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Archive for May, 2021

There’s a hoary old saying about boat ownership: “The two happiest days of a boat owner’s life are the day he buys it, and the day he sells it.” The saying bears a certain justice, though “the day I sold it” was far too bittersweet for me to call it a “happiest” day. But my life and my lifestyle have changed enough, in the last couple of years, that selling Halcyon was the best thing to do, for me, for Halcyon, and for Halcyon’s new owner.

Halcyon, in August 2019, taken from a fellow Bristol 29.9 in the Rhode River.

The situation (not really a ‘problem’) was that I simply wasn’t getting out on the boat all that often. Oh, the COVID restrictions in early 2020 played a part in that, when Maryland banned pleasure-boating for a couple of months in the beginning of the season; but I’d only got out for a dozen afternoons in 2019, and I had to admit, the thrill was ebbing. Then in July, I took a three-week road trip across to the Pacific Northwest — and found a whole new thrill, and a great pleasure in seeing and driving through the beauty and majesty of the Western states!

So that became “Strike One” against continuing to own a boat.

A couple of months later, my “adopted mother,” Pat, decided she’d had enough of living alone under the strictures of COVID isolation. She sold her condo in Bel Air, MD and moved in with her daughter and son-in-law, who have “adopted” me as well; I’ve spent Thanksgiving with them, the last couple of years, and last year David introduced me to “car culture” by taking me to Caffeine and Octane in his well-restored 1971 Corvette. Wow, that was cool … and later that afternoon, when he handed me the keys to his 2004 “daily driver” Corvette, let’s just say that set the hook deep! Definitely I’d found another “new thrill” … and a Corvette of my own, especially a fifth-generation ‘Vette like David’s “daily driver,” was well within my means and my ability to pay for its maintenance.

For Halcyon, that was “Strike Two.”

Then, in mid-December, I got the bill for next year’s slip fee — $3000, for the privilege of parking my boat at the marina. Back in November, I’d paid about $900 to have Halcyon “hauled out” for winter storage on-the-hard, and there had been other expenses as well … but if I round-off to $3900, and divide that by the twelve day-sails I’d taken, I was paying $325 for each afternoon on the boat. Plus, I had to round the Washington Beltway (or cross north of the Beltway through Laurel, then I-68) to get to this Big Boy’s Big Toy … and it just wasn’t worth it any more.

By comparison, a fifth-generation (“C5”) Corvette would sit nicely in my townhouse’s assigned parking place, a thirty-second walk from my front door. Oh, it would use a hell of a lot more fuel … but I already knew that “miles per gallon” would be secondary to “SMILES per gallon,” cruising in that low, lean, powerful, iconic American sports-car. And even at $3.899 per gallon for high-test, it would take a thousand gallons (about 25,000 miles’ worth of driving) to equal the fixed cost of keeping my sailboat at the marina.

So that was, “Strike Three — ye’rrOUT!”

That afternoon, I called the yacht-broker who had sold me Halcyon, ten years ago, and who had brokered the sail of my trailer-sailor, Bossa Nova, some time afterwards. I listed the boat with him, and started clearing it out and cleaning it up — and days later, he told me he had an offer some $1500 (7.5%) below the asking price we’d established. I quoted Molly Bloom, from James Joyce’s Ulysses — “Yes I said yes I will Yes!”

A couple of months later, when the weather had gotten warm enough for a sea-trial, I met the purchaser and her boyfriend. She was excited and THRILLED about the boat, and attentive and appreciative about the upgrades and “Easter-eggs” I’d added over the years. She was just what Halcyon needed, an excited and thrilled new owner who would get her out sailing, and really enjoy her. There was a satisfaction for me in that, that sweetened the bitterness of saying goodbye to my old “fiberglass mistress” and the sailing life. But it was time for me to move on, and time for the new owner to move in.

And for my part, I drove over to the marina in my 2001 Corvette convertible – my new Thrill, my own “Big Boy’s Toy,” which I showed off to the buyer and her boyfriend, to Greg the broker and the marina staff, before I kissed Halcyon farewell and drove off West, “Beyond The Sunset.”

My “NEW Fiberglass Mistress,” at the west end of Arizona’s “Historic Route 66.”

Obviously, I’ve come to a turning point in my life … having abandoned sailing in favor of The Open Road. I’d like to think I’ve grown, but there’s no doubt I’ve changed direction.

I still figure this is an appropriate place to share the stories of my travels, starting with last month’s cross-country trip in “The Pewter Bullet.” (One of my friends called it “The Silver Bullet,” but the color is “Light Pewter,” and that name’s already taken by a low-carb light beer in a skinny silver can.) And you could say I’m still “going beyond the sunset,” but now it’s a mountain sunset, or a desert sunset, or at any rate, the sunset west of my home sweet home.

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