That’s Hot. Not! Page 2

At Sea — August 2005
By Capt. Bill Pike

That’s Hot. Not!
Part 2: Not only had I wasted gas, money, and time, I’d also lost touch with a dream…almost.

Illustration: Joseph Daniel Fiedler
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• Part 1: That’s Hot. Not!
• Part 2: That’s Hot. Not! continued

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• At Sea Index

The next step down the path came inevitably. Because the imagery of boats for sale on the Internet had put such a fearsome lock on my mind. I began working the phones. And during the calls I made, I began dreaming about scheduling encounters—sea trials and walk-throughs in places like West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale—while simultaneously attempting to pin dealers, brokers, and owners down on specifics.

“She looks wonderful in the pictures,” I repeatedly marveled time after time. “How old is she?”

Then, a certain darkness began to intrude. Some of the dealers, brokers, and owners I talked with told me fibs. I didn’t realize this at the time, or perhaps I wouldn’t allow myself to realize it. I was living in a world of illusion. I believed they were all in love with the boats they were selling. I believed they were all giving these boats more care and attention than they gave their own children. I believed they were all simply dying to get rid of these boats due to gloomy happenings in their lives, like bankruptcies, divorces, and other tragic twists of fate.

I believed because I wanted to believe! And in the end, I set up my first Internet date with a vessel that seemed as lovely and captivating as she was cherished and well cared for. “This one’s hardly been cruised at all,” explained the broker on the phone. He told me about her adoring owner, an aged widower who was constrained to withdraw from the realm of yachting due to poor health, financial problems, and other issues too dire to speak of.

Yeah, I was nervous. So nervous and antsy, in fact, that before checking into my hotel room I stopped by the dealer’s suburban office. He happened to be in, and he was willing to give me a quick late-afternoon tour prior to the festivities the next day. We drove over in his Bentley while he waxed poetic about the boat. So great was my anticipation, I hardly heard him.

Life’s a paradoxical thing, though. We arrived at sunset, and reality dawned almost immediately. Instead of the gorgeous vessel I’d been mooning over for weeks, the object of my affections turned out to be a frowzy, beaten-down dog with little evidence of maintenance, cleanliness, care, or concern. I examined a crumpled rubrail on the port side, a discombobulated bimini top, sticky and corroded engine controls, straggly wiring in the engine room. It seemed my beauty had been ridden hard and put away wet.

Which ticked me off. The imagery on the Web had been somehow misrepresented in the same way I’m told imagery of people on Internet dating sites is sometimes misrepresented. Not only had I wasted gas, money, and time, I’d also lost touch with a dream…almost.

“Look,” I told the broker before departing for my hotel, “Forget about the sea trial. I’ve got other things to do.”

As luck would have it, I’d taken my laptop with me. There simply had to be other Internet boats kicking around Fort Lauderdale that were worth looking at in the morning.

Previous page > Part 1: A confessional look at the boat-buying equivalent of Internet dating. > Page 1, 2

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

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