After we signed all the papers, we jumped right in to cleaning the boat. Unless you’re really into horror stories, you don’t want to hear my descriptions of the condition of this vessel. I captured what I was willing to look at in photographs and have posted some here. Here are some phrases to clue you into the surprises we found on the first day:
- Cockroach holocaust
- Death by wasp-stings
- Rusty explosives
- Rotten, red-stained teak
OK, I wasn’t very creative with those last two. I can’t say that I was “grossed out” by the boat, but I did learn quickly that I should be careful when opening lockers and cabinets. For some reason, well into the day, I figured I would open the lid on the toilet in the forward head. That’s where the phrase “cockroach holocaust” came from.
We had learned from the broker that the boat had been docked behind one of his neighbor’s homes for many years without being sailed much. There is a possibility that boat sat this way for twenty years, believe it or not, but I have no proof either way. At some point, it began to sink. We’re assuming it was simply full of rain water, but the owner did eventually have it towed to the nearest boat yard and have all the through-hulls replaced. The boatyard also made a new gaskety-seal type thing, assembled from what looked to be old vertical blinds, and screwed it into the hull around the saildrive, but we wouldn’t find that out for a few more months. The boat came sans engine, which we were aware of. Apparently this came out for repair around the same time the other problems were addressed, but the gentleman who owned the boat became ill and passed away before it was ever reinstalled. In fact, we can’t find a single person who knows who took the motor to do the repairs. I’m sure that Volvo Penta has been installed in some other boat for quite a while, now.
Aside from all the dust and mold, cleaning the boat became kind of like a scavenger hunt to find the coolest 1980s boat junk. The most obvious finds were in the nav station. Among the equipment on this boat was a Furuno FE-400 echo sounder/fish finder complete with a few brand news rolls of paper, a 1983 model Micrologic Loran, a Vigil radar with a companion CRT monitor and quite the large remote control, and some sort of very big, obtrusive RDF. Oh yeah, and it had a tape deck.
The nav station was also full of old manuals, charts, receipts and magazines. My favorite find was a 1988 edition of the Waterway Guide for the Gulf coast. I tore out one of those little cards that you send in – this one had a promise for a letter from Walter Cronkite – and dropped it in the mail complete with all of my pertinent information. I’ll let you know if I hear back from them.
So, aside from the boat being rough, there didn’t end up being all too much to tell. There were no dead bodies (unless you count the cockroaches), no bags full of $100 bills, and, most importantly, no obvious leaks. It’s a shame for the family of the gentleman who owned the boat before he died, because a days worth of labor could have doubled the asking price for the boat. Two weeks worth could have quintupled it. I’ll admit that I probably wouldn’t have said those things before the bill of sale had been signed, but I can’t help but feel a twinge of sorrow on their behalf. I hope they know it’s in good hands. Oh, and we got the rat out alive.