Hard Aground, Again

Hard Aground, Again (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, 2012)

Dear POTENTIAL BOAT OWNER: I offer the letter below as a warning. Boat ownership is not nearly as easy as Jimmy Buffett makes it out to be. Beer helps. Money helps more.

“Thank you for your recent inquiry as to the availability of the Fit 2B Untied. I’ll be honest: I had no idea anyone would ever be interested in this boat. Especially in this economy. But knowing how a man in your position would hate to pass up a good deal, I charged ahead and drafted your checking account the full asking price for this perfect yacht. I’ve texted you a picture. As you can see, she’s a classic. Or was. (More on this, later.)

“I originally thought $39,000 sounded a little high for a 27-foot boat in this condition, but the man at the salvage yard assured me that was a fair price. The fact they don’t make this model anymore concerned me at first. I thought maybe the design had fallen out of favor, but my contact explained that it had something to do with lawsuits and actuaries. Anyway, when I heard that, I began to feel better.

“Now, knowing how a person of your stature likes to have things done right, you’ll be interested in the information I managed to gather about the engine.

“First, you’ll be pleased to know we were able to knock the rust off the engine block and find the serial number. We traced it back and found that it WAS NOT originally a diesel engine. I must say I was surprised. It sure smelled and leaked oil like a diesel engine. My contact at the salvage yard said the engine could probably be converted back to gasoline, if you like, making it as good as new. Knowing how important it is to move fast with these projects, I went ahead and drafted your account the $8900 fee so the men on the yard could get started.

“About the boat itself. Who would have thought that for that price it would have a big hole in it?

“It sure caught me by surprise, I’ll tell you that. I didn’t even notice how low she rode in the water until we did the sea trial. The two of us barely escaped before she sank.

“By the way, after the sea trial, the man working on the engine restoration project must have gotten sick or something because I haven’t seen him since I gave him the money I drafted out of your account.

“Oh, here’s some more good news. I ran into an engineer from Ukraine who said he could refit your boat for $22,500. He said he used to work for the Russian Navy before he retired to the States. His last retrofit was that submarine, the Kursk. That’s the one that blew up and sank. But Yuri — that’s his name — said he stands behind his work. “Way behind,” I think were his exact words.

“I drafted your account for half the renovation fee because I knew, based on the sparse amenities on your yacht before it sank, that you’d want any improvements done before you saw it. I’m sure Yuri is down there in the water right now looking for your boat because I haven’t seen him since.

“One final thing.

“The salvage yard owner threw in a 5-gallon bucket of something called “boat rot” that he said would come in handy. I thought it tasted a little like Pabst, but a guy at the ship’s store said it made wood much stronger and that all wooden boats, especially ones as old as yours, kept buckets of this stuff aboard.

P.S. There is an alternative to raising your boat if we can ever find it. I know a gal who offered to give your family scuba lessons for the low price of $7,500. If you went that route your family could enjoy your new boat right where it is. Of course, you wouldn’t be seen by as many of your yachting friends, so that’s something to keep in mind.

“I wanted to keep your options open, so I drafted another $3000 from your account for the scuba class. – Al, your yacht broker, where my motto is, ‘You’re broker today than you were yesterday.'”

2nd volume in this series and covers the years on larger boats I could not afford. – EJ


3.8 out of 5 stars (and working hard to get to 4!!!! out of 5 stars)
64 global ratings

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