In one of my early blogs, I told you about how I came to own a seventeen-foot Carolina Skiff. Now I can tell you why I've decided to sell it.
Boats are a real pain in the ass. This one isn't as big a pain as some others I've owned, but that's not to say it's a real joy to own; it's not.
There's nothing wrong with the boat or the engine. The engine is perfect. It's a 50hp Johnson, and the guy who had it before me was a marine engineer. He oiled everything, so there is literally no wear or rust on any part of the engine. You can eat off this engine. When I had my mechanic check it out, he shook his head and said he wanted to meet the previous owner. He'd never seen an engine taken care of like this one. That's good, because without an engine a boat is nothing more than a cork bobbing in the water. And the boat itself is fine, thank you. No leaks, and it rides well for what it is. Without a “V” hull or a keel, it sort of slides when you make a turn. That takes some getting used to, but skidding around a buoy at full throttle is just plain fun. It's sort of halfway to an airboat.
So everything with the boat is in very good shape. No problems, and nothing that really needs to be fixed. So why am I selling it? Why is it such a pain? I'll tell you: it's because it's on a trailer.
Trailering a boat is one of the most annoying ways to own a boat. In Florida, I have a dock and a boatlift. When it's time to go out, I lower the boat, get in, turn the key, and I'm off—I just go. But in New England, I need a trailer.
I don't like trailering a boat. It just adds a whole different level of stuff that can go wrong. When I bought the trailer I found that the wheels on it had rusted out, and the lights had just stopped working. I tried fixing all of that, but I quickly discovered that I was better off just buying a new trailer, and that's what I did.
Trailer's in good shape. Check. So why am I selling it?
You wouldn't ask me that if you had ever tried to trailer a boat and launch at Blish Point in Barnstable Harbor in the summertime. Every tourist on the East Coast with a couple of bucks and no common sense is jockeying for position to attack the ramp and get their pride and joy into the water. I've seen trailers jackknife. I once saw a boat slide off the trailer with no one holding any ropes, so the tide grabbed it, and off went the boat all by itself. It was kind of fun watching that boat owner running along the shore and yelling at his boat to come back, as if the boat had decided to leave him behind.
If you head to the ramp at the wrong time of day, your wait to launch could be measured in hours. I don't like waiting in line, and watching these amateurs getting in one another's way as they crowd the launch raises my blood pressure to dangerous levels. There is usually a Natural Resources Officer who's there to try to maintain order, but he seems to spend most of his time staring at the bikini-clad young women who frequent the public beach next door. I usually join him, because it's less stressful than trying to actually launch my boat and go fishing.
I like to take the boat out to Sandy Neck, a seven-mile stretch of sand dunes on the north side of Cape Cod. There's a huge sand bar there at low tide, and it's always filled with boats, and people having picnics and cook-outs. But here's the problem: If there is room for thirty boats, there are always forty boats fighting for space. Then, if you're fortunate enough to get one, you have to worry about whether or not the idiot on either side of you knows how to properly beach his boat and anchor it so it doesn't slam into your boat. It seems most of these guys can't figure it out.
It's now time to come back in, and once again you have to wait in line to pull your boat out of the water. Same stupid stuff going on at the ramp, and my relaxing day on the water has gotten so stressful that I will require large quantities of adult beverages to calm me down again.
And so I'm selling my boat once again. It's back to the kayaks, on which I can still do pretty much everything I want to do. I can go clamming and fishing, and I can find those nice, secluded spots that are perfect for a summer picnic. So if you've got five grand and want a great boat with a trailer, come see me. I might even take a little less if you're nice to me.