We got a text from Dan. He found a sailboat for sale on Craig’s List. The seller, who lives near Marquette, about 3+ hours away, is asking $500 or best offer. This is an “old” 13.5′ wooden sailboat, the hull was originally manufactured by the Old Town Canoe Company in 1950. It is a similar model to the sailboat Robert Manry famously used in 1965 to cross the Atlantic Ocean. He set the record for an Atlantic crossing in the smallest boat with that voyage. He called his boat the Tinkerbelle. This boat was refashioned in a similar way as Manry refashioned his (with cabin) and was last sailed 12 years ago. Comes with sails, rigging, and trailer. The seller rates its condition as fair.
In 1971, while I was in high school, I too bought a sailboat for $500. It was a Snipe, a 15.5′ dinghy. I just Googled its class number and discovered that it was built during World War II. Likely in 1943-45. I didn’t have Craig’s List back then. I think I saw the ad on the school’s bulletin board. I bought it from a classmate. It too included sails, rigging, and trailer and I would rate its condition as fair. After about another $500, a whole lot of sweat equity and my father’s help, it was ready for the water. I sailed it for a few years. First taking the family out on Portage Lake, near Ann Arbor. Then I courted Anne with it. Eventually, what with college, I grew tired of it and sold it again for $500.
My father taught me how to sail, as I taught Dan. There was a boat up here that he loved to sail, a Whaler. It was kind of a pig of a boat, but he loved it and was quite good at handling it. One summer there was a beach wedding and some of the other guest took it out, when they shouldn’t. They nearly drowned and Dan had to help in the rescue. He saved the boat, but no good deed goes unpunished though, because next summer he discovered that someone had wrecked the boat, by destroying its rigging.
Dan has pined for a new sailboat ever since. He’s in Brooklyn now and when last we visited him, Anne and I took a turn through Central Park. At one of the ponds there (Back east every nonflowing body of water bigger than a puddle and smaller than the Atlantic is a pond.), there was this pictured boathouse for model sailboats. I asked the caretaker about them and she told me that they sell for up to $5,000. I’m thinking now that maybe more than $500 is a better offer.