We are anchored out in remote anchorages in Tonga this week. So far, we have had a new anchorage almost every night, and we still have more to go in this beautiful Vava'u Group. When we get back to internet civilization, I will upload some pictures and give you the full scoop. But in the meantime, Tonga has me thinking about our "cruising" days on Lake Mead. So, I thought I might back up and add to the "Learning to Sail" Series of posts that have been neglected for the past four months.
By July of 2008, we were getting itchy to get a tiller in our own hands, so we started looking on Craig's list for something to buy. We had met Windchime II once before. After a sailing race in 2007, we took a tour of the boats for sale at the dock. Winnie's owner at the time had grown too old to take her out sailing anymore, but we weren't ready to commit. So, instead, she was purchased by another person who happened to be quite helpful. He cleaned removed some shaggy blue carpet, cleaned out a bunch old stuff, installed a fancy battery charger, and a new sound system complete with an iPod jack. Then his girlfriend told him he had to sell her because his two other boats, wave runners, four wheelers, and probably a motorcycle or two just weren't getting enough time and attention. So, when we found her available on Craig's List a second time, we were ready.
I call the seller up, "Hi, just saw your ad on Craig's List," I tell him. "We'd like to buy the boat, can we schedule a time to take a look."
Andrew rolls his eyes as he listens from across the kitchen table. I throw my left hand into the air, palm up, with a thrust as if to say: "What?!"
"Not exactly playing hard to get, are you?" Andrew hisses back at me.
I shrug. To late now, we are obviously a seller's market.
We scheduled a time to walk through her with the owner, then met him in the parking lot at the Lake Mead Marina. We shake hands and walk toward her slip. Even going as slow as you possibly can, a tour of a 1976 27 foot O'Day takes all of about five minutes. He showed us around from stern to bow, then turned and looked at us expectantly. $6,000 was his asking price.
"Okay, we like it. But, we can only pay $3,000." I tell him. He scowls.
"I can't do that." He says.
I shrug, and wait. The seller looks back and forth between Andrew and me. Andrew puts on his tight lipped smile and blinks. We wait.
"$5,500." The seller says.
Me: "Yeah, I get it I understand, but we just can't do that. We could do $3,500." I say, with reticence.
Buyer, looks at Andrew. Andrew blinks.
I'm not lying. If you super impose this series of posts over the Sail Kitty series of posts you would know that at this point in time we are two kids with a a pile of student loan debt and we are just months away from losing 65% of the value on a house already mortgaged to the hilt.
"$5,000." The seller says.
I tell him I need to talk to Andrew for a minute. Andrew and I convene and decide $4,000 is really the highest we can go right now. That's the amount of cash we have on hand not already earmarked for other "adulting-responsibilities" and if we can't buy your little lake sailor with cash we probably just aren't ready.
"Listen, $4,000 is as high as we can go." I tell him, and he comes down to $4,500. At this point I feel like a real ass, but we don't have $4,500 in cash to pony up. So, I shake his hand and say "She's a great boat, I'm sorry we wasted your time." Andrew and I hang our heads in despir and climb up her steps to the cockpit. I'm so close to offering to do a "payment now, and one more payment next month" when the seller says.
"Fine, $4,000, but not with the air conditioner in the hatch." (Air conditioner? Who needs it?)
It was the dead heat of a Las Vegas July.
We didn't care. We both beam big smiles and shake his hand. It's a deal! We write him a check and he digs the air conditioner out of the hatch. (As I write this, Sonrisa is looking over my shoulder and nodding with satisfaction. She holds highly unfavorable opinions about air conditioners installed the front hatch.)
That very same day, were out on the lake, the furnace heat of Lake Mead beating down on us as we pulled out her wrinkled sails and hoisted them to the top of her golden mast. They hang like limp hankies, not a whiff of wind on the water. We haul them down and jump in to swim instead. We poured ourselves two glasses of champagne then tossed the rest of the bottle on Winnie's hull in celebration. We were new boat owners! One step closer to a circumnavigation.