Liberty is being free from the things we don't like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.--Ernest Benn

Friday, February 22, 2013

It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over....

For me the great life of sailing maybe over. Except for the memories. Which are substantial if not inestimable. But this looking at 'next' boats is just time-wasting and wistful thinking. I can't even care for my teeth, let alone a new/unfamiliar vessel. I'm thinking that not even a lotto win will recover or restore yachting for me. Our ages & infermities & medical complexities are just trending too much toward adversity. When I catch myself looking speculatively at my next boat, I end up feeling like I am 'in irons'.

My mind goes back to the time in 1989 when we bought Das Boot. What we had done is put in offer on a Sparhawk-36. We did our due diligence, went through the survey, and we 'hauled and hung'- our new boat. We were surprised at the amount of water draining unremittingly from the crease between her hull and the leading edge of her keel. We were shocked. The broker tried to reassure us:
"She's just smiling! That's all."
We went home and slept on it for a night. We did not sleep easily. Went back to the broker the next day and reneged on the deal. The broker was clearly disappointed. Two weeks later he died of a heart attack. He wasn't that old. We turned around and bought Das Boot, actually having her built according to Trophy Wife's specifications! Das Boot turned out to be a vastly superior boat. We never looked back. Initially remorseful, I never really thought about that broker whom we may have killed.

Until now. Now I can imagine that yachts had become for him not uncomplicated objects of art or sources of fun. That's the way he got started in the business, of course. But he had become dependent on brokering them as a source of month-to-month income. Which means, some nights, maybe weeks, he did not sleep easily. They became more undifferentiated in his mind, even if they were still individually 'special' and uniquely 'beautiful' in the minds of his customers. They were simply commodities. If he had lived much longer, they might just as well had been trucks. Or trailers.

I want to pass Das Boot on to a quality owner before she becomes a commodity to me. Because right now, she's still a treasure.

And looking back to 1989 when we turned down that Sparhawk-36, I can understand how my wimpy prospect felt last week, turning us down. He couldn't sleep, thinking about whatever it was about Das Boot that spooked him. Maybe some rust on the engine bolts? Maybe that the RPM gauge on the engine wasn't working? Or maybe the fact that it took my current broker's clueless agent 30 minutes to get the engine started? Whatever. I'm going to get over the disappointment he caused me. Two weeks from now I will still be living. Because boats -- the ones with sails -- can only prolong my life.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I'm Being Low-Balled!

And I'm not liking it a bit. Selling Das Boot. At a huge discount. Hurts. All those memories of 22 years sold out for a song and a dance. Trophy Wife and I arguably still have a lot of sailing in us. How much more is uncertain. But the writing is on the wall. We both are becoming frail with slow-moving but incurable diseases. My Most Valuable Player (in the crew) and best friend has bought his own boat. In these dark days of winter I feel the wind chill of change.

So I have to endure the idiocies of arrogant diesel 'specialists' who want to measure my fuel oil in their laboratories. Not to mention a buyer who doesn't like that Das Boot doesn't sport seat pads or dodgers, or that her 150 feet of chain plus rode is in my back yard. And what's this? No roller-reefing?

I'm clearly paying the price for abusing a cruising boat by racing her. It's cruisers who are in my market. What a fool I have been.

Das Boot is irreplaceable. 22+ years of memories, good & bad, cannot be replaced or adequately compensated. Every time I step aboard these days, my topsiders are treading on hallowed decks and floor boards. I am in a cathedral. That's what it feels like it as I run her engine. Check her bilge. Empty her dehumidifier. Stroke the foot of her incredible mast. And whisper a blessing before disembarking.

May your new owner love & trust you as we have.