When we sold the business in the summer of 2018, I had an obligation to work for the acquiring company for a period of 2 years. We spent the winter of 18/19 discussing what we wanted to do after that two-year earn-out. We had always dreamt of embarking on a big sailing trip with a bigger boat. We therefore decided to sell Leela to make financial room for the purchase of ALULA.
But first, we had to bring Leela back to Canada from Bellingham as it was easier for us to sell her near Vancouver. We had the most incredible weekend sailing her slowly North and up the Fraser River to Shelter Island Marina. We spent the first night tucked away in Inati Bay on Lummi Island. Inati Bay is a personal favorite of ours as it is where we spent the first night of our 4-month sailing trip in 2015. This time around was one of those rainy evenings where we were cozy inside Leela with the pitter-patter of the rain on the cabin top and the glow of the candles casting the loveliest shadows.
The next morning was dead calm and we motored to Sucia Island which is a horseshoe-shaped island at the extreme North end of the San Juan Islands, just a few kilometers South of the Canadian border. We were only supposed to spend one night at Sucia. It was so special we stayed a second night, even if it meant an EPIC day to Shelter Island when we did decide to leave.
Eventually it was time to leave so we set the alarm for 4am, had the anchor up by 4:20am and were on our way North. We had timed our arrival at the entrance of the Fraser River to coincide with what we thought would be slack tide, at the bottom of the ebb. The plan was to ride the new flood up the river, which would help us minimize the effect of the mighty Fraser River current. Turns out we were reading the wrong tide station so we had about 4 knots of current and tide against us. We had all sails up, the engine on at full throttle and still we were only making about 1.5 kts against the mighty Fraser River. Yikes!
A passing tugboat hailed us on the radio to offer words of encouragement and let us know not to give up, that things would get better shortly. He was right, and soon enough we were through the gates of hell and motoring our way up the river. We arrived at Shelter Island Marina an hour and a half later and, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FOUR YEARS OF OWNING LEELA, we struck bottom and got stuck!! Our slip at the dock was really a mud hole. One could only go in and out of the slip at high tide. Someone had failed to mention that important piece of information to us. There was Leela grounded in the mud. Lucky for us the tide was still rising and we waited 45 mins or so to make our way to the slip and tie up.
After trying to sell the boat privately for a few weeks, we lost patience and retained the services of Samuel Dickson, a yacht broker at Vancouver Yacht Sales. Samuel was a real go-getter and I admired his tenacity in getting our business. Samuel did a great job and we sold Leela in less than a month. In retrospect, we could have been a bit more patient with the “selling privately” idea as the eventual buyer actually reached out to us directly after finding one of our private ads. Patience, patience! 🙂
Selling Leela was oddly less emotional than we thought it was going to be. We loved that boat and she was the coziest thing ever, but after 4 years of endless boat projects, we were ready to move on. Plus, with our new boat Maddy in Vancouver and ALULA in Fiji, we were already onto bigger, better things!
We ended up selling Leela to an American-German man named Jürgen from the State of Washington. Jürgen has dreams of sailing Leela back to his native Germany. We wish him fair winds on his journey with Leela. Jürgen asked that we deliver the boat to Blaine, across the US border so that he would avoid some of the taxes. We happily obliged as it gave us one last sail on our beloved Leela. Goodbye old girl, you thought us many, many things about sailing and refitting, fixing and maintaining boats.