Finding, buying and naming Ecco Domani

By Dr. Jack Flood

Living near the Arctic for 25 years has a way to distort colors, shapes and experiences, along with one's attitude. To counter these blowing winds, my wife, Lynne, and I would spend the month of February in southern Mexico. Each morning we would wake and sit for hours wondering what it was like to arrive in the many sailboats that would anchor in the bay in the town of Melaque Mexico.

In 1994, we took the opportunity to attend a sailing school.  Armed with just enough knowledge to raise sails, we flew to Tahiti and rented a 38' sailboat from Moorings. It was at that moment that we knew we wanted to follow that lifestyle.

Having lived and worked for sixteen years in Bethel, an Alaskan bush community, we were able to take an early retirement and built a home in Seabeck WA. We now had colors, landscape, seascapes and horizons interrupted by mountains that we had been deprived of for so many years. It was paradise as it took 15 minutes to launch our boat… We moved quickly through the Pearson, Islander and Truant sailboats spending more time North then South.
Unfortunately, a physical accident occurred that encouraged us to begin considering a trawler type of vessel. During a sailing trip from Bremerton, WA to Juneau, Alaska, we spent a week in the Harris marina and next to us was moored a LNVT for sale.  From just about every angle we could see ourselves extending our times on the water without being wet. As we began to meander back South, we talked about seeing ourselves in the future on this type of platform. For now, we had Bahari Habu (Love of the Sea), our truant motor sailor by Bill Garden.
Continuing our trip and reaching Petersburg, Alaska after a 12 hour sail, we were immediately greeted by a couple who said without notice. "We would like to buy your boat". Tired and hungry we said, "Come back tomorrow".  At 0900 the next day, we were woken with a knocking which revealed this couple saying, "Really… We would like to buy this boat. You can see our bank above the embankment.”  Lynne and I looked at each other and asked the couple for several hours to think about this greeting.
We were in our 47th day of a 4 month long trip. If we sell now…many questions arose: No boat…how do we get home…what about all the provisions…What about the 2 dogs we had with us…What about the cost difference?  We spent the afternoon considering our options and decided to consider that trawler vessel back in Juneau. Around 1500, we decided on a price for Bahari Habu and it was accepted. We asked for two weeks to find another boat before finalizing the deal. The counter was one week to finalize and if we found something local we could take 2 weeks to offload. Having lived in Alaska, we had come to understand a different method of buying items, if you saw it in the store…you bought it, or it was gone several minutes later. So, we scoured the brokers and marinas and eventually decided that I would fly back to Juneau and look at this vessel we had never heard of before.
She was very neglected but you could see that with only 2000hrs she was waiting to be let off her leash and let out to sea. My wife flew up to confirm that I was serious in this purchase. Within several minutes looking at the galley and me in the pilothouse we both couldn't wipe the smiles from our faces. A quick survey by self, and then one of two surveyors confirmed many of our concerns and from there we struck a deal.  It would require my wife to sell her prided sports car, and make some financial adjustments from no boat payments to payments.  However, after we started using the Internet and found that a LNVT was appreciating in value, had been built to standards well above many in her league…she looked worth it. 
So, in that Alaskan style we were so familiar with, we bought her.  At the time of registration, we were asked what the vessels name was to be.  My wife wanted it named, Thank You, in recognition of getting off the fore decks. However, we decided on, Ecco Domani.  This means, 'Here's to Tomorrow' in Italian. We spent a week in Juneau preparing her for her voyage. After buying 2 blankets and a coffee pot from Goodwill we started her up and made a direct route back to Petersburg with many electrical and mechanical issues keeping our adrenaline high while getting back. Three weeks in Petersburg repairing many of the major problems left us ready for the next advancement down the coast.
One problem was that the head could not be replaced until reaching our home port. So, in the fashion of many seagoing vessels, the first 5 gallon bucket was brought on board and placed on the aft deck. One clear day, we heard a horn that was from a passing tourist ship.  As I looked around to warn Lynne of an impending wake, it took me a minute to realize that she was on the honey bucket on the aft deck. And there seemed to be a crowd of tourists with their binoculars and cameras focused on Ecco. I thought it was quite funny. Of course, the second in command did not share my smiles. I wonder how many people have stories reflecting their view of that day.
Once we made the Broughtons in upper BC, we knew nothing would prevent us from reaching home. So, we came off the daily 'High Anxiety Alert' and started to enjoy our days in the fashion of so many years before.  Any concerns I had about what this boat could handle was dismissed over the next four years of ownership.
Unfortunately, my wife of 32 years became a victim of cancer. She was able to take one last trip to Prince Rupert nine months before she died.  After that trip, we sold Ecco to another Alaskan couple who would continue to use her for what she was built for…cruising in waters of green and blue…safely and gracefully.

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