Jun 192013

If you have been following my live aboard posts over the past year, you know I am not particularly happy with the boat I have now.  Just to recap:

Said boat is a 1979 South Coast Seacraft 26’ sloop.  It has a drop down keel, can sleep 4, came with a fridge, ac unit, and needs a lot of work.  About $3000 or so will get it back into seaworthy shape.

I bought the boat, not to fix up, but mainly as temporary living quarters.  I was living in an apartment, got word that we had 90 days to vacate as the building was coming down, and at the same time this boat came up for sale for $2000 including the live aboard slip at $600 a month.  So the deal was pretty much a no brainer.  Grab the boat, have an inexpensive place to stay, and see what happens.  Well, now with the marina sale, we are seeing what is happening and it is decision time.

The boat, when it comes right down to it, is pretty much exactly what I need.  Sufficient room, sorta, kinda, a bare bones carcass that I could rebuild in my image.  All I need to do is come up with the cash and take the time to do the work.  But there is one small detail, even over and above the money end of it…I don’t like the boat.  Haven’t liked it from the start.  Had it not been for the price and the slip coming with it, there is no way in hell I would have bought this boat.  So why don’t I like it?  Lemme ‘splain:

The best analogy I can come up with is my history with Harley-Davidson.  From 1984 to 2001 I owned 18 different Harley’s.  Amongst my motorcycles were 9 Softails, 7 Dressers, a Wide Glide, and a 1994 FXRP.


Ugly damn bike.


(For those of you who don’t know anything about Harley’s just keep reading and play along).

The FXRP was a retired police model.  Police departments buy these bikes, ride them for a year, then trade them in for newer models.  The FXRP was based on the old FXR frame, largely considered to be one of the finest and best handling motorcycle chassis that Harley ever built.  The model I bought had a fixed fairing, floorboards, saddlebags, and a big soft solo seat.  The bike handled about as well as any I ever owned.  You sat up high, people mistook you for a cop, it ran well….and I hated it.  I bought it as it was all I could afford at the time, and wound up keeping it about a year and half.  There was no issue with the bike.  Even the wreck I had didn’t affect it.  (Got hit from behind in 1998, the first of two times within 6 months).  But I hated the bike.  It didn’t feel or look right to me.  I didn’t like the riding position, the feel of the handlebars, or anything else about it.  Nothing wrong with it, it just wasn’t me.  The Softails that I owned, all fit me like a glove.  When I sat on a Softail it was like putting on a comfortable pair of pants.  All the controls, the handlebars, everything felt like Harley built that model just for me.  But the FXRP was exactly the opposite.  I was quite happy to trade it in for another Softail.

That is how I feel about this boat.  Nothing wrong with it (nothing that a few thousand dollars can’t fix), but the boat just isn’t me.  It doesn’t have that Softail feel to it.  Things seem out of place.  It doesn’t have that sleek, low, waterline.  It sits up too high, and feels top heavy.  The boat just ain’t me.

When I first started looking for a boat to live on about 6 years ago, I found a nice 1984 ODay 272.  I went and looked at the boat and while snooping around inside and out, I stood back in the cockpit where the helm was and put my hands on the wheel.  Immediately, I felt like I did when I sat on a Softail.  It’s hard to describe, but the moment I stood at the helm of that boat, I knew it was for me.  The boat just fit.  Alas, it was not to be.  I got cold feet, due to some lingering debt, the price was just a tad more than I was willing to pay, so I didn’t get the boat.  But I never forgot that feeling.  And that feeling is exactly what I don’t have when I stand at the helm of this boat.

I know, it sounds stupid, but I am sure all of you at one time or another owned something like a vehicle, or motorcycle, or just a really comfy chair, that when you sat in or on it, something just clicked in your mind that said, “Yup, this is the one for me!”.  And all the other vehicles, motorcycles, or chairs, just came up short.  That is how I feel about this boat.

So while I have talked about putting this beast in the yard to paint and fix up and all, ain’t gonna happen.  When I leave this marina, it will not be on this boat.  I am going to do whatever I can to sell it, and find another boat, a rv, a van, or land based accommodations.  I keep trying to envision this boat, all fixed up, new paint, an engine, some improvements inside and all, and it still don’t fit.

Yesterday I helped a neighbor get his boat ready to trailer off the property.  We needed to drop the mast and a few other things.  The boat just happened to be the 22’ version of my boat.  I got to putter about in and out of the cabin.  It was cramped but livable, mainly because the owner had every corner stuffed with something.  The boat has those nice sleek lines that I look for.  It felt more better than my boat.

I’m not trying to make sense of any of this.  I just know I ain’t gonna be happy staying on this boat no matter where it is nor what condition it is in.  So, be it barter, beg, trade, or taken by cannon fire and the point of a cutlass, I am going to find something else.  I still have some time before things get real ugly around here, at least I hope so.  I suspect I will be leaving at the end of July.  That gives me some time to find what I am looking for.  I have a few possibles, in all categories, and I just need to figger out the finances and logistics to make it happen.

I know it all doesn’t make sense, all this fuss over a material object, but when it comes to boats, just about nothing makes any sense.

Capt. Fritter

  One Response to “Living Aboard: So What’s Wrong With The Boat I Already Have?…”

  1. i think it makes total sense.
    it’s not just a ‘boat’. it’s a home. and that is different. and i know that magical feeling when . . .
    as you say . . . something is simply ‘right.’ and it fits. it’s a wonderful feeling.
    i had it the minute i walked into this place where i live. everything was right.
    and when it is it’s wonderful. just like the softails.
    here’s hoping that right next thing falls into your lap. at a wonderful price.
    well. it could happen.
    with kindest regards always,