The Ship of Fools

Three months and over 10,000 miles starting from the San Francisco Bay area weaving in and out of every marina throughout the Western Sea Board on up to Bellingham, Washington is where we find the Wannabe in search of a vessel to carry him off to new found mishaps and adventures on the unknown Open Sea. Since becoming a law abiding citizen with no warrants to speak of, his life seems about as exciting as an old worn out Christmas album. Even the places he once haunted to raise hell was vacant of any revelry, full of the same old faces with the same stories talking the same old shit. No matter how he searched he could not shake that feeling of not being in the right place anymore. He has lived in every and any mountain town worth being in, wandered throughout the Sierra’s, Wasatch, Rockies, Teton’s, Tongass, Chugach and Olympic ranges respectively. He has traveled a bit Internationally but hated anything to do with tourism instead living out of a hammock or in a make shift RV van. He never could even contemplate having a mortgage for the next 30 years nor did he even want to own a piece of land, he believed it was not his to own. His curious nature needs something that would test his very existence and fortitude of Life, or it is just not worth living. He’s run with gangs, ran from cops and from himself at times, climber up mountains barely in control and down rivers totally out of control, involved with women that could drive a totally rational Man to do irrational things, sat on damn near every bar stool from Alaska to Mexico, so what could even thrill him anymore you might ask?

 He thought long and hard about what would challenge and scare him at the same time and it became apparent the answer was a deep rooted fear from childhood of drowning. He almost drowned once in a swimming pool as a small boy, once in the swollen American River and once in the riptides of Kauai.

Then he thought of his time with old friends aboard a small 19′ Flying Scott on Bear Lake which straddles the Utah/Idaho border, the first time he first felt the wind fill its sails and carry him off into the horizon, the memories of someone screaming in a high pitched voiced then realizing it was his own.

It became apparent the answer was a sailboat of course.

When attending the University of Alaska in Juneau Alaska, some years prior, he dated a bush pilot who owned a 30′ cabin cruiser and it was here that he first experienced the live aboard lifestyle so many have taken up in the coastal areas of Alaska. She was 4′ 7″ tall with long brown hair that hid her somewhat dwarvish features that went below her sturdy little ass he loved to bend over and “heave to” conveniently over the counter top when cooking breakfast, reading a book or watching the neighbors work on their boats from the confines of their cabin. In fact the other boat owners complained often of the rocking motion they had to endure since when a boat rocks to and fro it conveys that energy through waves towards boats in adjoining slips, that along with shrieks of “Do it for the Shire!” once in awhile gave them the name of Gandalf & Gimli.

She may have been small but sturdy like an old timber mast. Only problem was that she had these Man-Hands from working on engines all the time and she reeked of diesel. He made it a point to leave the lights on when they were doing the deed. It was a lovely time where he learned many things about living on the water where they would motor all throughout Southeast Alaska Islands and Waterways. Good times indeed.

 Unlike the yacht clubs of California where he grew up that he remembered years gone by, but it was a more gritty sense of the boating world. Independent people from all walks alike: be they Young, Old, Black or White, Male, Female, Hetero, Homo, Transbo, Not Sure, Republican, Democrat, Catholics, Jewish, Christians, Buddhist, you name it, they were all represented there on those old piers.

Not only would it provide a great venue for all he needed in his dismal life to be aboard a boat but a somewhat inexpensive option for housing. That is once he made the initial purchase, mooring fees can be surprisingly cheap compared to renting. He has been living in and out of a van, hammock and extreme couch surfing at friends places for far to long and needed to do something that would allow him the freedom to move about with his 2 week on/off rotation working up in the Arctic.

 Not to Mention: Rent was a four letter word not in his vocabulary.

So one Spring, he took a Beginning to Bareboat sailing course in Seward Alaska (A bareboat charter is an arrangement for the chartering or hiring of a ship or boat, whereby no crew or provisions are included as part of the agreement; instead, the people who rent the vessel from the owner are responsible for taking care of such things.) 

Aboard a 35′ Beneteau, they taught all the fundamentals of basic seamanship culminating with a 4 day live aboard experience on a 47′ Catalina Sloop out on the Resurrection Bay. 

In class, the students studied terms such as to “Stand On vs. Give way, windward, dead zone (in irons), close haul, close reach, beam reach, broad reach and down wind (leeward).

Types of sailboats such as a sloop, ketch, cutter, pilothouse etc. The parts of the boat and all systems included. Characteristics of different types of sails, Coast guard terms and the like. It was an intensive week long course highly recommended to anyone who is seriously contemplating going out on the water in any type of venture.

The time out on the water was exhilarating and full of minor mishaps, which is the whole point of learning, to learn from ones mistakes. Most of his fellow students were somewhat wary of getting the boat heeled over but he found that the more it did so on a far reaching beam the more his heart soared, his heart accelerating beyond anything he had done in years. He loved the looks of the others when the water was lapping at the deck and they all stared in disbelief as the instructor just grinned as She caught hold and got up to 8 knots. He was a natural striking that famous ” Captain Morgan” pose when she was heeled over such.

” Ready About, you Cur’s!” He snapped.

“Ready!” Those aboard replied.

“Helms Alee!”

A nautical term, used in sailing when tacking (also called “coming about”). The helmsman first signals the intent to tack by shouting, “Ready about!” When the crew responds, “Ready,” then the helmsman will signal that he or she is beginning to come about by shouting, “Helm’s alee!”

With the salt spraying him dead in the face he was lost in the moment- no yesterday or tomorrow only the now, a gorgeous dance between Man, Boat and the Wind. There was no sound of an engine only that of the lapping of the Sea and the screams of his classmates. And so this goes on, over and over in repetition with each student getting a chance to man the helm, although he did take the command and hardly relinquish controls with his favorite maneuver  and command being:

” Prepare to Jibe!”

“Ready! the crew replies in unison.

“Jibe Ho!”

jibe (US) or gybe (Britain) is a sailing maneuver whereby a sailing vessel reaching downwind turns its stern through the wind, such that the wind direction changes from one side of the boat to the other. For square-rigged ships, this maneuver is called wearing ship.

In this maneuver, the mainsail will cross the center of the boat while the jib is pulled to the other side of the boat. If the spinnaker is up, the pole will have to be manually moved to the other side, to remain opposite the mainsail. In a dinghy, raising the centerboard can increase the risk of capsizing during what can be a somewhat violent maneuver, although the opposite is true of a dinghy with a flat, planning hull profile: raising the centerboard reduces heeling moment during the maneuver and so reduces the risk of capsize.

The other way to change the side of the boat that faces the wind is turning the bow of the boat into, and then through, the direction of the wind. This operation is known as tacking or coming about. Tacking more than 180° to avoid a jibe is sometimes referred to as a ‘chicken jibe’.

This is always a exciting time as the main boom swings across the cockpit and your crew must be very attentive to not get clobbered and knocked unconscious or worse yet overboard and they have to be in synch when to release/take in the headsail sheets so the jib can travel to the opposite side all this, while the crew is scrambling to the high side of the deck.

Definition of Jibing

Jibing, one of the other turning maneuvers, is simply the opposite of a tack. Recall that during a tack, the bow of the boat passes through the wind. During a jibe, the stern of the boat passes through the wind.


Hazards During a Jibe

We teach tacking before jibing because tacking is a safer turn. During a tack, the bow of the boat passes through the no-go zone. That causes the boat to lose some speed. Those two factors cause the mainsail to gently pass from one side to the other. When jibing, the bow does not pass through the no-go zone. This means that the boat will always have wind in its sails. The boat goes faster, and the wind quickly forces the mainsail and boom to slam across to the other side at high velocity unless you control it. Because of those concerns, the likelihood of a capsize and the risk of getting injured is greater during a jibe. However, by the time you jibe in this class, you will be fairly comfortable handling sailboats, and jibing shouldn’t be a big deal.

Jibing Procedure

The biggest procedural difference between a tack and a jibe is pulling in the mainsail prior to executing the jibe. Remember that during a tack, you leave the mainsail alone, at least until after the turn. With a jibe, if you leave the mainsail alone, the boom would slam to the other side of the boat as explained above. If you pull the mainsail all the way in to the center of the boat before you jibe, then the sail will only have a small distance to travel which reduces the force behind it. Other than that, the steps are very similar to tacking. Steps of a Jibing Maneuver

  1. Helmsman gives first command, “Ready to jibe?”
  2. Crew looks 360° around the boat, gets ready to jibe, and says, “Ready!”
  3. Helmsman pulls the mainsail all the way in.
  4. Immediately prior to jibing, helmsman says, “Jibe Ho!”
  5. Helmsman pulls the tiller away from the mainsail.
  6. As sail switches sides of the boat, the helmsman and crew switch sides of the boat.
  7. Helmsman lets the mainsail back out.
  8. Once on course, helmsman brings tiller back to the center of the boat.
  9. Trim sails and sail away.

Step 1: Helmsman gives first command, “Ready to jibe?”  

Just like with a tack, it is a good idea to inform everyone on the boat of your intent to jibe. The majority of the time, this is done using some standard commands. The first command tells your crew to get ready to jibe. You can use, “Ready to jibe,” or you can choose something else, but whatever you choose, it should be short and concise. Below are the two most common commands given at this stage.

  • “Ready to jibe?”
  • “Prepare to jibe!”

Again, you can use one of these, or you can make up your own command, but you should not stray too far from those phrases listed above. If you do, your crew might not understand what you mean.

Step 2: Crew looks 360° around the boat, gets ready to jibe, and says, “Ready!”

Just as with tacking, one of the crew’s most important jobs on a boat is to serve as a lookout since the helmsman often has difficulty seeing all the way around the boat. So, before a jibe, the crew needs to make sure that it’s clear. Then, they get ready to jibe. Finally, once they’re ready, the crew informs the helmsman by saying, “Ready!”

Step 3: Helmsman pulls the mainsail all the way in.

This step should be done immediately prior to the jibe. If you pull your mainsail in, and don’t turn, then your boat will heel (lean over) a lot, and in a high wind, it might capsize. The moment the sail is in all the way, execute the jibe. If you are trying to jibe around some point, you should time it so that you just finish pulling in your sail as you pass the point.

Step 4: Immediately prior to jibing, helmsman says, “Jibe Ho!”

Again, just like a tack, you are informing everyone on your boat that you are about to execute the turn. You can say whatever you want, but the following are the two most commonly used phrases. (The vast majority of sailors use, “Jibe Ho!”)

  • “Jibe Ho!”
  • “Jibing!” 

Step 5: Helmsman pulls the tiller away from the mainsail.

If tiller toward the sail causes the boat to tack, then tiller away from the sail should cause the boat to jibe. A jibe is a downwind turn, the mainsail is on the leeward side of the boat, and the tiller moves in the opposite direction that you want to turn. Moving the tiller away from the mainsail is equivalent to moving the tiller toward the wind which causes the boat to turn downwind.

Step 6: As sail switches sides of the boat, the helmsman and crew switch sides of the boat.  

Again, this step is the same as with a tack. The helmsman is always supposed to face the mainsail, so if the main switches, the helmsman needs to switch. When everyone switches sides at the exact same time as the mainsail, the weight in the boat stays more evenly distributed, and the boat will heel less, which reduces the risk of capsizing.

Step 7: Helmsman lets the mainsail back out.  

This is the second most important step in a jibe. As soon as the mainsail switches sides of the boat, the mainsail needs to be let back out. In a light wind, if the mainsail is left in tight after it switches sides, most likely, nothing will happen. In a strong wind, if the mainsail is kept in tight after it switches sides, it will fill and, at best, make the boat heel way over. It might also make the boat capsize. The only reason the sail was pulled in was to minimize the speed at which the sail switches sides; once the sail has switched, there is no reason to have the sail in tight, and a lot of reasons to have the sail loose.

Step 8: Once on course, helmsman brings tiller back to the center of the boat.  

This step is fairly self-explanatory. Once on the desired course, stop turning, by bringing the tiller back to the center of the boat.

Step 9: Trim sails and sail away.  

Once finished with the turn, trim the sails for the point of sail, and sail off into the sunset, or wherever you are heading.

In most ways, a jibe is very similar to a tack. There are a few differences. The commands are different, the tiller is moved in a different direction, and most importantly, you must pull the mainsail in before you jibe, or you will encounter problems. If you are ever in a situation in which a jibe might not be safe, you can always tack. Tacking is simpler and safer, it just takes longer.

After completion of the course he found himself frequenting the harbors and hanging around marinas just looking at all the different styles of boats, talking to those who not only sailed but lived aboard on a full time basis. He asked many questions and volunteered to get on any boat he could for any reason at any cost. Then one day one old Salty Dog said to him:

“So you wana be a sailor huh?”

” Let me save you a bunch of time and trouble, this is what you do……:”

So he leaned in with wide eyed expectations of the secrets of the Sea this old timer had acquired in his love affair with the Great Blue, in a raspy voice- this is what he said:

“The first thing you do, is fill a bathtub with ice and water,….. then you put the shower on full and cold.

Next, you crawl into the bathtub fully clothed,…. so Y’er on those knobby knees until it hurts and you  let that water hit you square in the face, don’t turn away from it cause you got to lean into it, you see?

 Now when Y’er good and cold and I mean shiverin’ to the bone, you take out your wallet and you grab all your money you have to Y’er name and you flush it down the toilet,….

Now that, Son………. is Sailing!”

He gawked out a snort and laughed at the perplexed look our wannabe sailor displayed.

He sat there perplexed for a moment looking at the old leather like skin that had deep furrowed lines and the sparkle in his eyes as he just sat there laughing, he knew then and there, that he wanted “in”. What the hell, he thought- he had been doing that shit for years but to the local bartenders in town. Waking up with no cash left to his name, out in the storming rain, too drunk to get up and walk 50′ to the fucking van he called home. At least this way he thought, he could pass out in the boat with Auto helm & would have something to show for it,……..Yeah, he had it all figured out or so he thought.

After a few weeks, the first boat he almost bought as soon as he seen it without asking too much about it- was a small 25′ Coronado that was the friend of a friend’s who had owned it for 16 years. Age was creeping up on the owner of the boat and he found it harder and harder to get out on it or to find someone to go out with him, besides his wife hated sailing. So taking a liking to the old timer he volunteered to help him clean it up a bit and learned a few things in the process but soon found that they never went out of the harbor much. They only sat on the boat while it was tied to the pier, drinking beers and bullshitting with the others who also seemed to do a lot of the same. It also seemed that they spent a lot of time just fixing things or cleaning others which consumed most their waking days. Ultimately when he was able to finally get the guy to come up with a price, he found that the Man was just to attached to the small boat his wife had no use for and so he would sit on it for hours tinkering away with trivial shit until the Sun set across the bay into a deep cobalt blue. He didn’t have the heart to tell him how he really felt about his little boat not being worth a fraction of what he wanted and so one day, he walked down the pier promising to come back and go sailing with him tomorrow as he had done so many times before- he walked away from that man and the little boat never to return.

He then set his sights on a few others that ranged from 27′ to 35′ in length from Catalinas, Pearsons, Cals, and the like. He sought boats in the San Francisco Bay and throughout the Sacramento Delta but found them all to over priced. He then spent a few weeks of soul searching within Redwood Coast of the King Range and the Siskiyou Mountains within the Great State of Jefferson to cleanse his body and soul through a Shamanic Ritual, ultimately finding himself drawn deep within the Columbia Gorge to the town of Hood River.

The Historic Columbia River Highway and I-84 cut parallel, winding paths through the gorge along the river. Trains run on both sides of the river, past kiteboarders, boaters, standup paddlers and logging tugs.

From Mount Hood’s summit at over 11,000 feet, the morning sun casts a perfect pyramid-shaped shadow over huge swaths of Oregon. The mountain has been a source of recreation and an inspiration to explorers for as long as people have marveled at her beauty. Winters bring endless opportunities to play and summers offer the chance to explore the reaches of this monumental peak by car, bike, and foot.

On the northern county border, the Columbia River marks the halfway point between two majestic volcanoes, Mount Hood and Mount Adams. The Columbia River Gorge was created eons ago as the river carved through the Cascades. In 1986 it became the country’s first National Scenic Area. Today, it remains the largest.

Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge are much more than monuments to the natural beauty of the Northwest. They are hubs of recreation, commerce, and culture. They shape the area’s weather and environment, and in so doing, they shape a large part of what makes Hood River County so special.and the scenic coast of Oregon and ultimately about the Puget Sound of Washington.

He loved the diversity of this place especially since it had no shortage of breweries. But he had to move on in search of that elusive boat of his dreams. He drove until every road became an extension of his desire to get out into the unknown. With the persistence of those who said he wouldn’t or couldn’t do it gave him fuel to actually do it. Was he concerned at all? yes. Was he scared of making the wrong decision? yes. Was he going to let that stop him? no.

After a few weeks on the road he figured he would just go have fun for a bit at a place where LA Times Travel writer Hugo Martin called an “adrenaline jolt” that’s a world class thrill.

Sandboarding is one the newest – and coolest – sports on the Oregon Coast.  The idea is similar to snowboarding:  you stand on a board and slide down a hill.  Only on the Oregon Coast the sport isn’t season dependent and the hill isn’t covered with powdered snow.  It’s a dune of dry, fine sand.  That’s a great difference.  You don’t have to deal with freezing weather and bone-jarring falls on iced-over slopes and it’s inexpensive because you don’t need a lift ticket or costly gear.

Sandboarding is an international sport, with enthusiasts in Australia, South America, Africa and Europe as well as the United States.  The Sandboarding World Championships are held annually in Germany.  According to Wikipedia, professional boarder Erik Johnson holds the Guinness World Record for speed on a sandboard at 51 mph and unofficial speeds of 60 mph have been clocked.

The first “sandboarding park” was founded in Oregon in 2000.  Sand Master Park, a few miles north of Reedsport on Highway 101 in Florence, is a 40-acre dune park with portable jumps, rails and board rentals.  It is said to have drawn 10,000 boarders in 2009.

The Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area provides plenty of free slopes where you can test your technique.  As long as the sand is dry, hike a dune, wax your board and make your run down a sand mountain. He found that spray on Lemon Pledge furniture wax worked the best for onsite application and also as a ok deodorant. 

After that he ventured to Winchester Bay where he thought he would return one day with his sailboat. He made his way throughout the many quaint hamlets of the Puget Sound home of the San Juan’ Islands,  De Fuca Straight and Olympic Mountains. The van he was living in was beginning to close around him even though he would pretend that was his boat and kept himself messing with little things he would imagine he would have on his boat.

Systems of every sort will be on a live aboard from electrical, plumbing, carpentry, standing and running rigging, mechanical along with an assortment of others, he actually thought he knew from the time he lived on a boat with that gal in his college days in Juneau, AK. They are a bit more in depth than a car and more like a RV. So he messed around with some 12v. wiring to keep him on point.

Onward he drove up and down the coast stopping in at the abundance of fresh oyster farms. Always in and out of marinas over and over whenever a new listing was posted on Craigslist.

At the same time during all of this, he was spending the money that was slated for the boat so ultimately the type of boat he was searching for became warranted by the asking price. He was already in the lower bracket of the price range needed to purchase a sound sea worthy vessel and found his wishes soon becoming all to apparent of what was going to happen if he didn’t make a purchase soon.

Some things he would have liked on the boat would be:

All lines ran aft to single hand

A full keel vs. Fin Keel

A furling jib so he could stay in the cockpit instead of having to use “hank on cleats”.

Reefing Main when things got dicey he could bring it down a notch.

Stack Pack or Flaking Main.

A pilothouse would be nice but a dodger would do for the rain of the PNW/ SE-AK Seas.

Windlass for the anchor (winch) otherwise you have to pull all the chain & rode up by hand.

Mast Windex to help sight the wind direction.

A gimbaled stove to cook while out on the waves.

Autohelm, depth finder, hull speed, etc.

A Head w/ holding tank is required by USCG.

Diesel cabin heater.

The list can and usually does go on and on but if you want to live aboard and be able to single hand- these are the minimums to make it easier to get out there. A boat with all the bells and whistles go well over $100,000, evidently not in his budget, not by a long shot. You have to keep in mind though what you want and what you need are two different things.

His Dad had a saying:

“Shit in one hand and wish in the other and see which one fills up first.”

Sure you can start saving for that one boat but for how long will you save before you actually get out there and sail? How are you to live day in and day out with expenses gobbling them up? Sometimes you just have to settle for what life hands you before you waste the opportunity to grab a fraction of a dream, if any of it at all.

On a foggy day aboard a ferry bound for Bainbridge Island outside of Seattle he was placing all bets that this next boat he was looking at would be the one, he just had to have it or he would have to go back to that bar stool and admit defeat not only to himself but to those same old faces with those same old stories that kept telling him he couldn’t do it.

The fog enveloped the island and like a dream that began to appear with the amber lights of the marina. He got onto the cell phone right away to call the person who was listing a sailboat that had just popped up on no other place than that of Bainbridge Island,

28′ Newport sloop with an inboard diesel, wheel steering , head and stove… what more did he need? He might of asked about the hull, sails and things of that Nature but he was a man transfixed on the course he had set.

An Australian accented voice answered the phone and spat out:

“Hello Mate, my name is Jack,…… would you like to see my boat?”

“Yes, …. right away.” he stammered.

Craigslist add:

1981 Newport 28

New mast wiring, electrical, breaker panel, cabin lites, water pump. New running rigging, sink faucet, new zincs, converted diesel stove, boat hauled out and inspected and painted w/ anti-foul paint, fully encapsulated lead keel, main and jib sails in good condition, new Thurston spinnaker, private head w/ tank, bronze sea cocks, lewmar/ barret winches, 3 cylinder diesel motor, wheel steering at an affordable price.

He Googled the type of boat and although not a true sea worthy contender it would be a great starter boat and it also suggested a few ‘minor’ things to look for including, the cored balsa deck, bulkhead cracks, hull to deck joints, delaminating on deck, integrity of chain plates, thru-hull valves, deck cleats and cockpit. Just a few minor details and not to mention it fell squarely within his price range.

The owner, Jack met him at a local coffee house named Pegasus, where they made pleasantries.

He was your typical blonde blue eyed surfer Aussie in his mid- 40’s looking to sell this boat since he needed to get back to his homeland and be with his teenage kids in time for Christmas. He said he bought it from the original owner 5 years prior and had done a lot of work to it. They walked down to the pier where he first laid eyes on the boat named ‘Kahlua’ and it all seemed well enough.  He asked permission to climb aboard as tradition holds, went about asking questions with a few things in mind he had learned to look for when inspecting a boat. The interior was well laid out although he did notice some water damage on the surface of the wood veneer beneath the starboard window, that Jack said had occurred from a leaky grab rail he had been working on but had been fixed.

It seemed pretty minor and considering the time frame he was in and all the money he had spent over the past three months looking for a boat he just wanted to get it done with and move aboard and start sailing. Jack was nice enough to show him all the work he had done to it with accompanying paper work and offered to throw in all kinds of goodies, books and spare parts.

He looked into the cost of a slip and insurance with a $300,000 policy and found it not at all out of the realm of things. So he called him back and asked if we could take her out even though the weather was shit and he agreed more likely just to motor around than any sailing but he was content with that. So they met and along with a neighbor from a boat down the way we went out. He loved having a wheel vs. a tiller and felt closer to sealing the deal after we went around a few islands then the weather started get rough and we went back in. They haggled on the price a bit and came to a deal once he found out from the harbor master that he could simply transfer the slip into his name so he would not have to worry about finding another slip or worse have to actually move it across the Puget Sound where huge transport ships and crazy tides abounded. Jack agreed to have his stuff moved off the boat within a day or two and said he could stay on it until he did so as he would stay with his girlfriend. So they made a cash transaction that total wiped out our hero’s bank account. Jack didn’t even want to count it as he said he trusted him.

It was an amazing feeling that first few moments on the boat alone. he had never bought anything like this before nor had he ever paid as much for anything in his life. He called some of his closest friends and even posted some pics on FB since he was simply over joyed. People were congratulating him on his new found life and he felt a sense of accomplishment he had not felt in a very long time.

He went directly down to the DMV where he would transfer the title into his name and that’s where the first red flag arose.

 Upon handing over the paperwork Jack had supplied him it became evident that it was not a title at all but only registration forms and they were out dated to boot. There were also some red flags popping up on the computer of the DMV agent which he only relayed in a series of grunts, huffs and exasperations.

The room seemed to close about our wannabe sailor and he had to grab tightly to the desk as to keep himself upright. That feeling like he was going to get sick crept up his throat and he began to get cold chills up his spine as if death were grasping at his soul. He kept hearing this voice over and over;

“You stupid son of a bitch, you gave him your whole life savings and you don’t even know where his girlfriend lives. How could you be so stupid?”

” YOU FUCKING IDIOT!!” What were you thinking? he thought aloud.

 It was all he could do in order to work his cell phone to call Jack with shaking unsteady fingers.

Who surprisingly answered after the first ring with a upbeat voice.

“G’ day mate!”

“Hey Jack, we got a problem down here registering the boat, can you come down here?”

“Sure, be down in bit.”

He came down and got into a very animated and flurried conversation with the DMV rep who had no emotions what so ever. He was like part Vulcan and had obviously been at the receiving end of many a lost registration predicaments before. The main point he did convey amidst Jack’s tirades was the fact concerning the boat being registered by the first owner through the Coast Guard as a documented vessel and it had never been registered through the State when Jack had bought it. Although they did allow him to get tags for it the first 2 years but then put a hold on any further paperwork until the first owner could release the documentation. Jack could not remember any of this in true drunken sailor fashion and cussed through trembling lips. But how in the hell was he to know where the previous owner was? That could be any body’s guess.

 Jack and our hero almost fell over in unison when the DMV rep suggested they just burn the boat as it was in perpetual registration Limbo. He was adamant there was nothing he nor they, could do, they had to find the original owner who could have been dead for all they knew. Everything seemed to come crashing down and they fell back admitting defeat much to the encouragement of the ever growing line of people that had congregated behind them during this time.

Jack was broken as he handed the envelope packed full of hundreds and our hero came out of a self induced coma like state when he got his money back. After a quick count to ensure Jack did not go spend any of it, there was an awkward stillness between the two of them. He really wanted that boat and Jack really wanted to return to Australia to see his kids in time for Christmas but neither could make it happen and so they shook hands and went their separate ways. Jack sulking back to his boat he did not own and Pan out on that ever winding highway………….

So he was deep within the Hoh Rainforest

of the Olympic Mountain’s when he somehow was able to get a text from Jack that said:

“Please call ASAP.”

He wondered why he was trying to get ahold of him and that maybe he had left something behind on the boat so he drove back out to where he could get phone reception and gave him a call.

” Hey Mate, I hired a boat brokerage firm to find handle this mess with the boat registration and they found the original owner named Joe who, once being informed of the situation they were in offered to not only provide the paperwork needed but to pay for any and all accruing cost involved.

Jack then asked if he was still interested in the boat and after some emails back and forth:


I am finally at a computer so I can communicate better than my broke phone texting.

I hope it will not be to much to ask but could you two take the time to jot down a few things on what you may think will help me w/ Kahlua. Especially when it comes to systems and rigging. I will add it to my paperwork/log.

Any tricks that you may have learned along the way, etc.

I thought I would ask a few questions here hopefully you can help me out with, hope you don’t mind because I’m sure you told me before.  Please feel free to elaborate.

What type paint should I use for topside? Both the epoxy & no skid areas.

Is there stain/finish for the wood work? Teak.

Is there a way to lock the hatch, if not what should I get?

What was that transducer for under the settee? (hull speed ?)

What is the website for the Co. you worked for Jack? Also any suggestions on what type of gear, PFD type, the flooring material, suggested upgrades, who to contact, etc. anything will help.

Before we seal the deal, I would like to get together and go through the sail inventory and take some time on rigging those up and going through any procedures, proper stowage, stuff you may think necessary etc..

Some of the things we talked about or I noticed need attention are as follows:

Mast rewire/lite

Woodwork on deck/cabin leak affecting veneer inside/portholes

Convert stove to diesel (?)

Stove pipe leaks from topside

Breaker Panel mounting

Companionway hatch rails mounting/lock

Lazzerette hinges replaced

tighten stanchions

If you can think of other things or help out with any of these that would be greatly appreciated Jack.

 I do appreciate your attention to detail in the work you have done and recognize it. You know what needs to be done better than anyone with things I should do or know and people I should talk to.

 I enjoyed staying there but feel awkward there as we are in ownership Limbo.

Hopefully this paperwork comes in since everyday I’m out in this van, cost me more money in fuel and surviving.

Your most likely scheduled to work the weekdays and I get up early and pass out early so it’s best if we can get together early on a nice day soon to go over things.

I’m sure there’s more but for now,

I’m going to go check out the Olympic Mountains: the place of the Grandfather Salmon.

Thank you.

So back and forth they went on with more haggling on a price to make up for the cost of going through all the bullshit of the past few weeks the wannabe found himself once again headed back to Bainbridge Island in order to get this boat as soon as possible.

Jack stated that it would take a week or two to get everything sorted out and had the proof of the paperwork that was filed on his behalf. It would seem that if one planned on going through borders or to sail Internationally, one would benefit having the vessel Documented through the USCG to ease getting through easier. Now when it came to getting the USCG to help out a civilian in any manner that was a different story all unto itself so it was going to help having the brokerage through an accredited firm.

In the meantime our hero made it back to the boat and found Jack requesting a $500 deposit to show good faith in order to take down his CL add which he obliged him with in fresh hundred dollar bills which he still had a surplus of in his van.

once again fell into the hull of the Kahlua and felt that it must have been meant to be.

Later in the night he was startled when he awoke to the boat rocking suddenly then as Jack came crashing through the companionway shit fuckin’ faced.

“Fuck them Bitches!” he roared, much to the astonishment of the Wannabe.

“I cant handle it anymore, I’m done with them, I AM DONE WITH WOMEN!”

Well what was our hero to do? He couldn’t kick him off his own boat since the final deed had yet to be finalized. So he crawled from out of the V-berth and listened to his rants and raves about how women: one and all has been the Bain to his life. Now during this time, Jack was as animated as an actual human being could be with flailing arms and wild eyed abandon during reenactments’ of his life with “She Devils”.

During a pause in between the many stories of sluts, bitches and whores he sat down awfully close to the Wannabe and puts a hand on his knee exclaiming;

“You understand what I’m talking about, don’t you mate? Well,…..don’t you?”

Then he starts to get these facial twitches and starts to dry heave violently on the verge of vomiting only to produce the biggest greenest lung oyster I had ever seen onto the floor. Jack shot upright exasperated, barely able to breath then slumped with his head between his knees connected to the slimy loogey with a long thin tether of saliva that arched like a inverted phlegmbow.

He then composed himself as best he could staggered into the head still connected to afore mentioned saliva cord where an assortment of bodily function sounds emitted, the Wannabe quickly and quietly let himself out and crawled back into his van for the evening where he knew he would be left alone.

The next morning he awoke to a torrential down pour that he cursed and made his way down to the boat to check on Jack whereas he was no where to be found. The boat had been cleaned up and a note was left below a bottle of Anchor Steam beer that read:

“Sorry about last night if I did anything to insult you.”

He thought it was rather bizarre but not out of the realm of things when it came to the history and behavior of drunken sailors, besides he has been known to do some outlandish things himself from time to time in his illustrious career as a drunkard and vagabond.

He then opened the hatch to see that the rain had infiltrated the cabin through the veneer walls that he had noticed when he first inspected the boat. There was at least a half of gallon of water on the setee which was soaked through to the frame. That was it, he was done. He found that the rain instead of being a curse was instead a blessing.

Emails ensued:


Unfortunately I cannot wait for you to fix the leak I was under the impression that it would have been done by now.  I am going to have to meet you and get my $500 deposit back. I would have liked to have been on the boat during this time but you coming over wasted the other night made me extremely uncomfortable. I am truly sorry Jack. I am driving back there right now. I will call you from the Pegasus when I get there


Hey Mate, I’ve just spent the last three days emptying, cleaning and transferring Kahlua to you. She was always available for you from the moment you shook on it and placed the deposit. I needed to move my gear out and I left you a lot of good stuff.  The title process is already under way and you have a wonderful boat. Besides that I have committed to my next chapter and cannot go back!


 After 2 weeks of negotiating and then waiting for the title work to go through, not to mention your dealing with your bizarre behavior. I thought I was prepared to finally get on the boat. When I arrived, I seen that you duct taped not only the grab rail as a quick fix but the whole length of the cabin where the wall meets the topside which immediately suggested that you were not forthcoming when you said that only a small leak occurred where the screw holes were that held the trim board that needed replaced. Once inside I found not a drip but a steady stream coming from behind the veneer which was saturated beneath the starboard window. At least a quart of water was pooled on the setee soaked through to the framework. This is directly beneath your duct taped quick fix. If this is how it leaked in one afternoon during rain after your fix, I can only speculate how it leaked beforehand and for only God knows how long. I am certain there is significant structural damage  that you were aware of since you have owned it for some time. I also noticed that you did not finish 1/2 finished projects as mentioned in earlier discussions and emails ( circuit board mounting, companionway lock, lazzerette  hinges replaced, etc.) onboard as you promised you would before I came aboard. I was under the impression the $500 deposit would be used to purchase any of these items and/or your time and effort. I took pictures of all the things I have mentioned and then some for prosperity in case I am forced to prove my case.

 In lieu of these findings Jack, I cannot trust what you have told me to be true and will not purchase the boat for any price as you sought to purposely mislead me into buying this vessel under false pretenses.

Consider yourself notified of my intent to file this matter with the small claims court (Port Orchard) unless my $500 deposit is refunded immediately through either PayPal ( through my email address or my credit union acct # I will disclose as a last option) since I have wasted enough time and money on this matter and must move onwards.

 As any informal verbal agreement we may have had is now voided with your intent to sell this vessel under false pretenses. I have contacted my legal advisor ( actually a old friend who has no legal training) and received paperwork, am prepared to process if I must. A date will determined by the court to proceed which is usually a lengthy and trying process and wherein if you fail to appear you will forfeit your case and likely incur associated court fees. I would highly suggest returning the deposit without delay.

I wish you were honest with me Jack and did not seek to take advantage of my first boat purchase whereas we may have come to another agreement. I have spent enough time and money and have nothing to show for it but a real bad experience and for that I am done negotiating on this matter any further. I am only relieved that the red flags that occurred in attempting to register the boat ultimately delaying the title transfer was a blessing in disguise and I am out only hundreds and not thousands of dollars. Please do not contact me but for the sole purpose to notify me of your intent to pay or not.

-Good Luck,


Send your details. I’ll do it for you today. Not sure what you expected from buying a boat at that price. But good luck also.


At the very least, one that that floats and does not leak.

So on a lonely stretch of highway our hero so intent on being a sailor, contemplated his next move with half the money he started out with. It’s funny how things go when you want something so bad your willing to overlook those tell-tell signs that would otherwise be so obvious.

 Yet he yearned so bad to be on any boat he almost spent every last dime on a old leaky boat that would have probably been more headaches than it was worth. What surprised him the most is what he learned along the way not only of boats but more about himself and his ability to jump in blind in such matters. He thought of the Shamanic Ritual where he looked down at himself and seen his true vessel within this Grand Journey we call Life and where it has taken him and where it will continue to do so. He also wondered where that dwarvish gal was and if she would let him rock her boat again.

So he pointed the van North to Bellingham Washington Marina where he found another worthy contender to purchase and not to mention it was near to the San Juan Islands where he could really get out and sail.

The Pacific Northwest scarcely gets more peaceful than unspoiled Bellingham, 

a bustling city nestled in the Bellingham Bay. Nature abounds in all directions surrounding this coastal paradise. The waters of the Pacific offer opportunities for whale watching, cruising to Friday Harbor or visiting the Canadian city of Victoria. To the east, Mt. Baker beckons skiers and snowboarders to its slopes. The city itself is alive with vibrant theater, historical museums, gourmet restaurants and fine arts. Vancouver and Whistler are a few hours to the North in Canada, a country that once shunned him but since Marijuana has become legal they welcome him with open arms and legs he hopes.

What more could he ask for? He may have not found her yet but he knows she’s out there waiting. So he will just keep on looking for that right one only this time he might want to get a survey done.

As for Jack, ultimately the deposit money was returned within a day and our Wannabe abandoned that cursed island where the Captain was left to lick his wounds and move back onto the ‘Kahlua’ or perhaps back in the waiting arms of that She-Devil who ultimately returned the $500 deposit for him that he owed, since he had spent it all, the night before-ringing the bell for the same old faces with the same old stories talking the same old shit, at a bar called “The Ship of Fools.”

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