Jeff asked Keith and Jacqui Ruse, owners of True Love, a few questions to learn more about their custom aluminum-alloy trawler. They lived aboard True Love with their family and enjoyed years of trouble-free cruising. They are now looking to downsize and True Love is on the market. Visit her dedicated website www.Snowbird73.com to learn more.
Q. You have worked on this boat for years when the original owners were clients. Now you are the owner. How does that change your relationship with the boat?
It’s an honor. We view this as a huge opportunity to own and look after a wonderful cruising boat. We go out on her routinely, locally, and anchor out. It allows me to see more where our customers are coming from. We do most of our own maintenance, but also save the bigger projects for the yard. We love that a boat this size can be operated by the two of us, without crew, and that is how the boat was designed and built, to be operated by a couple.
Q. Why are you selling?
We’d like to move down in size, we don’t need this much boat, but want something big enough to accommodate our family. Don’t get me wrong, we love the boat, but a smaller boat would work and probably cost less to operate. The good news is, if we don’t sell, we are happy to keep her.
Q. What are you going to miss?
This really is a well-conceived boat, the engine room is spectacular. I don’t think we be able to get that type of space and layout with the same quality equipment in an off-the-shelf boat. The living and handling characteristics of this boat were very well thought out by original owners, builders, and designer. All equipment on the boat is first class; Diamond Seaglaze doors and windows, cork soles, ABT stabilizers and hydraulic thrusters, it’s all great. The cockpit / back deck area is a great outdoor space to fish from, to swim from and is very easy to get on and off when boarding. We like to entertain back there and play. For us this has been the ultimate RV on the water – very functional and utilitarian.
Q. Aluminum and steel trawlers are not as common as fiberglass. What advice would you give a buyer looking at metal vs. plastic?
Part of the reason we bought her is because she is an aluminum alloy boat. Super strong, very well built – we could cruise her anywhere. I’m not worried if we accidently bump into anything, the location of the hull plating was custom designed by Gregory Marshall who has a long-standing history of designing exceptional yachts. There is really no compelling reason to stay away from a metal boat. The vast majority of military and commercial work boats are made of steel or aluminum. The recreational boating market favors fiberglass because it is easier for the builder to stamp out more units, that isn’t wrong, but when you get to this size it’s nice not to have a me-too boat.
Q. What has been the best part of owning True Love?
Having the family on board is our primary focus and biggest joy. Our favorite days are family time when everyone is in town and we can take off – even locally, just head over to Cape Charles or somewhere nearby for a short getaway. We are great friends with the original owners and they loaned us their boat many times so our kids grew up spending time aboard. Everyone is familiar with her, knows where everything is and has their own space. Cruising with a family of six is just the best. For Jacqui, the separate clothes washer and dryer has been fantastic, she can do five loads of laundry a day when we are out cruising. We have traveled to the Exhumas and Abacos in the Bahamas, great memories of snorkeling and exploring, it is just an amazing platform.
Q: How is it cruising with a dog?
Charlie, our standard poodle, weighs 100 pounds and he is a joy to have aboard. He has a great temperament and a wonderful companion and very happy when he’s on the boat. The layout, the way it was designed, especially focusing on the stairs between levels makes it very easy for a large dog to get around. From the swim platform to the flybridge, he can go anywhere and this was an important consideration for us. He can easily move from the big boat to the tender. We installed some dog assist handles and a custom ladder to get him out of the water. Charlie doesn’t really like to swim a lot so we don’t worry about him jumping after a ball floating by.
Q. What has been the biggest surprise going from a house to full time cruising onboard with your family?
It has become an excellent home on the water. It’s pretty fun to throw off some lines and take your house cruising. We feel so much at home on the boat. The sight lines and large windows offer great views wherever you are. At the dock we have our yard as a land base, but we love the ability to move and change our scenery. We went out cruising one weekend and planned to stop for dinner where the dining attire is a bit more formal than what we wear on board. We didn’t think we could dress appropriately, but then remembered we travel with everything we own so I grabbed a button-down shirt, Jacqui put on a dress and we went out on the town. That was a breakthrough – we realized we have everything with us – clothing, books, medication and we are travelling with everything thing we need. No more weekend boating situations where you might leave something you need at home. True Love has a great interior arrangement and accommodations that provide plenty of space and privacy.
Saloon and Galley
Q. You own a yard and you own a boat. As a boat owner, what advice do you have for fellow boat owners when they go to yard for work?
You need to have reasonable expectations and communicate what you what to achieve clearly. It is also important to accept up front that not everything will be completed the same day you ask for it. As the scope of work you require changes, you need to be flexible and adjust with the time it takes to get more items done. For example, if you are going to change out batteries, ask for the estimate in price and time. Realize that the batteries need to ordered, received and inspected then we have to assign people in our team to do the work. You will be happier the better you are informed as to what to expect and that communication should be two ways. If you need attention, or something doesn’t seem right, please let us know. One of the biggest issues is when clients change what they originally contracted for and don’t expect that it will change the time frame and the cost. If you book in advance, know that a lot of our personnel scheduling is committed to you before you arrive. We are scheduling the other customers as well. It’s harder for us to get things done on time when things change after we get started.
Q. What do you have on this boat for the first time that you haven’t had on previous boats?
The dumbwaiter between the galley and flybridge, and we love it! When entertaining with guests, or just the family, we can sit eight people on the flybridge dinette. We could carry everything up the stairs, but it is a super cool convenience that is just fun to use. And you can send the dishes down to the galley when they are done. The other big improvement for us is having a watermaker. We really enjoy the freedom that gives us. Sometimes we go to marinas in winter and their water has been shut off for freezing, but we can continue to make water rather than carefully thinking about the use of every drop. I’d have to also mention the laundry appliances. Having a separate clothes washer and dryer is a home thing that we haven’t had aboard a boat before and we use these appliances all the time, they work much better than a combination laundry machine.
Q. You are an experienced yachtsman, is True Love an entry level boat or something for a seasoned owner?
It’s a bit of both since she was designed and laid out to be operated by a couple. You need to learn it step by step. Two people, once they learn the ropes, can handle this boat. For long passages you would want other crew for standing watches. She is very capable offshore with good fuel consumption at displacement speeds. She is big, but she has great visibility, I like to back into the slip from the lower helm – I can see fine (and it doesn’t hurt that I have twin engines and hydraulic thrusters with proportional controls!).
True Love underway
Q. What are some of your favorite memories aboard?
All family related and getting away from our home waters to explore. In my mind I picture my wife and kids smiling, laughing and having a wonderful time together. Cruising the Bahamas, and visiting the Turks and Caicos Islands are experiences we all treasure.
Q. What advice do you have for the next owners of True Love?
Learn her, use her and enjoy her. There are some amazing systems on board all included to increase your enjoyment. Depending upon your boating experience, some of these things may seem a bit over the top and it may it look overwhelming, but you can quickly learn the boat. This boat was built to be used; she is an incredibly robust platform for cruising. She is very functional and has many attributes to make your cruising times safe and comfortable.
Thank you to Keith and Jacqui Ruse.