The Path to Nautical Slavery by Jackie Parry
The first amazing insight of boat hunting in the USA is most boat brokers are not the slightest bit interested in selling boats. We were staggered at the lack of interest in our enquiries. In desperation, Noel wrote an email to one broker stating:
We are from Australia, we have cash, and we have jet-lag and a desperate stare in our eyes. In short, we are mugs ready to be led down the path of nautical slavery.
If you can’t sell us a boat there is something very wrong.
We didn’t receive a reply. Perhaps they just didn’t understand Australian humour.
The first broker we pried off his bottom originated from a Hollywood movie, not because of the glamour, but because he was unbelievable.
Jed’s business attire comprised orange plastic flip-flops, bright Hawaiian shorts and t-shirt. His chemical-induced watering eyes dribbled towards the smouldering cigarette that appeared to be glued to his bottom lip.
He didn’t instil any confidence as he displayed a jarring ensemble of jerks and twitches, dispelling our last shred of confidence in our garishly garbed would-be broker.
The boats we viewed were on the hard in the yard. Jed smashed the ladder onto the topsides of each of the three boats that caught our eyes with a crunch that made us cringe. Noting our horror, he shrugged and sat in various cockpits, allowing the dirty ash from his smoke to fall on the cabin floor, the smoke spiralling up to stain the canvas, all while we viewed the generally beaten up boats.
The second broker we tried sat in a long, narrow office. The suited-seller sat at the back of his domain and shouted at us from his chair, some ten metres away. This was our second attempt to arrange a viewing on a boat he was advertising.
‘I need twenty-four hours’ notice,’ he yelled.
We tried to give him notice, but simply grew weary of shouting.
Do the boat owners know that potential purchasers were unable to view their boats?
‘BUY! SELL!’ another broker with a different set of boats yelled into his mobile phone and cleared his throat with tubercular force, while we crammed into a tiny aft cabin together. We were close to Hollywood, but this was ridiculous.
During the fiasco between decrepit boats and peculiar brokers, we commenced discussions to view a boat we stumbled across.
We became disillusioned with what we saw, which was primarily rot, delaminating decks, blisters, and mould.
It sounds like a dream to hop on a plane and spend each day viewing boats in an exhilarating foreign country. The reality is different. Our budget meant clean motel rooms, but that was all you could say about them. Car hire is a speedy way to empty your bank account (due to the insurance). Also, our desires were difficult to fulfil – centre cockpit boats were few and far between.
Left to our own devices after we shed the burden of brokers, armed with our incurable curiosity, and with our buddies, Roy and Chris, we meandered along the dock to a proud, large monohull.
‘Wow, what a great boat!’
Right then, I knew she would be our new home.
Uninvited, we rudely inspected Pyewacket’s exterior.
Meanwhile, Roy slinked off into a neighbouring fishing shop. A few moments later, he reappeared displaying a wide, smug grin, waving a piece of paper.
‘She’s for sale, and here’s the owner’s number!’
My stomach shifted as if my organs had stood to attention and saluted.