Thursday, 27 March 2014

The boat seller blues

We’ve only been home for one week and already I feel like a caged animal, looking desperately for escape routes.  Part of this is surely the weather, but a good deal of it is also feeling trapped between not having sold Spray and not having found a new boat to love. 

For Sale sign: had to make a new one after 1 month of rain and wind blasting.

On selling Spray:  We’ve reduced the price to reflect more reason and less sentiment.  Curiously, this has attracted a spate of tall men recently, all of whom seem genuinely interested in Spray even after they are forced to tilt their heads at uncomfortable angles in the 1.85 meter (~ 6 ft) clearance in the saloon.  But in the sober light of dawn, they realize that it’s not a good choice for them and never call back for that promised follow-up visit.  I can’t blame them, but I think I’m going to start the guided tour inside the boat rather than waste time extolling Spray’s exterior virtues.

On finding a new (used) boat to love:  I’ve come to accept that there is no such thing as the perfect boat and the real challenge is to balance reality with opportunity.  Experience of others has shown that a successful cruising adventure is rarely dependent on the boat.  So after much soul-searching, I now admit publicly that we will not (likely) be rounding the Horn anytime soon, and that, in fact, our cruising plans for the medium term are no more ambitious than those of many sailors to whom the French boat market is targeted.  I have decided to take a “when in Rome” approach, stop being a boat snob, and take a serious look at the Bens, Jens, Dufours and Bavarias that make up the majority of offers in France.  Current favourites (although it’s still difficult for me to consider any of these a favourite) are:  Oceanis 393 Clipper, Bavaria 38 Cruiser, Dufour Grand Large 385, Sun Odyssey 39.  Cue music:  If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

To make myself feel like our project is advancing, I spend 1 hour each day studying Spanish from the most excellent “Spanish for Cruisers” by Kathy Parsons and another few hours reading Lin and Larry Pardey’s “Storm Tactics Handbook” and Rod Heikell’s “Mediterranean Cruising.”  This is followed by a couple of hours of scanning the web for boats and reviews, thus giving me the impression of a full work day.  Next week, weather willing, we will start getting Spray ready for launch: a good scrub-down, a few minor repair jobs, loading and connecting the batteries from their winter storage unit, 2 layers of anti-fouling bottom paint, and then “re-arming” her with her sails.   

Once launched, the plan will be to sail locally until mid-May, and if she hasn’t sold by then, we’ll head down to the northwest coast of Spain (Galice) and Portugal for the summer, heading back in September or October.  Who knows?  Maybe we’ll decide that Spray isn’t so ill-adapted for a couple of middle-aged old farts and their Mediterranean project after all.