I really was enjoying not owning stuff. No vehicle, no property, just some clothes, a computer, and not much else. Now I am sitting on a boat that could easily drain me dry of funds a lot faster than I care to think about. Moving back onto a boat has always been in the back of my mind. I was and still always looking at the boat ads online. But as I was trudging along at the old apartment I grew a bit fond of not having the worry of owning a maintenance heavy something, be it boat, rv, or even a damn little scooter to buzz around town on. No fretting about where to keep it. No worries about the weather. Had I still been living on land last week, Isaac would have been nothing more than an after thought. As it were, that damn overblown thunderstorm cost me money and stress. It wasn’t a good time.
As it happens though, I acquired the Fritter by a unique blend of timing and events. At the old marina the internet went down and they were making no headway in getting it back up again. It meant I would need to add another bill to my expenses by getting some overpriced wifi plan from someplace. I was also getting fed up with all the noise and issues brought on by the partying and fighting amongst the neighbors. So I began looking for alternative living space. I knew getting another apartment in Key West at the rent I was currently paying was going to be impossible so I was bracing for an increase in rent or moving back up the Keys to Marathon or Key Largo again. It was about then I spotted the Fritter on ebay. It looked enticing. $2500 plus another $1000 for the engine. It sat on the block with no bids, vanished, appeared again at a lesser price, no bids, showed up on Craigslist, minus the motor and under $2000. I made a point of bookmarking the ad…just in case. Then I happened to run into the landlord one day and was informed of the plans to kick everyone out by November. I knew I needed to jump on something fast. The boat was still sitting there and I decided to go for it. The inclusion of the slip was the closer.
As it happens, the Fritter is actually a pretty good deal for the money. Despite all that she needs, the boat is in very good condition. The marina is a big upgrade from where I was. Clean, quiet, secure, and seems like nice people living here. Rent is affordable and storms aside, the slip is in some calm water. The boat gives me a clean slate to do some of the things I always thought about doing with a sailboat. How much I actually do will depend on income and what ever else happens but it’s turned out to be a decent purchase and serves a purpose for now. Even if I were to decide to sell it now I could probably get back 80% of what I have spent on it so far. But, there are some issues.
As I stay on the boat longer I will drop more money on it. And the chances of getting that money back are poor. This boat has a book value of around $3000. Even that will be hard to come by. So whatever I spend is money gone. It will help me get the boat to the specs I want but it will be a loss.
When Isaac hit last week I wasn’t scared of the storm or of even losing the Fritter. I was more concerned about the liability if the boat wound up damaging somebody else’s property or sinking in the canal and getting hit up for a massive bill to haul it back out. Another reason not to own stuff.
The other issue is something more important. The longer I stay on the boat, the more money I put into it, the more I will be inclined to keep the boat. At least for a few years or more. I may actually start to enjoy it now that I am on it. I’m catching myself just sitting out on the deck watching the sunset, or looking at the other boats, and kinda relaxing a bit. Something I haven’t had the luxury of doing in a long time. And there is one more little thing that has me thinking, never a good thing.
When I was putting together my cunning plans to live on a boat I thought how cool it would be to have a sailboat and actually do some, you know, sailing. Not just going out for an afternoon and sail around the island, but real honest to goodness point A to point B type sailing. I thought, keep Key West as home port, and spend a few months there. Then head up to Marathon and stay at Boot Key for awhile. Then maybe up to Key Largo. Later on, go across Florida Bay and up to Tampa. No particular reason, just to sail there and spend some time. Around the Port Charlotte area north of Fort Myers there is a cross state canal that goes from the Gulf, across Lake Okeechobee and into the Intercoastal Waterway, around Stuart. Then perhaps head up the ICW to Jacksonville and sail up the St. Johns river, which actually goes south, and spend some time back at my old stomping grounds north east of Orlando. Maybe even at some point take the ICW north all the way to the Chesapeake, and then back to the Keys again. Basically just sailing around from port to port with no particular reason. Keeping myself some sort of income through the app business, and enjoying the sailing life. Now with the Fritter, that dream could become a reality, if I was of a mind to do so. It would mean spending the money to get the boat in shape for that sort of lifestyle, or eventually trading it for a something that was more suited. It has set me to pondering what ifs.
It’s still all a dream at this point but it does offer some conflicts. Is it better to just keep minimal, avoid the responsibility and costs, or is it worth it to try and pursue yet another dream? I still would have preferred not to have bought the boat and be spending the money that I don’t have but what is done is done. How long I stay on the Fritter, how long I will own her, and what I would do if I sold her, are still things that have yet to be determined. As always, I will keep all options open. If an opportunity comes where I could sell the boat and return to a backpack life, I may just do so. On the other hand, if I can get the boat up to speed with all my wants and needs, who knows. It’s been an interesting turn of events and I am still unsure of where it will lead. But it hasn’t been boring, thats for damn sure.
For now, the Fritter is home, and home port is Key West. I’m not tied to any lease nor any job that restricts my ability to travel. I have options with few restrictions. That works just fine for me.