Live-aboard luxuries make boat life a breeze

Yacht to be sensational | Working Waterfront

Laura Jean Schneider
ljschneider@ptleader.com
Posted 11/18/21

 

 

Michael Effler and his partner Erin Leader met 35 years ago, and they’ve been creating beauty in boats ever since.

Effler was at the first-ever Wooden Boat Festival in …

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Live-aboard luxuries make boat life a breeze

Yacht to be sensational | Working Waterfront

Posted

 

 

Michael Effler and his partner Erin Leader met 35 years ago, and they’ve been creating beauty in boats ever since.

Effler was at the first-ever Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend 45 years ago, and worked on traditional wooden boats.

“The character and feel and romance,” and “classical lines of traditional boats,” were what mesmerized Effler, and soon seduced Leader too.

“She was a speedboat girl,” Effler said.

“He got me into wooden boats,” Leader agreed.

Together, they are Sea Sensations, a custom design and restoration duo who’ve worked on traditional sailing and classic motor yachts for the past quarter-century.

“I started at the bottom of the pile,” Leader said gleefully, when she went to work for Effler. “My first job was tearing out a rotten cockpit.”

The boat she referred to was a renovation they undertook in 1992.

Effler had been on the hunt for a traditional wooden yacht, and the couple found a Hugh Angleman designed auxiliary gaff rigged ketch in California  called “Sea Dream.”

The yacht had been built in 1969 in Yokohama, Japan by William Harden, and had fallen on some hard times. But the couple saw past the rough exterior, and found the essentials were solid.

“It was a matter of finding good bones,” Effler said.

Together, they worked on Sea Dream for four years in Port Townsend and Bainbridge Island before setting sail again.

When they did make waves, it was in comfort, thanks in part to Effler, who spoke to the masculine slant of many marine environments.

“He hooked me in by making an environment that a woman wouldn’t want to be off” of, Leader said, laughing.

Sea Dream has many luxe touches, from marble countertops, to custom stained-glass windows, to a hand-carved head seat.

“We can shut off all the other ‘land things’ when we’re on the boat,” Leader said, equating that taking Sea Dream out for a week is more like “glamping.”

And it’s easy to do when the living space, however small, is beautifully designed and tastefully decorated, with finishing touches that make it easier for a hesitant companion.

“A certain understanding of comfort and color,” Effler added, “is important.”

“That’s what we bring as a couple to a project.”

For instance, they use Marshall Cove marine paints (available through Admiralty Supply in Port Townsend) which can be custom mixed to get the exact color the Sea Sensations couple feel a boat needs.

“They won’t look like any other boat out there,” Effler said.

Leader added that varied textiles from velvet to sustainable choices like bamboo fabric can make the interior of a boat feel more homey.

She jokingly referred to boats as “the other woman in our man’s life,” and urged would-be boat buyers and decorators to listen to what the boat says.

Sea Sensations is proud to be a member of the Port Townsend Maritime Trades Association. They joined a year and a half ago, and while they still live on Bainbridge Island, they’re at work on several boats on Port Townsend Foundry owner Pete Langley’s property. Effler said the couple is looking at moving to Port Townsend.

“There’s no substitute for experience,” Leader said on aligning with experienced marine tradespeople.

“I’m really glad to be part of it.”

For more information, call 206-842-4347; email info@seasensations.com, and visit seasensations.com.

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