kiwi’s slip, and Beanie would attend the school in that area–I gave her teacher permission to give them her files already.

But life is what happens when you’re making other plans.

The day after the fourth of July, Rob did his daily check of Craig’s List, and something unusual was waiting for us.  It was a Ericson 35-1, from 1967, the same year that Moonraker was made.  It needed love and an engine, but it was a cutter rig with a furler, steering wheel, and a lot of other equipment we’ve never had the experience of owning, on a boat.  It even came with an inexpensive slip.

Its name was Breaking Tradition.


When I first saw this boat, docked in the delightfully eccentric town of Clear Lake Shores, it was Moonraker all over again.  There is definitely room in my heart for two loves.  (Or three?  Sorry, Rob!)




We will have our work cut out for us.  The interior will need new cushions, and there is a lot of cleaning to do.  It will be difficult to get this boat into our current marina, so we will need to find another.  (Or come up with a shower, if we keep the slip it’s in!)

Back where I belong!

Back where I belong!

We will need to repaint the interior, fix the galley.  And…yeah…come up with an engine!  Or find a tow to a marina…



Beanie will be attending a different school.  We’ll need to research that, and make sure all of her paperwork finds its way there.



The boat is 35 feet long, but at least 1/3 of that is cockpit.  We’re probably dealing with less than 300 square feet for Rob, Beanie, the cat, the fish, and me.  And right now, it has no fridge.  We will have some decluttering to do!



But we’re excited about the boat.  It’s more than I could have possibly hoped for.  And we love Clear Lake Shores.

The boat is famous, by the way.  Its hull number is 7, and there are not very many, if any, more of its kind.  Google “Breaking Tradition Ericson 35-1” and you WILL find pictures of this boat.

It’s still crazy that we’re doing this.  As a family of 3, we’re doing this.  Not for 91 one days a year, but for 365.

Life has become an adventure again.  Stay tuned.

Texas Women Bloggers


27 thoughts on “Breaking Tradition

  1. Has your cat spent time on a boat before? I don’t know how my cat would feel about boat life 🙂 I hope your cat adjusts well and enjoys the adventure!

    • Our previous cat sailed on Moonraker, but this will be new for poor Popcorn. She was a barn kitten, but she’s adjusted well to apartment life. Our old cat loved sitting out on the solar panel and watching everyone–hopefully Popcorn is the same way!

  2. So here she is…sigh… I can tell you the smell is what Bethany calls “Boat”… The smell is actually Death: a mixture of rotten wood and engine oil. The seller told us she’s the “last of her kind afloat”… I will enter this in the log book. She does come with 2 engines: A diesel that doesn’t run, and a diesel that doesn’t fit. The galley is…a hole….a big hole. The ceiling is also falling down. The bathroom is part of the hallway. The interior is old-fashioned even for her age: any 1930’s yachtsman should feel right at home.

    Enough of my pessimism, though. There’s still some adventure left in her. Stepping onto the deck is like walking on concrete: Solid and confident. Though the interior is sparsely appointed, it does have an open and airy feel. She’s also very well equipped for a boat of her age including wheel steering, auto-helm, radar and air conditioning. Bethany also failed to note that she’s standing on a beautiful teak and holly floor. The cabin is a mess, and I have 3 weeks to turn it into a home, but that should be enough time. Most of the work is simple carpentry and paint. On the outside, it won’t be but a week’s worth of sweat to make her truly beautiful.

    Happy Anniversary, Bethany.

    PS, this time YOU get to scrub the bilge!

    • Well, dear, it is only fitting that you had to clean Moonraker’s bilge, since I wasn’t the one who caused it to fill with water…(Sorry, couldn’t resist..I’m only allowed to mention THAT incident three times a day, so there’s one!)

      And some friends of ours brought up the point that the lack of engines will make us better minimalists. No oil filters to store, to fuel to buy, etc.

      Love you dear!

  3. Well it sounds like this was meant to be for you all. Not having a working engine will make sailing even more enjoyable after being docked for the time it takes to get one that will run.

  4. Ha! I love the comment from Robert about scrubbing the bilge – I had forgotten how ‘fun’ that could be!!

    I love the name and I love the way you found her – in my experience that is how love happens, when you least expect it, there it is! How exciting for you!

    I spent five years aboard a sailboat with my two children. We are currently on land, enjoying the comforts of home, but we are all thinking we’d like to live aboard again…so we shall see. It’s going to be fun reading about your adventures!

    • Welcome aboard, Joy! 🙂 Yes, I definitely think this boat was meant to be. Our daughter has autism, and living aboard (although it was always seasonal) has always been really good for her. I’ve never heard of a kid who didn’t enjoy the experience!

    • Not yet, because it doesn’t have an engine. It was partially submerged, which ruined the diesel. I’ve heard that it’s an excellent sailor though, so we’re eager to get the engine situation fixed! Our goal is to cruise it this summer.

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