Buying a new boat is itself always an experience to be remembered. It has been widely said that the two happiest days for a boat owner is the day they buy their boat and they day they sell her.
I had a chance to enjoy both buying and selling in December of 2003. A buyer was purchasing our 55' Ferro Cement Ketch, Aquarius, and I was going out to find a new boat with some of the money. As the closing date got closer on Aquarius I spent more time browsing the boat ads on the 'net. After I had the money ready to go it was hard not to go out looking. The week before XMas I hopped in my van and headed off for Florida. There were a few boats in New England, but who would want to buy a boat up north in the middle of the winter ? I still had ads in New York and Maryland to look at, but the Florida boats all had an advantage - I'd have to sail any of them home this winter.
The range of ads I had were for what I wanted to afford and get - the largest serviceable boats I could find ( < 35ft ) for under $8000.00. I first looked at a 32ft Grampian that was once a nice boat, but was well used. But the next boat on the list was El Tigre, in Treasure Island, near St Petersburg. I already had a prejudice towards her from looking at the ads, but when I saw her it was love at first sight. I almost bought her right then and there, but explained to the owner that I wouldn't be able to complete a sale untill I got a second check for Aquarius in January, and that there were a few other boats I wanted to go look at before making a decision. He told me he'd think about the closing arrangements, and give me a day to go look at other boats.
I drove on down I-75 and across Aligator Alley to Ft. Lauderdale to take a look at several other boats. A boat I went to look at in Hollywood, FL was in terrible condition. The 32' boat had been set up for single hand racing once, but had no interior and looked like she'd been rode hard and put away wet. One of the folks at Summerfield Boat Works was selling his Irwin which was smaller and less money in a little better condition, but I was pretty set on trying to get El Tigre.
The next morning I arranged to drive back over and see the seller. After another long look at her I found most of the problems she did have. All the brightwork needed care. The Universal Atomic 4 gas engine burned a little oil. Some seacocks needed replacing. Wiring was a mess in places. She had no radio or electronics. And a good portion of the cabin sole had rot. There would be more problems I wasn't finding yet.
There was also a lot going for the old Morgan, too. She had a very full inventory of decent sails. The rigging was very serviceable. The engine ran well. She had an interior, with functioning head. She came with a boat stove. Her anchor tackle was good. There was a good solid dinhgy with sailing rig included. And I was in love.
I paid the seller a deposit and arranged to close the sale the next month. El Tigre was going to be ours !
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(c)Copyright 2004 by Eugene Kashpureff