Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Fast Work

I'm sometimes accused of being impetuous.

I found the Ericson 30 on the internet on a Saturday morning. I met the owner at its slip Saturday afternoon. That evening we were at his house looking at the boat's documents, agreeing on a purchase timetable and I was writing a deposit check.

Oh yes, I would have to sell my current boat.

Life had changed since I bought that other boat with it's 12-year bank loan. Now I was retired, which I hadn't planned to do, ever. I was living on a fairly fixed income, having found that my idea of what my services were worth to other employers was inflated. Mostly, they were worth nothing.

The current boat was bigger, much newer, in superb condition and should sell easily. I had been thinking about selling it for awhile. I simply couldn't continue making its payments and also buy the new sails it needed to be competitive in club races, nor add the radar that I wanted on board the next time I found myself alone offshore in the fog. And, being larger, it took a greater physical effort to sail alone. I had realized that I wasn't going to get younger or stronger, or even maintain what youth and strength I currently had.

So recently I had begun looking at boat ads on the internet. Mostly I didn't see anything I liked that I could afford and nothing that I could afford that I liked. Then, on that fateful Saturday, I saw the listing for the Ericson.

I had thought that Ericson 30s were pretty boats every time I saw one, which was only occasionally. This one certainly was, despite the outboard hanging off the stern. It was in pretty good condition. The interior was remarkably clean. Boom-end sheeting for the mainsail greatly reduced the effort to handle that sail compared to the mid-boom sheeting of my current and previous boats. The mainsail may well have been 37 years old, but I could afford new sails for the Ericson. The last boat I owned with a new sail was a Snipe dinghy in the early 70s. The Ericson was cheap. I could afford it. I couldn't even bring myself to haggle over the asking price in good conscience. So I agreed to pay $5,500.

Later, after the deal was made, I learned that the seller had dropped the price $1,500 that very morning. And after several months of little interest, he began getting multiple calls a day after accepting my deposit check.