But before I get into the boat restoration stuff, I’d like to talk about my experience about buying a boat in another state and the transport. As mentioned in a previous post (Craigslist, California, and a Fat-bottomed Boat), I found Lorilee on a Craigslist ad that Alex sent to me. As soon as I saw the ad, I sent the seller a load of questions. After a few emails between the seller and me (and a quick analysis of my finances), I bought a flight to California. So in the couple of days before my flight, I did a lot of reading on Bud Taplin’s site and watched a bunch of YouTube videos for things to look for on a Westsail 32. I had a laundry list of items to look for.
When I arrived at Long Beach Yacht club where Lorilee was berthed, I spent several hours inspecting the engine, the rigging, every cabinet, and every hatch. I asked a million questions. The seller was very generous with her time. When I was satisfied, I made an offer, and she accepted.
So back to Texas I came, with my mind in a flurry about what to do next. The original plan was to fly back during the Christmas Holidays to finalize the sale. However, after some calls, I found that the yards, surveyors, and other folks involved would be on vacation. So we pushed things back a few weeks. *Sigh of relief*. I bought myself some time, but I had a LOT to do:
- Finalize the boat loan
- Send deposit to seller
- Book a survey
- Line up a trucker
- Hire a rigger for transport preparation
- Insurance matters
- Flights/hotels for the second trip
- Coordinate everything with the yard in California
- Book a yard in Texas
- USCG and Texas registration docs/taxes
I won’t get too much into the finances of buying the boat. However, I will say that I avoid taking on debt as much as possible. Somehow, Americans have been trained to think that debt is okay. That having a mortgage, car notes, and credit cards is somehow normal. Well, it drives me absolutely crazy to have debt. It feels like a shackle around my ankle. However, because I hadn’t seen a Westsail 32 in this price range, Lorilee was worth the risk of taking on a little debt. All in, she was less than my last truck!
After some calling around, I discovered that Bud Taplin lived near Long Beach and was able to do the survey on the 19th! And by complete and total coincidence, the trucking company I hired is headquartered twenty minutes from where I live, AND they happened to be delivering a big Catalina to Marina Shipyard in Long Beach on the 21st. The stars were aligning. This was turning out better than I could have planned.
My previous blogs detailed the rest of the California side of the story – from purchase to unstepping the mast. It was indeed a stressful affair. In fact, during the month of December, I developed a strange eye twitch…
My initial plan was to take Lorilee to a yard in the Clear Lake/Kemah area (in between Galveston and Houston), have a bottom job done, restep the mast, and take her to a marina somewhere in the area. After seeing her condition during the survey and much deliberation, I decided that I wanted to do some major work on her before splashing. There are only two yards in the entire area that let you do your own work, and the yard where I was originally planning to take her to was going to be $48/day plus $7/day to store the mast next to the boat. Absolutely effing ridiculous. AND they don’t allow sanding or painting. So of course I had to find another solution.
Bud recommended House of Boats in Rockport. I’ve been in Rockport before for weekend fishing trips. It’s a nice town, but it’s three hours from where I live. However, this yard is only $15/day flat. What a difference! I’d say three hours of driving each weekend is worth saving over a thousand dollars a month. So a few a few days before the truck arrived, I had them divert their route to Rockport. It actually saved them some time and distance.
This yard is exactly what I was looking for. Basically, it’s a dirt lot with a hot shower, power and water hook-ups, and lots of folks around to offer advice, an extra pair of hands, and of course – ol’ salty stories. There are always dolphins swimming in and out of the harbor right next to the yard, and I get to see some fantastic sunrises. Hell, there’s even a pompous rooster walking around waking everyone up at 4:30 a.m. I can’t help but smile :)
The day Lorilee arrived, the guy who runs the travel lift had to go out of town. Of course. So the trucker and I sat around for six hours waiting for him to return. We didn’t offload until about 7pm. The yard guys left Lorilee in the lift that night, so thus I slept in my boat, swaying in the wind…
The next morning they blocked her up and my work began.