We arrived at the marina about 9:30 after driving in the last hour from Orange, TX. It was a bright sunny Texas morning and a tour of the docks and facilities past the time while we waited for the broker. The manager of the marina mentioned that the boat had been hauled out and had an extensive bottom job just a year ago, and that he had even been over to the boat yard to see her out of the water. The manager also indicated that there were a few months rent past due on her.
Mike from Houston Yachts arrived at 1000 and we began our inspection of the boat. Given that the purchase was to be as-is where-is I had to make the inspection as thorough as possible. For the price we were paying for Colancer I kept expecting to see something realy wrong with the boat, but we kept finding clean bilges and working systems everywhere we looked. We checked plumbing, 12v and 120v electrical, interior compartments for rust, steering, standing and running rigging, and did an engine run-up. We found small problems here and there, but just maintenance issues.
I accepted the vessel at 1400 after four hours of inspection, and wrote the big check to the escrow account. I also offered to pay the back rent due, as long as the sellers would allow us to stay aboard through closing as their guests.
A neighbor on the dock stopped by and told me how much he'd been admiring Colancer, and I let him know how happy I was to have received this gift from God. He introduced himself as Mark, the owner of another steel ketch two slips away. We met his wife Jaima when she stopped by to say hi and admire the boat a little later.
We were starting to unload all of our stuff from the van to the boat when Jaima stopped by with a message that the marina manager wished to speak with me, and deal with paperwork. When I got up to the office I met his assistant, who indicated that the manager wanted us to fill out an application for long term stay at the marina, and was very concerned with us proving ownership. The manager came in a few minutes later, and I tried to explain to him that we had just purchased the vessel, and that we were here as guests of the sellers for the moment. I also indicated that I wanted to pay the back rent on the vessel.
The marina manager became very aggitated, demanding some kind of proof. I tried to tell him he was welcome to call Mike, the broker, and verify that we were purchasing Colancer, and had permission to be aboard. He told me that what he needed was 'a phone call from Jim'. I replied that I didn't know who Jim even was, that I'd been dealing through the yacht broker, and that I had seen all the ownership papers on the vessel, I knew who the owner was, and her name was not Jim. I was trying to be very reasonable with the man, given that a relationship with a dockmaster makes or breaks a stay at a marina, but was wonderring if I was going to need to arrange a quick exit from this place for my family and my new boat.
What followed was a flury of phone calls. The manager called his boss, the marina owner, instead of calling Houston Yachts. I think his boss told him something like - calm down, talk to the yacht broker, maybe call the boat owner, and if I wanted to give him money for the back rent, take it! I went back down to the boat and called Mike at Houston Yachts on the cel phone to explain the sudden difficulty I was having, and he started to fix things fast. He called the sellers and left a message for them to contact the marina, then called the marina and offered to send them copies of the signed contracts, vessel documentation, and copies of my checks to the escrow account to satisfy his wish for proof that it was OK for us to be aboard Colancer.
I returned to the marina office 15 minutes later to find the manager apologizing for the trouble, but explaining that he was just trying to keep things straight, and I indicated that I appreciated his diligence, given that it was now my boat he was keeping a sharp eye on. He indicated that he had even heard from Jim, the seller's husband, and Jim had indicated that they hadn't so much sold the boat but given it to us.
I filled out an application and signed off on it after I read the marina rules. They indicated that they were going to ask me for a lot of money - the back rent, rent through September, and another month rent as deposit. I replied that it wasn't that much money, given the check I had written to Houston Yachts a few hours earlier.
The boat had boxes of our belongings all over and we weren't about to try cooking our first night on board, so Peter took on the task of orderring a pizza dinner for us. He found the local Dominoes Pizza on the Internet, convinced them we were not calling from New York on the cel phone, and managed to give them directions to the marina.
We finished our day with a wonderful sunset and a full moon rising as we happily ate pizza on the deck of our new boat, Colancer.
I find it hard to express with words the gratitude, happiness, and other emotions I feel over this great gift that life has brought us. Colancer is a wonderous gift. A gift from the sellers. A gift from God.