Clearing the waters
OK, before we continue the story, I feel I should address some of the comments that have come across on Facebook and on this site. Lots of folks have opinions about participating in auctions and I feel I may have not accurately presented my eBay experience.
Firstly, I was NOT bidding on boats just to try to drive up the bids. I was always bidding on boats in the hopes of actually making a boat purchase. We don’t have a huge budget and we understand how eBay works. You bid, you win, you pay. Otherwise, someone else who wants it more will win.
Sadly, there are a lot of operators on eBay that use automated tools to run up the bidding at the very last second. We’ve missed out on making a boat purchase many times. My method was to place a bid on a decent boat and hope / pray / beg that I wouldn’t be outbid. We were really close to owning a boat about a month ago and were literally outbid by someone using some software within the last five seconds of the auction. If you want to have complaints about someone on eBay – these are the people who deserve your ire.
Secondly, I blocked out the final price of the boat because I know that always draws a lot of judgement – both good and bad. When it was apparent that we might actually win this auction, we both went into extreme research mode. We wanted to find out everything we possibly could about this type of boat. We researched their history, their resell values, and tried to determine if we were stuck with a dud. We’ll reveal the final price eventually but we want to wait until the survey is complete before we do.
Shortly after the auction closed, the charity that had auctioned the boat called. All I needed to do was arrange payment and they would give me the contact info for the previous owner. They forwarded their warranty policy. This was a form to acknowledge that lots of donor boats are junk. The engine may or may not work (even though the listing specifically stated it did). We were given 6 days to visit the boat, or have an agent check it out, and file a complaint if we felt it wasn’t as advertised.
Long story short: I paid the bid price, they turned over the info, and I started the process to go visit the boat.
Normally, this would be no problem. But, as I mentioned before, I was sitting just south of Richmond, VA and scheduled to fly home to Florida in 2 days. I called the airline to try to add a hop up to the Northeast but, they wanted a thousand dollars for that privilege. Nope. Not doing THAT.
I was able to get the airline to push my scheduled return flight back by one day for a much more reasonable fee. But that would mean getting myself to the Northeast and back on my own.
Thanks to my hectic travel schedule of the past 2 years, I had a BUNCH of reward points though IHG hotels. I was able to get a room in Connecticut at no cost. I added another in Richmond the following day, at no cost. After a quick call to the rental car company, I added a day to the rental and was all set.
I just had to wait for the class I was in to finish and then hit the road. No problem. Just a 7 hour drive through the DC area and NYC, a quick check of the boat, and a 7 hour drive back to make my next flight. Good times.
And, that’s exactly what I did.
As it turned out, the previous owner is an older gentleman in his 80s. He is no longer able to take care of the boat. His son figured it was easier to take the donation value of the boat. Putting her up for sale at this time of the year is a bad idea. Paying another $2000 to store a boat you don’t use over the winter is an even worse idea. They were very upfront about any issues on her and seem to have kept meticulous records.
The boat, at 45 years old now, has only known 2 owners. The gentleman who donated her has kept her in great shape over the years. According to the records I found onboard, he and his wife had her since the early 1990s. Apparently they were using her to race around Long Island Sound and along the East Coast for awhile.
Visiting the boat
Friday morning, I woke up super-excited! The previous owner wasn’t available to meet me at the boat but had arranged for the keys to be available for me to take a look around. The purpose of this trip wasn’t to perform a survey or anything – it was just to validate the purchase and get a general idea of the condition. I was ready to go and checked out of the hotel in about 30 minutes!
Driving through the small Connecticut towns was an experience in itself. I’ve not spent much time in that area and will certainly want to go back someday to visit.
When I pulled in to the marina, they were expecting me and pointed me in the direction of the boat. Knowing she was a donation and that photos can be edited I was starting to get really anxious. I made my way down to the end of the dock and my heart leapt.
Walking down the dock, I passed several derelict boats. There were several boats that were floating but that had obviously seen their better days. There were brand new boats that probably cost more than our home. But there, sitting in the very last slip, was OUR boat. The boat I had only seen in photos and was unsure if it was even real. Until now.
Does she need some work? Sure! You don’t pay this little for a boat and not expect to put some work into her. Does she sail? You better believe it! Will she work for us? We’ll see – we’re setting up the survey now and will have plenty more to tell you when that takes place.
In the meantime, I managed to quickly film a couple of minutes worth of video while checking her out.
Until next time! Cheers!!