How to accidentally buy a sailboat

Ok, I freely admit that I never expected to actually win a sailboat auction on eBay. I’ve been playing this dangerous game of window shopping for older boats and placing bids. It’s a great way to waste some time on a Sunday morning while we catch up on our favorite YouTube sailing channels.

My bids are never much more than the current high bid. I always get outbid in a matter of minutes thanks to automated bids. Always.

I’ve probably placed bids on 20 or more boats over the past few months but I always get outbid really quickly.

That’s precisely what happened last weekend as I was window shopping and getting ready for my trip to Fort Lee, VA. Heather and I were watching sailing videos and my silly self was doing some harmless bidding on eBay. I was being outbid quickly and I just figured that nothing would ever come of it. Another lovely Sunday morning spent with my sweetie and no harm done.

On Monday I got an email from eBay that said I was the high bidder on a boat again because bids placed after my last one had been retracted. What? How does that happen? I always thought all bids were final. How had I suddenly become the high bidder? How much longer would I remain the high bidder?

The listing still had another 24 hours to go. Oddly, most of the “watchers” were no longer interested. No one else was placing bids. This was truly odd. But – i had almost won a bid once before only to be greatly outbid in the final 5 seconds of the auction. We weren’t getting our hopes up. Not this time.

The boat I was bidding on was an older boat – a 1974 Paceship 32. From the pics that were online, it looked to be pretty well taken care of but that can be misleading. The previous owner had donated the boat to charity and they were auctioning it on eBay. No need to get the hopes up. Hell, it probably didn’t even have a working engine if it was donated.

Tuesday afternoon, shortly after my classes were over, I checked eBay to see if it was still there. Had they pulled the listing? Why was no one outbidding me?

Then I got an email from eBay. The auction had 15 minutes until ending and I was still the high bidder. Whatever. Someone will swoop in.

The next message was a pop up on my phone. I had won. I don’t even know how that happened.

I have a theory that someone’s autobidding drove away the other watchers and I got extremely lucky. We’ll see how that plays out. Maybe it was my ruthless persistence. Maybe someone checked out the boat in person and decided it was a rusty misrepresented hulk.

Whatever it was, I was now getting a phone call from the charity that auctioned it wanting to know how I’d be paying for the boat. Once they received payment, I’d be sent a Bill of Sale and have 6 days to dispute the sale as a misrepresentation.

Ok, great. I’m in the middle of a military class and scheduled to fly back to Florida on Friday. The boat is in Connecticut. I’ve never even been to Connecticut. Now I have to completely rearrange my trip, figure out to get there, and go make sure this thing actually exists.

And that’s when the Real Fun begins …

One comment

  1. That’s how we got our boat. EBay Charity Auction. We were not in the market for a boat and my wife didn’t even tell me she was bidding on it. Some Block Island charity. They delivered it to Harry’s Marine in Westbrook CT, where we kept it for 3 years before sailing it up the Hudson to be closer to home.

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