Home with a water view yours for only $299,000

Monday, June 26th, 2017

Live-aboard former minesweeper has nearly 5,000 square feet and 18 bedrooms

The Vancouver Sun

It sleeps 38, the patio is huge, is admittedly a fixer-upper, but the sticker says it’s only $299,000.

“That’s all in,” realtor Judy Ross said.

The 151 Water Street, a converted 152-foot minesweeper that is now a live-aboard ship, is for sale, much as that saddens owner Mike Fournier.

“Yes, I will miss it, immensely,” said Fournier, who, approaching 60, is only three years younger than the boat itself.

“Owning this boat is just one of those things, a rare opportunity, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

So when he saw it for sale two years ago, he leaped.

“It was a race. My wife was looking for some property, I was looking for a boat and I won.”

In all, there’s almost 5,000 square feet; the back deck, or patio, alone is 900 square feet.

She started life as the HMCS Fortune 151, a Cold War Bay-class minesweeper that slept 65.

Fournier has a dossier of National Defence papers listing some of its operations, including the Fortune being the flagship of the Second Canadian Minesweeping Squadron during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

After being decommissioned in 1964, she became Greenpeace Two, bought for her ability to ferry a large number of protesters fairly quickly to Amchitka Island in Alaska where the U.S. was conducting nuclear tests.

She then became the yacht Edgewater Fortune, chartered by school, fishing and touring groups.

When Fournier bought her in 2015, he got the name 151 Water Street from her hull number in her navy days.

“And Water Street is because we

live on the water.”

You could get lost inside the ship, at least until you get your bearings.

Four dozen or so keys hang on hooks inside a glass-doored case, one for every door on board. In fact, the Fourniers gave each room a name because at first “we’d never know where we were otherwise.”

There is the usual assortment of pipes, valves, dials, low ceilings, tight crawlways and steep steps you’d expect on a navy ship.

It’s powered by a pair of 1,250-horsepower General Motors engines that drive two six-foot propellers. The fuel tank holds 70,000 litres of diesel (you’ll need about an $85,000 limit on your Visa).

“By my rough math, 70,000 litres would get you to Hawaii and half the way back, so you better refill there,” Fournier said.

The bridge has been enclosed, but the original controls are in place (for show). The captain would telegraph instructions to the engineer deep in the back bowels of the ship — but it still takes eight minutes for the rudders to fully respond, so sudden turns are out of the question.

The master bedroom and ensuite were tastefully renovated — there are 18 bedrooms in total. All in all, Fournier estimates there are about 5,000 square feet.

In the end, mould and dust got the best of his wife’s allergies, thus the for-sale sign.

“When Mike came to me about buying it, I said, ‘OK, we’ve done a lot of crazy things in our life, I’ll give it a year,’” Janice Fournier said. “There are some great memories.”

Real estate agent Ross specializes in float homes and calls her business Vancouver Unique Homes.

The 151 Water Street is about as unique as they come, she said.

“This is at the top of the list, absolutely,” Ross, who has previously sold two live-aboard boats, said. “This is the most unique, living-onthe-water property I’ve ever sold.”

There has been a lot of interest, a lot of kicking the, uh, lifesavers, but offers have fallen through because of financing.

“We’ve had a lot of offers, they’ve been accepted, but unfortunately various problems came about. They’re next to impossible to finance.”

Fournier declined to say how much he paid for the ship two years ago.

“I’m glad I did it, 100 per cent. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

Comments are closed.