I hated to leave the story in mid-swing but it was growing a bit long-winded and that’s no fun for a blog. I’ll have to break most of these stories into segments. Also, I’m old and I can’t remember… Where were we?
Oh yeah, Jimmy and Mishi were ordering coffee at the Coffee Shop with the big plastic guy in front while I discovered yet another boat to go look at. When Jim came out, I mentioned it briefly and dejectedly as I felt it was just a continuing “Wild Goose” chase. (Which is a funny choice of words since the original name of the boat was Goose). To my amazement, Jimmy said, “Let’s go look at it!” I said, “Nah, it’s probably another shot in the dark.” But… when Mishi chimed in, with her positive “what else are we going to do it’s a beautiful day for a drive?” we decided yet again, “What the hell!” It’s early… let’s take a ride.
And we did. To Toms River. On the way up, we got a little turned around and while we felt we were in the right neighborhood, we weren’t sure. So, Jimmy being Jimmy, decided to ask one of New Jersey’s finest… Um… while he had someone pulled over! As Jimmy got out of our car… to many mutter mumbles of… “Jim… don’t!” The cop graciously and in his best Tony Soprano cranked out a, “…You’re kidding me right?! Don’t approach me sir!” I think, no… I know… there was a major straight arm, talk to the hand with a head shake there too. Of course my loving brother didn’t understand why he couldn’t just answer a simple question! And That’s why I love my brother!
We find the marina. We find the boat. And this is how she looked when we walked down onto the dock. This is that actual morning. My brother had the good sense to snap a pic. And that’s why I love my brother. With coffee and his sweet little dog Cheech in tow, he got out to the dock first and as I got out of the car to join him I heard him yell, “Yo Mo! You’re gonna need to change your flight!” He was right.
When I got down onto the dock, I simply fell in love with this old boat. But this boat was not what I wanted. She was in fact, third or fourth on my list… But man, she was sweet. Such a salty little vessel. Classic lines. Lots of teak. I called the guy and said, “hey, I’m standing on the dock looking at your boat for sale and I’m wondering if you might have a few minutes to come meet me? I’m sorry it’s so last minute but I have a flight to catch at around 3 pm… outta Philly…” He pleasantly said, “I live right around the corner… I’ll be right over.” Wow! Dumb luck huh.
Tom pulled up knowing that I was short on time and got right into readying the boat for a short cruise. I was nervous, already suffering Catholic guilt / buyers remorse and I haven’t purchased a thing! I know it’s crazy. Off we went, out of the channel into Barnegat Bay and if I haven’t said it already… It was beautiful. The God’s were smiling on us. It was August 11 and a warm, perfect breeze filled the jib. She sailed like a dream. Balanced and smooth. Heavy through any chop and I was smitten. I kept telling myself, this isn’t the boat you wanted. Don’t fall in love… just keep a clear head, etc… but I couldn’t. It was as if Brooklyn Decker gave me a hug and peck on the cheek and I blurted out, “I love you!” Um… ahem… did I just say that? Woah, fella. Back up… slowly. Anyway, I made an offer. Less than what he had come down to and I was sure he would be offended and it would be refused. It wasn’t.
NOW… I had the panic attack. Internal dialogue full bore: “What the hell did you just do! This isn’t your big blue water boat! Oh, now what…” Then, silence. It all went quiet as we sailed back into the channel and put her up in her slip. Tom said, “You know… we should drive to my place so I can run it by my wife and make sure she’s cool with it.” Fine. We did. She was… but when he told her they sold the boat… I could see a tiny bit of disbelief in her eyes. I wonder if they miss the old girl. Cut to me dialing my cell phone… you know we did that at one point… Ring… Ring… the girl, “Hello?” Me, “Honey… we bought a boat!”
For anyone paying attention, this is NOT the way to buy a 35 + year old boat. Nope. Nadda. You should make an offer contingent on a survey. Pay the several hundred dollars to have a surveyor to come out and run through that boat with a fine toothed comb. Your instructions to him should be close to this… “Please! Give me every reason NOT TO BUY THIS BOAT!!!!” and then turn him lose and stand back. Not me. Nope. I knew I was going to bring her home, sail her for the summer and promptly tear her to ribbons and fix every, single sliver of weakness. She was Cher and I was a plastic surgeon with a Beverly Hills mortgage! She had good cheek bones but some serious wear… Strong points that could use some “accentuating” if you will. Please… don’t follow my lead… My advice after “don’t buy a boat” would be “don’t buy a 35 year old boat” and after that… “Don’t be a dumb-ass and buy a 35 year old boat without a survey!” If you do… I’ll say a prayer for you. There is that nagging lapsed Catholic again.
A couple weeks later I flew back with the girl and showed her our new, very old boat. We all went out for a sail and then readied her for the trip to Nashville. Took down the sails, boom, blocks and lines, stowed them all carefully and made all preparations with the yard to have her pulled, mast stepped and bottom pressure washed. My baby was headed for the highway and the long nerve-racking trip to her new port. Fresh Water.