26 ft long, 8 ft wide at the beam, and the cabin is sufficient for me and a couple of pissed off pussy cats. They’ll get used to it. I have some more pictures but by the time I got around to posting this I was dead to the world. A lot to running around in the heat to make this move.
Well, there she is in all her splendor, my new home. A 26 ft, 1979 Seacraft. A well built and easy to sail vessel. She will need some things, all boats do, but she will fit the bill for what I need at the moment…small but easy to maintain living quarters. And the biggest part of all, affordable.
Although I wasn’t really too keen on getting back onto a boat here lately, as always I perused the ads to see what’s for sale out there in live aboard land. I spotted this boat a couple of months ago as it travelled from Craigslist to eBay with no takers. The price kept coming down and as it came to within my price range I got to pondering a move. But I decided to maintain the status quo at the apartment until I could build up the app business, or failing that, possibly move back to Key Largo in the fall and take the job offer that is sitting up there. Not my favorite choice but an option nonetheless. In addition to following the boat ads I kept an eye out for another apartment as close to the $600 a month I’m paying now. As you might well expect, nothing is coming close to that in Key West. The occasional hovel under $1000 cropped up now and then but it was always something….no pets, bad location, onerous lease. Then the events of last week happened.
The wifi went out on Tuesday, just as I was getting ready to begin work on a site and app for a new/paying client. Nothing happened and it was only when myself and some other residents stormed the office with pitchforks and torches, that the office weasels said there was a problem. Even then they were non committal about when or if the internet would be restored. It was by chance I happened to run into the manager at the laundry room later who casually mentioned that everyone in the building would be evicted by the first of Nov. A bad time to be looking for new digs in Key West. The season starts then and rents are scarce and expensive. I knew if I waited around for something better it wouldn’t happen and I could easily find myself without affordable living space if I didn’t act soon.
There was one apartment that caught my eye in the mid town area. $800 a month, pets allowed, nice location. But I couldn’t get an answer to my inquiry. A common trait on this rock. I remembered the boat and found the number to call. It was still available so I went and took a look. And decided it would be the best option for me at the moment.
While the boat itself is nothing special, just another 30 year old sloop, it has enough upsides to make it worth the purchase. Firstly, and most important, it came with a live aboard slip, an affordable live aboard slip, as in $600 a month plus electric, which is what I have been paying since I moved to the Keys. The marina is not far from my old digs on Stock Island. Although it’s another 1/2 mile one way to ride into town, there are plenty of other assets to make it worth the extra pedal.
For one, the marina is new and clean. New concrete docks, the grounds look well maintained, security, a nice clean bathhouse and laundry, even a small ships store. It sits right on the channel to the ocean so should I ever get the boat into sailing condition it’s an easy run out. The marina is also a dockominium meaning the docks are owned by individuals, like a condo association. ($150,000 and up if you are interested). The dirt bags that I am used to being around don’t appear to be living in this place. (I guess that will make me the dirtbag….Cool!) Some of the boats are rented out and over all it seems like a nice friendly place to live and hang out. The cats are welcome and the managers said if I want to let them outside to run around I can, as long as they are not a nuisance. It’s looking like a refreshing change from where I was living.
As for the boat itself, it’s essentially a blank slate. No motor, no toilet, no cooking facilities, although I did get a grill with it which stays on the dock. In a way, this is all good because I have an opportunity here to do something with this boat along the lines of what I originally envisioned. Keeping it green, no fossil fuels on board, a few other things. I explain later in future posts what I have in mind. Whether it all comes to fruition later remains to be seen. For now I will definitely have to adjust my eating habits but that’s ok. I could do with some changes. For comfort, the boat sleeps four with the standard v berth up front and 2 quarter berths. I don’t have much so there is plenty of room for what little stuff I do have.
Some downsides of course. I will need to get some bits of gear to make the boat legal to go out on the water. No getting around that. There is a West Marine store about 2 blocks away so we will be getting to know each other quite well. In addition to buying the boat, I had to pay sales tax, registration, and first month rent. I did get back most of my deposit from the old place so that helped. I figured that despite the upfront costs, if I stay in the marina for 7 months or so I will come out ahead over getting some land based apartment where I would be paying more each month for rent, along with more for utilities, etc. And at some point when I decide to leave, I have the boat to sell as an asset so I can recover some of that money back.
One interesting side note…the previous owner was renting the boat out for $100 a night to vacationers. Something I may look into a bit more later.
How much actual sailing I will do remains to be seen. First and foremost, the Fritter will be home. I have a lot of work to do getting the app business up and running and taking care of the boat, let alone getting the time to go sailing, is a distraction I could have done without, but things being what they are, it’s the kind of distraction I can deal with. (What I really mean is that if the Fritter sails as good as I think she will I’ll be wanting to spend all my time out on the water chasing the wind when I need to be staying at the dock making money.) Should things not work out at this marina I can always sail away to another place, and you can bet I’ll always be looking. The rental idea is going to be lurking in the background as a possibility. And despite the immediate move and all, the boat is for sale. I doubt though that anyone will meet my price but hey, stranger things have happened. Flipping sailboats for fun and profit has a nice ring to it.
But for now, it’s home. I’ll get settled in, see what has priority in terms of gear, and get back to actual island living, on a boat, in Key West.
Island living. On a boat. In Key West.
Kinda has a nice ring to it doesn’t it.
Capt. Fritter of the C.R.S. ManateeFritter
(C.R.S….Conch Republic Ship)