On the first of the month I went to the marina office to pay the rent.
I apologized for not paying on the 29th and asked about a free dinghy that was up for grabs.
me: "And what's the story about the trimaran next to it?"
he: "That's the marina's. No one bid on it at the lein sale auction. I'll sell it to you cheap, but you've got to get it out of here. When it looks and acts like a boat again you can apply for a slip like anyone else."
We chatted more about the history and possible future of the boat.
It was eerily quiet in the office. No one stopped in with rent checks.
Didn't the 400 other boats docked at the marina need to pay their rent?
In the next year the harbormaster would have to impound many boats and would have to file leins against some, and after much hassling would end up owning boats he didn't want.
Ask any harbormaster if they have boats they want to get rid of.
They'll say "no" because they know that most people are unreliable.
But if they like how you pay your rent they'll have a bunch and will give you a good or free deal on them if you can make them disappear.
I rushed off to confer with my crew of co-captains.
After looking it over we decided we'd go for it. Victor and Kenny said "only if you'll sail it to Hawaii". I explained that if you eat rice and peanutbutter while sailing to Hawaii, food alone will cost you more than a plane ticket. They were undiscouraged so I said "Okay, howabout we get it if YOU are allowed to sail it to Hawaii whenever you want?" That satisfied them and I went to give the harbormaster a deposit check.
For the cost of two months dock slip rent, we get our next "free" yacht. We have a month to get it out of there, so actually the cost is a month's rent.
You may ask, "Why the hell is this a "free boat" if you had to pay money for it? If so, you have the right attitude. Richardson Bay has a bunch of people "living on the hook" with free boats that didn't cost anything but time and effort.
An off-duty Talmudic scholar might clarify for us what type and amount of expenses disqualify a boat as "free". For the sake of the concept I paid the price myself so the boat would be free for my co-captains. Consider me the "Sabbath Goy" of the free boat.
Here's the table of contents of the whole saga:
Chapter 1: How to Get a Free Yacht
Chapter 2: Maiden Voyage of the Free Yacht
Chapter 3: Fix Broken Stix and other Trix
Chapter 4: Outboard Motor Mutilates Foot
Chapter 5: It's sinking and it's on Fire.
Chapter 6: How To Give Away a Free Yacht
Chapter 7: Get an Even Better One and Fabulize it.
Chapter 8: Celebrate Freedom
Chapter 9: Technicolor Dreamboat
Chapter 10: Privateer Knot
Chapter 11: Dismasted!
Chapter 12: Kiteboat!
Chapter 13: Mast Raising
Step 1: But You've Got to Remove It and Fix It
And until then we could get it ready to move.
The battery held a charge and the diesel started and ran, but the propeller didn't seem to do anything. That could be a problem with the hydraulic drive to the prop or almost anything.
As you can see, the boat has some serious cosmetic problems.
The white paint is flaking off and there's yellow gummy undercatalyzed gelcoat under that.
An abundant crop of mollusks encrust the hulls below the waterline.
From their size and other signs It appears that maintenance ended a decade ago.
Before that the maintenance had been clumsy and unambitious.
By some miracle the boat didn't leak. We couldn't find any structural flaws at all.
If you could ignore how cosmetically bad it was, it was a really great boat.
The builder had used good materials and had done an excellent job.
It was a Piver 32 or 33, the documents disagreed on which, designed by Arthur Piver in the late sixties. Shortly after that he sailed away and was never seen again.
Is that scary or damn cool? A bit of both.
I ordered copies of all his books from The Mariner's Museum in Virginia, custodian of his documents.