Thursday, 25 March 2010

Reality check

My original plan when I was looking for a sailboat was to buy one which I could immediately sail and get as much experience as I could. And that was my spirit when I bought Ting-a-ling. I did not imagine that I would be spending all my weekends doing hard labour instead of relaxed cruising. It now seems to me that that is rarely the case when you buy a sailboat, unless you go for a new one or spend loads of money to get one in pristine condition. Sure, there are bargains out there but the general rule is that you will get what you paid for. And I paid about £2k for Ting-a-ling. That included 6-months marina fees (about £1k) and an engine which could fetch around £1k. When I viewed the boat I was not happy with its condition - I did spot the rot on the bulkhead, the missing chainplate knee, the more-than-normal water in the bilge etc. But I didn't spot the compressed coach roof, soft deck etc. I knew there was work to be done but I had no idea how much and how difficult it would be.. I had second thoughts and when I handed over the money to the seller I was not at all sure whether I was doing the right thing.. My definition of the right thing though is a very loose one. The right thing is simply something you can live with..

Three months later, I can't say I have regretted it. I do spend all my weekends doing work but I think I prefer it to getting up at 1pm, faffing around and drinking around London pubs which was what I was doing before. And the knowledge and skills I am developing are invaluable, particularly if I eventually set off for the round the world cruise. It has been a very steep learning curve and I've been reading all the time about every single repair and different ways to do it. I have spent about a third of what I paid for Ting-a-ling to buy eqipment, tools, materials and books. But I'm still enjoying it and looking forward to that day when I will be able to sail her, being confident that I have done a good job. And I'll be more happy knowing that it was I that managed to restore her to this condition. So even though I might prefer to go sailing this weekend instead of building the bulkhead, I am happy that I bought Ting-a-ling and pretty sure that if I hadn't I would probably be drinking at the Kings Heads and waking up with a headache on Sunday morning.
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