Loose ends

I said I’d try to post weekly so here’s an update. I like our logo. I think my wife did a great job with it (s**t, I sound like a prominent politician!). I’m not sure what to do with it for now. Maybe try a T-Shirt. Our website is getting very little traffic, with most of it coming from the SSS’s website. Our GoFundMe campaign saw a small donation.

Our logo …

Two more Class40 boats went on the market for sale. This brings the total of Class40 boats on the market to 31; there are also 9 available for charter. 4 sold in 2018; 9 sold in 2017 (likely to folks who wanted to do the Route du Rhum 2018, which saw a record 53 Class40 boats registered, with 34 finishing); 5 sold in 2016. It’s a puzzle, ain’t it? More boats get listed than sell, but the prices remain fairly steady, especially at the bottom end, which is where I lie in wait.

Oh, and the broker selling an Open 40, with whom I had been in contact since I think early 2018, reached out asking whether I was still interested. That boat would be a good choice too. It has been for sale since 2013 I think, when it was listed for 250k. It is now still listed for 100k and there is a possibility that the price will continue to come down. I offered 55k and he told me to go away.

Recent news indicate that the boat market is not being replenished by buyers in the younger strata of the pyramid age. Baby boomers continue to buy, mainly upgrading to bigger yachts. But the younger generations are not stepping in. This “should” mean a few things. First, boat prices “should” come down. Second, when I’ll want to sell whatever boat I acquire, the market will have shrunk even further. Regardless, boat prices seem to hold on, with fairly dated boats in need of major refit still listed for over 100k!

I wonder how it feels to be a seller, stuck between “If I hold on my price maybe the right buyer will show up” and “Every day that passes the boat loses value and costs me more”. Holding to a 40 feet boat here in San Francisco is about $6,000 just in berth fees. All that rationalizing is useless. It all comes down to me identifying a boat I can make work within my budget and making an offer.

There is one more thing to consider: labor and parts in the boat industry are skyrocketing. Here in San Francisco Bay hourly rates have hit $125/hr, most likely reflecting the high cost structure of operating a boatyard and the reduction in skilled workers. This would tend to make the value of a used sailboat even less.

Let’s put the wallet aside and talk about feelings too. I’m not sure if it’s clear to you but this project is a major undertaking. To put thing in perspective, I’ll use the usual anecdote that more people have gone to space than have circumnavigated solo non-stop aboard a small sailboat. Of course, there’s the natural elimination factor of “Why would anyone want to do that?!?!”. Still, you have to put this in contrast with the fact that there are 7 billion humans on this planet. And that sailing has been going on for a very long time.

Putting aside a few conversations, so far, this has been a solo undertaking, with a wife who is openly opposed to my undertaking this journey. There’s a lot of friction. I’m internalizing a lot of s**t for now. I’m not sure what is going to come out the other side. Overcoming internal, family and social pressure is sometimes the biggest hurdle to accomplishing something. Maybe that’s what it means to be an adult. No one is there to cajole me into success. I have to visualize myself aboard the boat in the middle of the ocean, experiencing a true connection with Nature to keep going … But the reality is: I’m not sure how long hope is going to keep me going. Sometimes I think that maybe I should just buy another small ULDB and keep trying the SHTP every couple of years. But then the cost of shipping the boat back brings the hard cost of these projects back forefront.

I’ll leave it that for this week.

Author: Skipper

Wannabe circumnavigator. http://pjsails.com/a-skipper-looking-for-adventure/

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