S/V Sonrisa's Gotcha Day

by Leslie Godfrey in , ,


November 16, 2012

About a week later, Sonrisa's "Gotcha Day" started off with a beautiful sunrise over the San Diego Bay. We drank our morning cup of coffee by the hotel pool, overlooking the marinas filled with thousands of sailboats.  I communed with a seagull who just wanted my English Muffin, and I pondered where all of those sailboats had been/were going.  Today was going to be a great day, I could just feel it!

Then, the phone rang.

“Leslie, we have a problem. The lender says they are not funding at the rate they previously agreed.” Steve is on the other end of the line with our morning does of bad news.

“What!?” My blood starts to boil. We took two days off work to get this project accomplished and now the lender is backing out? “Why?”

“They didn’t realize it is a Valiant.”

“So?” I ask.

“Well, so, they say the valuation is $40,000 less than the purchase price. They are worried about the famous Valiant Blisters.”

“Well, that’s ridiculous! She’s never had blisters!” With my temperature already six degrees to high from New Boat Fever, it never occurred to me to use this as a bargaining chip. Instead, I’m out to defend the honor of my newest little love. “I’ll call them.”

Four hours later, the lender still won’t budge. Even though Sonrisa has never seen an osmotic blister the likes that some older Valiants suffer, our lender is pricing the loan at $40,000 less than the amount to which they originally agreed.

“What do we do?” I ask Andrew.

[It is in this moment you might say: “Leslie, didn’t you say a few posts back that you paid off all your debt? Why are you getting a boat loan in the first place?”] Why, indeed.

We decide to raid our emergency fund.

After spending several more hours "convincing" the lender that they could indeed accomplish all the necessary paperwork to get this deal closed on a Friday, all we could do was wait for the rest of the money to be wired over.  We chatted with the former owners over sandwiches at the fuel dock and delicatessen (surprisingly delicious).  They told us all about the fun and challenges they had cruising Mexico and the Pacific Islands.  At the end of the day, we signed all of the documents and finished the deal.  We packed up Sonrisa's sales slip, signed the Coast Guard registration, and were the proud owners of our very own Valiant 40.  

The former owners, Andrew and I all shook hands at the end of the dock and promised to keep in touch.  It was a strange feeling.  We had just bought this boat, a girl we hardly knew, with the highest of hopes for safe travels to far off places.  On the other hand, her former owners were saying goodbye to a dear friend, a boat they had owned, painstakingly cared for, and sailed safely to far off places since 1995.  A goodbye and a hello, a dream fulfilled and a dream started. 

I introduced myself to Sonrisa and let her know we would do our best to take good care of her.  I was already nervous about what that promise might entail, not the least of which was the challenge of driving her out of her sales berth and over to her new slip at Shelter Island Marina.  If you have ever driven a full keel/performance keel sailboat, you know that they are not exactly "predictable" when backing up.  No time like the present, though, so I fired her up and backed her out of the sales slip.  We were officially on our way, together.

Andrew. Leslie. Sonrisa.  We will be a good team.