July 13, 2012
Unfortunately, Martinique is going to have to wait a while. Last Saturday evening I went to dinner in a little place that was
recommended to me by a friend in the states. I was sitting at the bar eating peas and rice and a grilled grouper talking to a guy from Key Largo. He told me that he was down here on a vacation to get away from the pressures of his job and the messy divorce he was currently going through. He said he had been sailing the waters of the Caribbean for the past couple of weeks and had decided to sell his boat. He assured me it was in his and only his name and that he would sell it to me at a really good price if I wanted it. To say the least I was skeptical. I told him I was not in the market for and could not really afford to buy a boat on my meager income. He said, “bud you can’t afford not to buy this boat.”
We ended up sharing a meal and a bottle Captain Morgan Private Stock. We left the café and went to a bar for another drink or two. Two
ended up in being five more and by that time we had discussed why he was wanting to sell his boat we came down to a price and he said he needed to make enough off of it to get back home in first class style. He said his wife was about to get it declared as hers even
though she hated to sail and her name was not on the bill of sale or the title. He said he would rather a perfect stranger have it than her. His only thought was that she should go to someone with a love for the sea that would get good use out of her. He said if I didn’t buy her he would find someone else to sell her to. After hours of discussion he offered her to me at the unbelievably low price of $2,250. That was the exact cost of a charter captain and his sail boat for the trip back to Key Largo. I told him I could scrape up the money if I had it wired in from my bank account in the states but I wanted to make certain that he still wanted to do this in the morning when his head was clear from the clouds cast on it by really good rum we had been enjoying. I told him that I would meet him at the boat the next morning and if he was still serious I would get the money wired down and we would make the transaction complete. He said he all of the paperwork with him, including his original bill of sale. He told me her name and I immediately thought I would like to change it and that will have to take place before I could take ownership.
The next morning I showed up at the boat, not really expecting him to be there. He was there sitting on the deck smoking a long extremely black cigar and drinking a large mug of equally black coffee. “What do you think?” he asked as he saw me walking down the dock to the boat. He knew what I thought because of the big smile across my face. “Do you still want her?” I asked him if he was really serious and he replied, “never more serious in his life.” He said that his soon-to-be ex was cheating on him and that they had agreed to a simple, quiet divorce. It was at that time that she hired a slick Miami attorney to represent her. One thing led to another and the agreement they had that they could date during the divorce went sour when her lawyer saw the opportunity to make a lot of money off of him and had him photographed by a private detective in, let’s say, some compromising situations with a young lady in the water off of Naples, Fl.
One thing led to another and his divorce was “headed south”. He took his boat and a few pieces of jewelry and some expensive watches he had collected through the years and left on his boat. His original idea was to sell those things and live as an expat for a few months and then head back to face the music. Then he decided it would be better to sell everything he could before it was “frozen” or declared “joint property.” He sold as much property as he could while he was sailing and was about to head back to Key Largo to liquidate this excuse for a marriage he had.
Anyway, back to the boat. We worked out the details and I had the money wired to a bank down here and we made the transaction. It was agreed that we would have a ceremony to purge her from Ledger of the Deep and rename her. While I do not consider myself to be a particularly superstitious person, I have a friend who owned a sailboat with a name he didn’t like so he just painted over the old name and let it go at that. His boat was plagued with numerous maladies and was even struck by lightening, not once but twice. So, if I am going to own a boat with a new name, I am going follow legend and make sure that Poseidon/Neptune, god of the sea has no memory of
her. We brought in a few locals that we met at a café near the dock and celebrated MY boats new name. It was important that all records of the original name be completely erased from history. The previous owner remover her name from the boat and then we shattered the crystal and china that were marked with her name. He had stationary that we burned and we even had to change the screensaver on his onboard computer so that it didn’t have her name scrolling across it when the computer was idle. He even went through all of the logs and with a bottle of White-Out he expunged the boat’s name from every page on which she was mentioned by name. With all of this done we had a local come and paint her new name on the transom and an on the forward name boards.
With all of that was behind us he gave me a full orientation of the boat. He told me the engine had only a few hours on it and that the
entire boat was in excellent shape. New sails, electronics, radar, radios, etc. … all new.
So, I am the owner of a well loved, sea worthy sailboat, a Tartan 34 from the mid 1970s. By doing a little searching on the web I have
found that I purchased her for a 10% of her current value. Not a bad deal even if I wasn’t wanting to buy or own a sailboat. I have taken her out every day since I bought here to get use to her and am getting more and more comfortable with her ways the more I sail. I will be setting sail on my maiden open water voyage in the next day or two with the eventual destination of Martinique but for now I am moored in La Guancha in Ponce, PR.
William Fair Roberts…on island time in paradise…sitting on the deck of My Sailboat.