Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Heartwarming Story

Drift Away is for sale, as you regular followers know. Pam and I love our boat, a Cheoy Lee LRC (Long Range Cruiser) 46 trawler, but we bought some land in the Adirondack Mountains last summer and want to return there to build our little homestead.  I mentioned in a previous blog about having two dreams.   Well, cruising was one, and a small place in the mountains was another.  We've done one, now on to the next.  We put Drift Away up for sale about a month ago, and the response has been both overwhelming, and typical.

Oh sure, we had the scammer who sent us a cashier's check for $41,000 more than our asking price, with the balance to be given to the "delivery captain". We had our "we have a dream to cruise but have no money to buy a boat" folks. We've had two "I'd like to steal your boat" offers. But today, we had someone really special.

Bob drove down to Brunswick, GA from Savannah to look at Drift Away. He looked to be in his mid to late 70s.  He was accompanied by his daughter Gail. He boarded the boat and as he looked around, he had a wistful look. He seemed to know his way around. He was soaking up his surroundings.

I chatted with Bob a bit, small talk.  As it turned out, Bob owned a Cheoy Lee 46 LRC many years ago, and lived aboard with his wife and three daughters. He did much research before buying his boat and decided that this model Cheoy Lee was the perfect boat for him and his family. They cruised on their boat for three years before his wife decided it was time to buy a place with a bathtub. Bob reluctantly sold his boat and spent a number of years working at his business as a developer.

Sadly, his wife passed away last October. Bob decided he wanted to live aboard again, and wanted another Cheoy Lee 46 LRC trawler. His broker put him in contact with our broker who called us.

Neither my broker nor his broker accompanied him to Drift Away. Maybe they didn't take him seriously because of his advanced age?  I did.  I showed Bob all around our boat. I pointed out the good points and the bad. I made sure he knew what was done, and what was left to be done to finish its restoration.  He said he has a fellow who works for him who lives aboard and knows boats, and also does painting and carpentry.  He was a bit unsteady around the boat, but I could see him thinking "I can do this!".   

Bob asked if he could be alone to look around the boat, and of course I said sure.  After ten or fifteen minutes, he called me over.   He asked about the electronics in the engine  room.   Electronics?   Oh, the Filter Bosses.  So I explained again how they worked.

Before he left, Bob told me that he contacted Patti at Isle of Hope Marina in Savannah to talk about being a liveaboard there.  You don't do that unless you're a serious buyer.   He seemed satisfied, and he left.

I got thinking about Bob later that day. His wife, the love of his life, had passed away.  No doubt he was very sad and was very alone.  He felt a need to recapture happier times in his life, to relive perhaps his happiest days. 

I looked on YachtWorld for Cheoy Lee 46 foot trawlers. Drift Away is the only one for sale in the world.  There weren't many built, but usually there's a few on there.  Not now, just Drift Away.

I've had a lot of people come to look at Drift Away. Another looker is coming today.  But, if I'm lucky enough to have several offers to come in to buy my boat... if Bob's is in there, and if it meets my minimum price, I'm taking it.  I don't care if his is the lowest offer.   A boat isn't just a boat.  It's not just an assemblage of fiberglass and wood.  A boat is a dream machine, a magic carpet to take you to mystical places.  If I can help a guy approaching the end of his days recover some of his happiest times, I'll leap at the chance.

Just call me a sap.

In case you're wondering what we'll do if Drift Away doesn't sell by May, our thought is to take it to Florida and have it hauled for the summer.   We'll return after the Christmas holidays and continue our cruise south.   Maybe I'll actually get around to painting the boat even, and the paneling.   Or not.  


  1. Dave, if you're a sap, then the world needs more saps.
    And I found it interesting how you described what a boat can be, in light of our boat's name...Magic Carpet.

    1. Magic Carpet would be a close second to Drift Away for me...

      Well, you don't know what
      We can find
      Why don't you come with me little girl
      On a magic carpet ride

      Well, you don't know what
      We can see
      Why don't you tell your dreams to me
      Fantasy will set you free

  2. My fingers are crossed that Bob will find his way back to your Drift Away. This really is a heartwarming story.

    1. Me too Mary. Not for us to sell Drift Away, but for Bob and his memories.

  3. My fingers are crossed also for Bob being able to do what he wants.

    Bill Kelleher

    1. C'mon Bob, do this. This is how I'd like to go...