Part 3: Jimmy and the Bagel Guy

So here we are.  The San Juan 24… ‘Whore of the Sea’ carried me through a spectacular summer, fall and winter of 2006.  I met a great girl. We sailed and spent weekends on the lake, sailed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Cut to summer of 2007 and change is in the air. The boat…not the girl.

I had always intended to sell the ‘Whore,’ the boat, not the girl… and now I had an offer.  I wanted a bigger boat. One that would take me out on the ocean with confidence.  A craft that was built to take the pounding of the ocean and my San Juan 24, while a fantastic craft, was a racer. She would not do well in a big blow at sea.   Plus, she had little room for storage and no proper head… that’s toilet in boat speak.  In June of ’07 I watched the truck and trailer take that whore away. I have to say I was a bit conflicted. NOW what?  No boat.  I only got 4K for her and after all the work, I probably broke even.  None-the-less… now I could get a “big boy” boat.  Or so I thought.  I knew how expensive “big boy” boats were and I had nowhere near enough for one.  But… I read, researched and compiled. I had long lists, short lists, pros and cons.  Fact, fiction and conjecture.  I drove my new found girlfriend absolutely mad with boat talk.  Ask her.  I still do.  Never-the-less, I had my eye on an Alberg 30.  Now I could go off on a tangent here and tell you all the world class stories about this famous boat but I won’t.  Like I said before, you can Google and find out all you want.  Back to the A30.  Such a classic. So well designed and SO expensive… scratch, scratch, scratch… That’s the sound of me scratching that boat OFF my list.  That activity gets repeated quite often until my list contains about 3 boats that I have a realistic chance of owning; A Westerly Centaur 26.  A Pearson Triton 28 and a Tartan 27.  None of these, mind you, considered “Blue Water” boats by most.  And while all have made impressive voyages with modifications the Tartan 27 was designed and built as a racing / cruiser in her day.  A very heavy racer I might add.  Turns out they way over-built all these boats but by now… all of these boats would be about 25 years old and very long in the tooth.  But what’s a boy to do.  Buy what you can pay for that’s what.  But I’m a ‘Romantic!’ I’m not practical, pragmatic, pra… What? Wait this is America damn it!  Loans! Equity! Borrow! Borrow! Borrow! Nah.  Not my style. I like projects, under-dogs…

My criteria for my next vessel was pretty detailed but mostly I wanted a well built boat, under 30 feet with a keel that drew less than 5 feet. The deeper the draft the deeper the water you need under the boat.  Anyway… I ended up going after the Centaur 26.  A bulky, not attractive and not a particularly good English boat that are rare in the U.S.
OF COURSE I DID!  I couldn’t pick the “dime a dozen” boat.  I had to go for the quirky British boat. Fat chance of finding one around here… Nashville… excuse me!  I’d have a better chance of finding Paris Hilton a job than a Westerly.  A Kardashian sister that was still a virgin… with a job.

I found one.  20 minutes from my house… but it was sinking. I know what your thinking.  But it was sinking.  I had to write that, it rhymed.  I didn’t buy it.  I tried…. but he turned my offer down. Thank God.  I found another in Key Largo, Florida.  I flew down, met the guy… the owner from Long Island and soon discovered that the photos of a PRISTINE Centaur 26 were taken oh, 5 years before. He posted photos that were taken when he bought the boat. The boat I saw was a sun baked, paint peeling, canvas rotted bucket of shit.  Every time I pushed a button or wanted to see something work he said something like, “Oh, that’s awesome, it’s just not hooked up yet.” “Oooh, I love having that on here but I just need connect that wire.” “I’d start the motor but one of the belts is missing and blah, blah, blah!!!!” I was pissed.  I said, “You’re kidding right?  You have to be fucking kidding me.  I had conversations on the phone with you… I flew down here, got a hotel, rented a car and this… THIS is the boat?!”  Needless to say, he didn’t accept my offer. Granted it was just a middle finger… I think he expected more.

So I kept looking. And looking.  I persuaded my buddy Matt to take a road trip.  We drove to Mobile, Alabama. Then to Destin, Florida… Tampa… across to Stuart, Florida where the guy didn’t show up to even show us the boat. Then to St. Augustine and finally back to Nashville. Empty handed. No luck.  None. Zilch. So I kept looking… and found one.  A Westerly up in South Hampton.  Yep, Long Island.  What the hell! I’ll take a trip, meet my brother Jimmy (see I’m getting there… slowly) and we’ll take a ride up to the Hamptons and see a boat.  So I go. Jimmy picks me up at the airport in Philly, we drive to his house in Brigantine, NJ and I call the guy in the Hamptons.  Now having been burned once… I ask many, many pertinent questions and we go.  Long drive but a beautiful day.  We get there, he’s a nice guy with a new baby and no time for the boat.  We take it out for a sail and I’m completely unimpressed.  Heartbroke actually.  She sailed worse than what I read about them. Granted… the rig was a little disorganized, there was no boom vang, little wind and I definitely didn’t sail her long enough to work out the kinks.  We left.  I made no offer.  Disheartened and completely frustrated we head back to Brigantine and I prepare to leave the next morning.Cut to the next morning.  Me, Jimmy and his girlfriend Mishi, short for Michelle, head out to get a cup of coffee at the Bagel joint around the corner… see… I’m getting there… slowly… As Jimmy and Mishi place their order I head outside with my laptop and coffee to wait and enjoy the sun, check my email and check in for my flight.  As I start to browse the web, I end up on a boat site… of course… I told you I was obsessed… and what do I see but a Tartan 27 for sale.  Now I had seen this boat about 6 months before and made the guy and offer, which he refused.  Now, he had the boat listed for what I offered. The funny part, it was about 20 miles away in Toms River, NJ.  Now guess what happens next?

jimmy and the bagel guyPart 4…