Goodbye to Moonraker
19 May 2016 | Port Annapolis Marina, Annapolis, MD
Well it’s been a bit stressful, and a lot emotional, but this morning I signed the papers to sell Moonraker. I’m still waiting to see that big check hit my bank account, but I’m pretty certain at this point it will. All told it’s been 77 days from the time I listed the boat until the final papers were signed. Really, the deal went through three weeks ago but it’s taken until today to complete everything.
I was very motivated to sell the boat. Last blog I mentioned that I put the listing up on some sailing related Facebook pages. That led to an instant message relationship with a guy in Vermont who was in love with Bayfield 40’s. He had come to Maryland to see the other Bayfield 40 that was for sale, and the one that forced me to put mine on the market for a much lower amount than I had hoped for. He told me what bad shape that one was in and it just made me madder that we listed my boat for so little. Oh well, that one had been on the market for a couple of years and it just took me 2 months to sell mine – that counts for something (or I will keep trying to tell myself that!). He was super interested in Moonraker and was going to come down and see it the weekend of the Annapolis Spring Boat Show, along with a couple of other boats. In a first of a number of small world stories – he is using a professional boat broker to help him find the best boat. He told me the name of his broker – John Neal. Whoa! Bill had a habit of picking up famous cruising sailors and forming relationships with them – offering our house for them to stay at when in Annapolis, or just a nice homemade dinner if they didn’t need a place to stay. We met John Neal, and his then wife, Barbara Marrett, when we took a cruising class, even before we moved to Annapolis. We kept up a relationship with them and they accepted Bill’s invitation to stay in our apartment when we moved to Annapolis. Of course when the guy told John that, John didn’t remember. It was 24 years ago... Anyhow, the trip got cancelled because the brokers were all busy with the boat show and the guy never came to Maryland.
Another famous cruising sailor Bill had picked up along the way has become a very close friend, Pam Wall. She also was coming to Annapolis for the Spring Boat show. She was teaching some classes in what they now call Cruisers University. I picked her up at the airport, told her about how I was frustrated by not hearing anything about what was happening with the boat, and we decided to have me make up a flyer about the boat and print it so she could have it in case anyone in her classes were looking to buy a boat. This was our targeted audience – it would be a shame to not tap into it. Previously this was something only Bill would do – I am not very artistic or creative – but I sat down and, if I do say so myself, made a great flyer. I took it to get printed and the guy at the copying place screwed up and printed them in color. Luckily – after I already had paid for them in black and white. I took them to Pam and that weekend I took two different people from her classes to see the boat. The first one was impressed but I could tell not really interested. The second one was a couple and they loved the boat, but they didn’t even know what a ketch was. I wasn’t sure they would be interested.
The next week was Election Day in Maryland and I did work as an election judge all day. We were not allowed to have any electronics so my phone was turned off all day. In the second of my small world stories – my job at the polls was to check people in by looking them up on a notebook computer. Luckily I didn’t get my own precinct (I didn’t really want to spend the day talking about Bill to all the people who knew him). There were only 4 out of 500 people who came through that day that I knew. Three of them didn’t know me – two were people who knew Bill – one was an ex-close friend of ours who either didn’t want to deal with me or didn’t recognize me without Bill next to me!! It wasn’t a very busy day so at one point I decided to look Bill up and see if the Board of Elections knew he had passed away. His status was “Not Qualified” – so I guess that is good. I showed the woman next to me, who I had never met before, and she looked at it and said – “Oh!!! I worked with him at Health and Human Services (Bill’s last job) We used to take the commuter bus together.” What are the odds of that??
Well, at the end of that very long day I finally turned my phone on and had a voice mail from my broker. He said we got an offer on the boat but it wasn’t what we were hoping for. He told me to go look at the email he had sent me with the offer. I rushed home and looked at it and I was furious. It was an insult – and I was very mad at the broker for even thinking I would accept it. I spent all night being angry – so mad that I couldn’t sleep at all. Luckily when the broker called the next morning – probably in response to the, I’m sure, not very nice email I wrote him at 10pm – he told me of course we weren’t going to accept that. He said he felt sure we would get another offer within the week.
And he was right! The next offer – 4 days later – was a lot closer to the asking price. We negotiated a bit and came up with a number I could live with. Still I didn’t know anything about the buyer. I thought I would be a part of the sea trials but apparently that is not how it is done. I thought then that I would meet the buyer at settlement – well apparently that is not how it is done either. I went to my broker and signed all the papers this morning and they took them to his broker and finished the deal.
I couldn’t stand the not knowing part. I knew if Bill were involved with this he would have found a way to meet the new owner. So I took the matter into my own hands and I called his broker. My broker didn’t have much information. Luckily his broker was a very nice guy and he told me my third small world story which makes me feel a whole lot better about everything.
When we were getting ready to leave for our second year of cruising, in the fall of 2013, Bill was replacing the tri-color light at the top of the main mast. Well that didn’t go very well, and to make a long story short, we had to have the mast removed so we could get the new wiring installed. We thought it would be cheaper to do it at a little marina our friends use all the time off of the Rhode River, where we would be anyhow for the Seven Seas Sailing Association Gam. Turns out we were wrong about it being cheaper… but it took a couple of days for the whole thing to get resolved and we anchored out in the creek next to the marina. Apparently that is where the buyer first saw our boat, he was living aboard in the marina. Moonraker is pretty impressive to see. When his broker took him to see it last month he remembered where he had seen the boat before. Actually, I am now in email contact with him and we have discovered that he also came by on a motorboat this past summer while we were in our community marina and asked about the boat.
I’m sure I will probably learn more things as I communicate with him more but his broker told me that the boat will definitely be cruising during the winters and in the Chesapeake at that same marina off the Rhode River in the summers. I understand he is going to rename the boat Bucket List. So – to my cruising friends – if you see the ex-Moonraker – masquerading as Bucket List – somewhere along the way – make sure you say hello and tell the old girl I am thinking about her!