Tuesday, May 29, 2012

To boat or not to boat...

For those who want the background, they can read the long post "In the beginning" if they haven't already. Otherwise, you'll find yourself in the middle of the story.

I went to the boat auction, and SFB met me there. Nothing called to me, except one boat that was bigger than the 30' (~9m) limit i had set (it was 33' [9.9m]), and the one trailer i thought perhaps suitable should AS's boat turn out to be The One wasn't what i needed, either. What was clear to me was how little i really knew.

Himself was away for an extended period and was fine with however i wanted to proceed; he liked the idea of having a boat, although knew less about them than i did, so i was glad for friends like SFB and Sailing Friend Joe (SFJ) who lent expertise or experience.

So, SFB and i drove the 70 or so miles to AS's house to see her boat. I told SFB i wasn't sure about this--it was frightening how little i knew--but he assured me i'd be all right, i knew people who knew stuff who'd be glad to help, and he thought AS's boat might be just the ticket. He also reminded me that i had been toying with this idea for at least a year, looking at some boats and all, so it seemed the idea was underway to being brought to fruition. I did ask him to let me know if the boat was crap. He said he would, and that if this boat wasn't The One, there were plenty others out there. The economy had hit a number of people very hard, so it was a buyer's market, really.

We got to AS's house and saw the boat. She had removed everything from inside the cabin as she did every year, so it was easier to clean and make ready the following sailing season. She had had it for years, and i came to understand that when she actively sailed it, she took excellent care of it. But her job then some health issues had gotten in sailing's way, and well, it was one of those things she meant to get back to but...

In short, the boat sat for 17 years. On the hard. Untouched. AS did pump it out now and again, and did cover it each year for winter until the last several. Or so.

It was a 19' (5.8m) sloop. It looked dingy and neglected, but SFB's eyes lit up when he saw it. Mine lit up, too, and i could see past the dirt. If it were sound i knew it was The One. It had a cuddy cabin that would be great for an overnight or even few days' sailing trip.

We crawled up and looked inside the cabin. Covered in mold on the inside, but SFB could see that the bones of her were all right.


I listened carefully for the inner voice, the one that's always right. The one i don't always listen to and wish i had. There was silence, but i got an image of a doorway wide open. I was at the threshold and I had the option of walking through. Or not. It was mine for the choosing.

"This is a good boat," SFB said, "Much better than i expected for one that's sat for so long." I walked through the doorway into boat ownership.

I said nothing, and we crawled down and looked at the stern.

She had no hailing port on her, which i thought was a requirement. In my boating class, they spoke about hailing ports and how it typically was where the boat was docked or moored, although it could be the owner's home address, too, if that were a different place. As i looked at her stern, she looked forlorn. And, i'd have to change the name.

Now, there's gobs written about changing a boat's name and how it should NEVER be done, or if it MUST be done, there's a special ceremony. I knew if i played a part in this boat's next chapter, the name had to change.

We went inside and discussed things. Yes, i was interested. AS was elated that someone would be sailing her again. She offered to help as she could, perhaps with how things went together, if i got stuck. My initial apprehension about dealing with an acquaintance rather than a strictly business deal seemed a tad silly just then.

We discussed price. AS said she couldn't sell her, it was like selling a member of her family. But, she'd be glad if i took her and used her well. I was in disbelief. I must have asked and said, "Are you sure? Here, let me at least pay something," six or seven times.

With each utterance, AS repeated more firmly. Nope. She was just glad someone was going to use her. I sensed a bit of relief mixed with happiness.

AS drafted a document saying that the boat was now mine. I did give her a paltry sum to please the state because i had to list an amount for the title transfer.

That was mid June, 2011. To boat or not to boat. To boat it was.


  1. Wow. She looks great even propped up on 'props'. She hasn't got another one somewhere, I suppose?

  2. Nope, not to my knowledge. I did consider trying to sail her from AS's to my home port, but i thought that a bit foolhardy even for me.