The Joy & Heartache of Selling Your Sailboat

Our past blog, Crew of Wave Dancer, is no more. To check out the old blog, click here..

Yes, we’ve sold the old gal. It brings tears to my eyes, both for happiness and remorse.

Selling a boat is easier than buying a boat. At least it should be.

It was not for us. Here’s a breakdown of how things proceeded to go…

We decided it would be best to change the filters out in the diesel before showing anyone around the boat. Why? Because we’re honest people. Let this be a lesson to you all, honesty will get you nowhere in this world. The result of our goodwill somehow angered the god of boats and put some juju on our engine, causing the diesel not to start and we were just hours away from when the first would-be buyers were scheduled to come onboard. Keep in mind, this has never happened before. Our boat may not have been big but it was reliable. It was as though fate (or maybe the spirit of our boat) knew we were trying to sell her. The potential buyers arrived right on time for us to show them our beautiful little sailboat with an engine that would not turn over…We proceeded to show them the ins ands outs of the Wave Dancer nonetheless, pretty much thinking there was no way in Hell we were going to sell this thing if we couldn’t even start the engine.

Keep in mind, we were pretty desperate to get rid of her at this point. The hurricane bearing down on Florida, just a week out, was not helping our urge to sell as fast as possible. Our Florida insurance required us to dry dock our boat in the event of a storm. This would have cost us well over a thousand dollars and delay the sale. Desperate is not a good way to sell a boat or, well, anything for that matter. We were already selling our boat for much less than it was worth because we had something interesting in the works – big news. You’ll have to read the next blog entry for the juicy details and it’s nothing typical and expected like having a kid or buying a house. No offense to those who think these two things are big and exciting – they’re only exciting to you and a handful of your closest friends and family. No one else is impressed that you’re able to reproduce, it’s been done before, after all! Just trust me when I say, our news is off the beaten path and blows having a kid way out of the water. *Please keep your hate mail to one page.

Dave took the buyers back to shore, dropped them off and asked them to let us know if they had any questions – like perhaps, “Why doesn’t the engine start?” As he shoved the dinghy off the dock and started back to the boat, he heard a whistle. He looked back and saw them signaling for him to come back. The couple tells him they’re seriously interested. They tell him that if we can get the motor started, consider her sold.

Holy shit!

We spent the entire rest of the windless day in a boat, with no air conditioning, beating our heads against the damned diesel, stiflingly hot, burning and baking, frustrated and stressed. These are emotions that you will get to experience often when you become a boat owner. We didn’t know exactly what the problem was. We knew there was air in the lines, way more than what there should have been. We had cranked the engine over about a dozen times in attempts to purge the air out, bled and re-bled the system, checked for leaks, blocks, gremlins, gum…We simply couldn’t get the air out and the engine started. We had been through every diesel book we owned (which is substantial – never skimp on books about boats when living on a boat) and even got desperate enough to look online for information. Looking on the internet for accurate and trustworthy information can be like opening Pandora’s box. The trolls and demons that come out of the woodwork are endless.

Finally, feeling the bitter taste of defeat, we called it a night. Quite distraught and upset that we might have to take it up the tailpipe to have a mechanic come out to the boat, potentially costing us hundreds, if not thousands.

The next morning, we woke up with determination to get the engine started or to write a fat check. After all, we told ourselves, it’s only money. Why do poor people tell themselves this anytime they’re on the verge of losing it? After cranking the engine over and over again, we finally had the thought: what if we received bad information online? Shocking, I know. Our first thought was the iffy article that about the bleed screws on the injectors being a one-way system, having read that you could crank the engine to bleed out the air and close the bleed screws after the fact, because no air would come back in this way. WRONG. We changed up the order, closed the bleed screws then stopped the cranking and the diesel turned over like a possum faking dead. Crafty little buggers.

We called up the buyers and took them out for a sail the next day.

We made plans to meet them at the end of the week to exchange the goods. We needed to find the titles for both the dinghy and the boat. After tearing apart everything we owned in the truck, the guest room we were crashing in, books, bags, boxes and papers – we couldn’t find either of them.

Once again, blood flow starts to dramatically increase. Chance of aneurism, likely. Urge to Incredible-Hulk-Out, high. Good news though, easy fix. $23 bucks to replace them, same day, at a tax collector. Done. Blood pressure returning to normal. All systems go.

I was really beginning the think that I must be severely lacking in character, if the saying “adversity builds character” is true. I must be as interesting as a cowpie. Pile on more adversity, please!

How we managed to accidentally and inadvertently self inflict these ridiculous woes upon ourselves, I have yet to understand. 90% of our sailing challenges were because we’d screwed something up, missed a step, lost a marble. Masochism at it’s finest. We’re both hoping to transcend from this shortly…

No longer being boat owners, wanna-be cruisers, liveaboards or rum-drunk sailors in the making – I feel a slight identity crises. How to define myself today? Dog owner, woman, wife; all these just don’t quite do it for me. Homeless – that’s a surefire definition. I am homeless as ever now. Plus, the boredom has begun to set in. Without the constant work, effort, stress and perpetual learning a sailboat provided, I’m feeling lazy and braindead.

I’m hoping the buyers, a really nice family from Florida, enjoy her. I can’t help but laugh at the demon of owning a boat and what they have in store for them. I hope they love it and simultaneously loathe it as much as we did.

In the meantime, we’ll be headed out of Florida any day now. First to St. Augustine to see our some friends, then to North Carolina to be in the beautiful wilderness again and cram in as much climbing as possible, then visit some family in New Jersey, off to New Hampshire for my first time, maybe to Ohio to see an old friend, then across the plains to Colorado, down to New Mexico to visit my folks and grandparents, then finally back to beloved Arizona. The dog hasn’t been told of our plans. Lest a riot.