That’s Hot. Not!

At Sea — August 2005
By Capt. Bill Pike

That’s Hot. Not!
A confessional look at the boat-buying equivalent of Internet dating.

Illustration: Joseph Daniel Fiedler
 More of this Feature

• Part 1: That’s Hot. Not!
• Part 2: That’s Hot. Not! continued

 Related Resources
• At Sea Index

I was sitting in my office one Friday afternoon some months ago, daydreaming about cruising the wild, far-flung coasts of Madagascar (or at least the near-flung coasts of northern Florida), when my index finger on my right hand began to absently, almost autonomically, tickle the ivories of the ol’ laptop, most likely due to a little question that was just starting to smolder in the space between my ears.

“Hmm. Wonder what a nice 36-foot trawler is selling for today?”

Click! Click! Click! Marvelous images arose before my mesmerized eyeballs. Wow! Was this particular vessel a drop-dead beauty or what? Classic profile. Voluptuous curves. Teak cosmetics sensibly yet elegantly understated. Obviously built for comfort, not for speed. And yeah, just a tad expensive, at least for a guy like me who’s in the market for a new boat but still has to sell his old one.

Click, click, click. Other marvelous images arose. Wow, look at this baby! Same classic profile, same voluptuous curves, same teak cosmetics sensibly yet elegantly understated, same built-for-comfort-not-for-speed physique. But hey, the price was more appealing—$20,000 less than the boat I’d just ogled.

Hours passed in this fashion—hours that were absolutely unproductive from the standpoint of making a living. Did I care? Even a little? Heck, no! Did I hear the disembodied voice of my boss—or my co-workers or anybody else, for that matter—whispering in my ear about the virtues of keeping my nose to the grindstone? Nope.

I was hooked. Soon I found myself devoting every spare minute I could beg, borrow, and steal to cruising marine Web sites, staring slack-jawed at trawlers and trawler-style yachts from Grand Banks, Mainship, Nordhavn, Sabreline, Monk, Albin, and others. As I have previously admitted in this column, I was even driven to inflict my mania upon the person whom I love most in the world: I took to carting my laptop to bed at night so my wife would be compelled to view the boats I was obsessed with.

Of course, I perused the specifications for these vessels during my innumerable Internet sessions. And I read all the broker-supplied commentaries, at least at first.

Eventually, though, I sensed a certain sameness to the verbiage, a certain grandiosity, causing me to lose interest in doofy stuff like: Lucky Lady is, without question, the most exquisite, late-model vessel of her type on the market. She is a vision of loveliness. Her owners have lavished thousands of dollars upon her since her launch one year ago, adding color-coordinated electronics, a miniature waterfall in the master head, and a custom sailing dinghy with tanbark sails, and retaining the services of renowned Saltwater Savants Marine Service Center for ’round-the-clock, 24/7 maintenance and upkeep. She is currently stored in a velvet-lined cradle in a large, air-conditioned football stadium, and because her owners see their pride and joy as an objet d’art rather than a mere boat, they’ve never actually used her, a fact that explains why her twin Rolls Royce turbines have zero hours on them.

Next page > Part 2: Not only had I wasted gas, money, and time, I’d also lost touch with a dream…almost. > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the August 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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