It’s a well-known saying among boaters that the two happiest days are when you buy your boat and when you sell your boat. There’s the beginning of a new chapter as you write the check and get the keys. There’s the finality of seeing the entry in your bank account, as the brokerage check clears.
What this saying skips over is what kind of day it is when you realize you need to let go of your boat. For us, it was not one particular day, but a series of days that, like a leaky faucet, began to drip, drip, drip, eroding our enjoyment of Then Again.
We dealt with moving into an independent living community in Gig Harbor, WA, which included a major downsizing, and no garage. At one point we had 3 storage lockers, including one for just boat “stuff”. We had a lot of adjustments to make in joining a new community, and COVID protocols made it difficult to not only meet our new neighbors, but to go shopping, find new doctors, and find new restaurants. By the way, one of the main factors in moving from a single family house to this community was the realization that we hate yard work. That became clear when we returned to the west coast after living on board Then Again for our 16 month Great Loop adventure.
Living in an apartment was quite a change for all of us, especially Chip and Dayle, who no longer had the ability to use a dog door to access a fenced in back yard in which to do their “business”. Both of them began to suffer from gastrointestinal maladies. We either had to take them with us, with short cruising days and marinas, or find a place to board them. Dayle never cared too much for the boat anyway because Then Again’s Volvo diesel engine had a turbo charger whose whine only he could hear. He was never really relaxed when we were underway. Chip and Dayle were also experiencing more physical limitations as they aged, especially their agility.
Like Chip and Dayle, we were experiencing more physical limitations, especially our agility. It became more difficult to get on and off the boat, especially since Louise’s knee replacement surgery never quite healed, and she needed to use a cane. Lenny also had problems twisting in and out of tight spaces, and any engine work required being on his hands and knees. Items that previously would have been do it yourself maintenance now needed a younger, more flexible, set of hands, which came at a price. And there were parts on the 5 year old boat that needed replacement. COVID caused long delays in obtaining both parts and mechanics to do the work. Three weeks (or more) became almost normal while waiting for simple work to be done.
As we counted up on the water days versus at the dock days, we came to the conclusion that it was time for Then Again to get new owners, who would not only take care of her, but would take her out on a regular basis, to enjoy Puget Sound, or wherever they wanted to go. We had confidence that Then Again was in the prime of her cruising days, and that it was time to say Goodbye.
This is the last photo of Then Again, as she left Delin Docks, in Tacoma, WA, enroute to the brokerage. She looked as good as the day she sailed into our life at the Des Moines marina for our new boat delivery.
“Golden Age” is not for the faint of heart. Even the final check for a fair price as negotiated by a very good broker did not completely eradicate a sense of loss as we made a last Goodbye.
“Fair Winds and Following Seas”.