Saturday, June 6, 2009

Yo Ho Ho Continued... Boating Insanity

Holy Cow - It's been well-over a month now! Jeesh!

Sometimes "Real Life" gets in the way of Blogging, I think!

...Anyhooooooo... $14,900.00 *was* suspiciously cheap for an '06 MacGregor 26M - considering that *most* of the Macs you see listed (similarly equipped/similar vintage) were "asking" $25-$30K...

The story on that boat was: It was a Repo. According to the broker (And they're like clergy, ya know?! Taking vows of "Honesty" and all that) [Note dripping sarcasm], "The former owner took REAL good care of her - She's in REAL nice shape!"

And Rog (love him dearly, but honestly, he is a smooth-talking salesman's wet-dream) took him at his word. "Look! I found this boat in Long Beach - and the broker says she's in really good shape - and it's a STEAL!" (Or words to that effect). And "We've been talking about this for years and years - and we keep saying 'Next Year' [True enough] and - dammit! - I'm TIRED of postponing my DREAMS." (and yada-yada).

Well, I didn't immediately say "NO" which, of course, meant "Yes," Right?!

So - Long Story Short (and it *was* a long story - but I didn't have an opportunity to capture it - Sorry!!!), Rog *also* found a boat on Craigslist - down in Newport Beach. 2005 MacGregor 26M - asking $20,000.00.

We made arrangements to fly down and check out the boats toward the end of April. I did my homework on both boats by printing out the NADAGUIDE values for each boat (Boating equivalent to Kelly Blue-Book).

I also managed to locate BoatGuru John (from many earlier Boating Adventures - he's one of the key players in the Haul-Out Page, as well as the Albatross Adventure). Presently, he's working as a Marine Surveyor, inspecting BIG ol' Tankers and whatnot - out of San Diego. Bless his heart, he agreed to drive up and meet us up in Long Beach to look over Bachelorette #1 (The Repo Boat) - and since Newport was on his way back - he checked out Bachelorette #2, as well.

As it turned out, Bachelorette #1 was not quite as "well-loved" as one might have hoped. Agreed, the former owner *hadn't* removed everything of value prior to her reposession, but she was lacking a trailer (which could prove to be a bit problematic, seein' as how we wanted to bring her back to Northern Cal!). Yeah, she was definitely in need of some serious lovin' - and my days of bringing *those* kindsa boats home are OVER!

John scrawled out a list of necessary repairs - breaking 'em down into "Must be done RIGHT AWAY" versus "Can wait 'til you can afford it," along with ballpark estimates.......

Turns out the $14,900.00 boat was gonna end up costing somewhere in the realm of $25,000.00 when it was all said-and-done...

I'm skipping the gory details at this point. But I will note that, when John cornered the broker, even *he* agreed that an offer of $10K would probably be more realistic. But he also noted that the bank probably wouldn't accept it...

On to Bachelorette #2:

Lazy Lightning is her name. Turns out that's an old Grateful Dead tune (so much for re-naming her Parrot-Dise, in honor of Jimmy Buffett!). She was owned by Gary and Joanne. Gary's an airline pilot for United Airlines and extremely anal and fastidious. He's kinda like Roger's doppleganger!

Well, Lazy Lightning is a boat who's had a TON of lovin'! She even spent some time in the Hawaiian Islands (when Gary got transferred, they paid to have the boat shipped to Kaneohe for a couple of years). G&J were the second owners (they bought her from a guy - an old DeadHead from the sounds of it - up near Sacramento). They were more into "entertaining" [read: Drinking] on Newport Harbor so they mostly motored. The sails are practically brand-new! (To say nothing of the fact that we received Every Single Manual that goes along with Every Single Piece of Equipment on the boat - which really *is* a Good Thing!)

Gary, being fastidious, wouldn't even let us LOOK at her 'til he'd had a chance to give her a thorough scrubbing. Hell, he even *bought* new carpeting just before we arrived because he wanted her to "show" well!

So John gave her a thorough once-over and proclaimed (to us) that the choice was a No-Brainer! Yeah, there are a small handful of minor issues - but nothing Mission Critical - so we ended up making a "reasonable offer" which Gary and Joanne graciously accepted.

"Holy sh*t - We bought us a boat!"

Funny little side-story there. Rog and I had discussed our "Plan of Attack" before we flew down to SoCal. Not knowing which boat we wanted, and knowing - at the same time - that both boats *did* have several "interested parties" waiting in the wings. We knew that we needed to be able to Act Fast. I suggested that we should be in a position to present cash (thinking "Cashier's Check") to demonstrate our sincere interest. Rog took that literally and was traveling with $5,000.00 CASH ("Are you freakin' kidding me?!!").

We'd also had a conversation with G&J the night before. Joanne was the Money Gal and, based on Craiglist warnings, she was dubious of accepting a Cashier's Check - fearing counterfeits. She wanted us to arrange a wire-transfer. Well, Craigslist warns against Wire-Transfers as well! And I was pretty adamant about NOT wanting to part with unrecoverable money!!!

We'd kinda deadlocked - before we even arrived - about "how" we were going to handle the transfer of $$... Bear in mind, we haven't even SEEN the boat, right?!! Rog handed the phone to me and Joanne expressed her concerns about accepting a Cashier's Check. I also expressed my concerns about wiring money, and we "agreed to disagree" until we met and actually SAW the boat!

Well, the concerns voiced - on both sides - were certainly "valid" because it's natural, these days, to worry about getting ripped-off in the course of an "online" transaction. I'd even gone so far as to look into Escrow Services (which - as it turns out - there's a whole OTHER world of scam-artists - sheesh!!!). In the end, once we met, we all felt pretty comfortable with each other. Plus, I explained to Joanne that I *had* been the manager of the Cashier's Check Dept for BofA for MANY years - so I was very-much-aware of counterfeiting scams and could certainly understand her concerns...

Anyhooo... We were pretty simpatico, and it turned out that they really didn't want CASH-cash (Oh, irony of ironies - they "bank" with the same Credit Union we'd gotten our loan thru!). So we invited them to accompany us TO THE BANK so they could WATCH the teller print-out the Cashier's Check. And they laughed and joked about how we'd gone to "so much effort to set-up a bogus Wells-Fargo Bank so we could pass them a counterfeit cashier's check!" I laughed and joked, too, about how "it cost us 5x the price of the boat to rent this warehouse and set-it-up to look *just* like a Wells-Fargo branch!"

We gave 'em the money. They gave us the pink slip. We did the transfer thru DMV. And the following weekend, we drove home with a boat hitched to the back of our truck!!!

Finding a place to STORE the boat was another story altogether. Again, I'll spare you the play-by-play, but we ended up finding an inexpensive marina in Redwood City so we don't have to deal with launching and retrieving her every time we want to go out (more irony there: I wanted a trailerable boat so we *wouldn't* have to keep it in the water and deal with the add'l maintenance that goes along with that).

Sooooo.... In the interest of brevity (Oops - Too Late!), I'll close this post with this "We are Boat-Owners!!!" Holy sh*t!!!

More stories to come, I'm sure................

View my page on Meet the Phlockers