Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sailboat Nursing Home

Here on the coast, we have sailboat graveyards. You see them along the sides of the roads -- fields with a boat or two, rotting away. Even the marinas have boats that are sorely neglected. They're not quite dead yet (i.e. in the graveyard), but they're definitely getting there! In the nursing home, or perhaps sailboat hospice.
We visited a marina recently just to look around. All the marinas here have many boats for sale, and you can go look at them for fun. We passed by a dinghy convention - haha :) Or, continuing the metaphor, perhaps this is the nurses' station?
When people buy boats, I know they're excited. They have a boat! They'll sail the seven seas! Or at least the river. They clean it up, paint a new name on her, raise the sails, and take the family out for a cruise.
Isn't this a delightful little boat called Narnia? Are its owners hopeful that she will take them to another, imaginative world?
The registration stickers on the side tell when each boat was last legal to go out on the water. This boat has been sitting in a slip since 2005.  Seven years tied up. No sailing, no fun.
And this one, since 2009. Three years.
But these folks are on the ball. Their boat is good for three more years!
This massive boat (nearly 50 feet, we guessed) was once someone's pride and joy. Beautifully painted, she zipped through the waters under full sail. She was expensive to keep up.
She's sat in this spot for a very long time. See her frayed ropes? (Okay, that reminds me of one of the funniest boat names I've yet seen:  "A Frayed Knot."  Get it?)
And more pitiful ropes, black with mildew.
We walked away from this sad sight. I glanced down into the brown water between two boats and saw this ghostly creature:
He's a big one. I'm a little horrified of jellyfish. This fellow would give you a bad sting, probably wrapping his tentacles around your arm or leg, for a very painful wring around your limb. His ghostly form glided along in the reflection of the boat.
We came across other more lonesome boats. From a distance, this one doesn't look too bad.

But the owners have  failed to put bumpers along the side, and the tides and storms have bashed the hull against the dock, gashing the side. Even the port lights are gone, and the rain and storm water can wash inside the cabin.
And the tarp placed over the deck to keep rain from getting in at the holes? The tarp now has holes too.
This fiberglass boat has also been left to smash against the dock, over and over, wearing a hole all the way through the hull.
All that to say, some owners lose the love of boat ownership. I've heard it said, "A house is easier got than got rid of." And last week at the farmer's market, one older fellow was bemoaning to his friend about how his various wives have taken him to the cleaners when the marriages were over. "Getting married is easy," he said, "but getting divorced is really hard."  Hmm. Well, apparently buying a boat is easy also, compared to successfully getting rid of it, without loss and cost.
Many boats in Oriental are for sale. Adam has wanted a sailboat for many years, really for our entire marriage. He knows that in this town, if he keeps his ears open, eventually he'll be able to get a boat for free. Moorage fees for a boat slip can be $125-$150/month or more, to keep your boat at a marina. If you have your own slip on your waterfront property, you paid for that privilege when you bought the house! A boat owner who no longer sails his boat, is pouring wasted money down the drain, in moorage fees. Adam is hoping to get a free boat by offering to take it off the owner's hands, and moving it to a cheaper location (for us). We'll see. He's hopeful. He needs a boat that is sailable, doesn't need significant repairs but only a good cleaning. I'll let you know if it happens.


  1. Prince Charming would love this! He'd be walking alongside Adam swapping dreams! When we met he had a little speedboat- all dream and no stamina- he was stranded mnay times in many places; but when she went, my goodness, she dreamt along nicely!

  2. I hate jellyfish but love that little boat Narnia...totally cute!


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