Its official, we have a boat. It only took a couple years of incessant whining, but we've actually gone and done it and finally our dreams of sneaking up Islais Creek and exploring abandoned waterfront factories will be realized, not to mention a summer filled with Delta tubing and shouts of "Camp Life!". Of course its not quite ready for all this fun just get (what do you think you get for a grand?), but if the Cabinhouse can do it, so can we.
Wondering how the hell this came about? As I mentioned, having a boat to fart around in became somewhat of an obsession in the last few years, starting with the idea that (hey, since we're surrounded by water) we could get a small Zodiak to run around and explore in. Strangely, those things cost a small fortune and, coupled with a few lake visits, it was decided that an old runabout would be the way to go. You know, a little water-skiing and room for a couple more people. So began a near daily perusal of craigslist. Well, then winter set in and with it the realization that it might be nice to have a boat with some protection from the elements and perhaps a covered sleeping area for extra foggy nights on the water. All well and good, except that most of the ones within our price range (laughable) were more like floating mildew farms. Not that we're afraid of a bit of grime, but cutting out huge chunks of dry rot in the hull is not my forte. We were also a little wary of the constant maintenance wooden boats require along with the cost of keeping one continually berthed in a slip (not cheap). Anyhow, it appeared that we'd once again strayed too far afield and that even for $600 a 28-foot floating coffin was probably not the best idea. Still, the constant "Oh, you want a hole to throw money in" from apparently well-meaning individuals only served to strengthen my resolve that not only would a boat be had, but we'd find a good one and fix it up just the way we wanted, all within our tiny-ass budget. Hey, we're not a generation of DIY-ers for nothing.
Our new neighbors.
Haven't named ours yet. Figure she'll name herself soon enough.
Thought about calling her "Your Mom" so we could say things like "Hey, I'm taking Your Mom out tomorrow, wanna ride along?" but I'd hate to have to call the Coast Guard with that one. "Mayday, mayday, Your Mom's taking on water. Your Mom's going down!" Yeah, not so much.
Our current home. No small feat to get her there as she was previously living in Livermore. Ever towed a 25-foot trailer on the freeway? Thank God Frankie lied and said it wasn't much worse than a moving truck (so much worse) and didn't panic when we almost missed the offramp and the brakes made that horrible squealing sound, not to mention when the trailer came off its hitch and ploughed into the back of the rented U-Haul as we crossed the Park St bridge (no joke). I don't know if its always this way, but so far Alameda folks get my vote of confidence, with traffic simply cruising around our 40-foot blockade without a single honk and a car stopping to help almost instantly. Luckily, they were dudes and in a matter of minutes wheels were blocked, the front of the trailer was lifted and everything was properly secured. Rather magically the U-Haul people didn't say anything about the huge dent in the tailgate and the whole thing gets to be chalked up as a learning experience rather than a very expensive fiasco. I'm telling you, its that four-leaf clover.
Went over last week to start the clean-up.
It being Valentine's Day, Frankie brought some pink champagne.
Started by taking out everything the former owners had left for us.
Buoys, anchors, life vests, fish finder, even a super cool stainless steel barbeque that hangs off the railing.
Commenced to tearing out the old vinyl.
Thankfully, they were long since abandoned.
Also went in for a general scrubbing.
Isn't Irish Spring supposed to be green?
More little buddies. Never been partial to yellow jackets myself.
Found out what makes the boat float. Wrapped everything up and headed home. Until next time...
And you might say to yourself, "My God, what have I done?" Make the internet your friend and check craigslist all the time. Give yourself a budget of how much you can realistically spend right off the bat and how much more you're willing to put in for repairs. Also think about how much you can do on your own (good with tools? Like to paint?) and whether you'll have to hire a mechanic to fix any engine problems (try to research how much parts and labor cost, no sense in getting something that needs a couple thousand right off the bat, even if its listed as "a steal! only needs outdrive!"). This is also about the time you should decide what exactly you're looking for. Sailboats are much cheaper than motor boats, but will likely necessitate that you keep it in the water which runs about 7 to 10 dollars per foot. Plus, you have to like sailing. Smaller motor boats are fun for fishing and pretty cheap to keep, but you don't get to carry as many people and probably aren't so good to take way out in the bay. Cool old wooden boats can be fixed pretty easily and afford a lot of living space, but you'll need to haul it out every couple years for cleaning and again you deal with the expense of a slip...and so on. Whatever you decide, don't get discouraged. Do as much research as you can and don't worry, there'll always be some friendly fellow boater around offering tools and advice. Seriously, these people are great, we already know twice as much as we did two weeks ago, though that still amounts to very, very little. Come on, if we can do it, anyone can.