Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How we came to buy this boat

I’ve been a sailor for 40 years, but I’ve owned a few powerboats as well.   But my dream of cutting the dock lines and going cruising has always been on a sailboat.

Pam and I moved to Stamford from upstate New York.  It’s expensive here.  Very expensive.  We were paying $1,400 a month for a very small two bedroom apartment.

Last December, my boss’s mother sadly passed away.  Part of her estate was this trawler.  My boss asked if I’d be interested in buying it as a liveaboard.   Hmmmm…..

So one cold sunny day in January of 2010, Pam and I drove to Bridgeport where the boat had been sitting on the hard for close to 20 years.  Pam decided to sit in the truck with Ruby the pitbull while I checked it out.  I put up the ladder I had brought along and climbed up onto the swim platform, and from there onto the deck.  The first thing I noticed was that the window in the door was missing. 

Going inside, I saw the previous owners’ things, just as they had left it.  It almost looked like they were just away for the weekend.   Add to it, though, 20 years of dust and dirt, leaking decks that stained the walls, and stuff everywhere.   There was a huge sag in the headliner in the galley where many gallons of water had leaked in and collected.  

There was foam insulation added to the engine room, but it had mostly all fallen down and was covering everything.  The engines’ fuel line was stuck in a jerry can, most likely because the fuel tank was foul.

I walked all through the boat, climbed off, and got back in the truck.   No way, I told Pam.  Way too much work is needed.  As I sat there and thought about it, it seemed that maybe my impressions of the boat were unduly influenced by all the stuff on it.  I decided to get back on with my camera and photograph everything.

Back at home, Pam and I went through the photos.  It was bad, but most likely fixable.   It could certainly be a liveaboard, although it might need to be towed everywhere since we had no idea if the engines even ran. 

Living on a boat would be fun, we thought.  I’m not the handiest guy in the world, but I’ve done my share of boat projects in the past, things like some woodworking and painting, just what the boat needed.  We decided to go for it.

We made a deal on the boat, and spent the next couple of months removing all the previous owners’ items.  Many things we kept, like the dishes and silverware.  The clothing went to the Good Will, and many things simply had to be tossed. 

The boat originally had teak decks which had been fiberglassed over, most likely because they leaked.   But the owner's wife wanted teak decks and so the fiberglass was removed.  Now, the decks were covered with plastic sheeting which was taped down.  Water got under the plastic anyway and had leaked down below badly, so I removed the plastic so the decks could start to dry out.

Every week or two, Pam and I would go to the boat to do a few things.  Each trip involved running a hundred plus feet of electric cable to an outlet so we could vacuum and run a little electric heater.  One Saturday in February the temperature rose to a bit over fifty degrees and I took the opportunity to paint the bottom.  I couldn’t move for a week afterwards and vowed never to paint it again.   Some things are best left to young people with good backs.

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