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Boating Adventures Via *eBay*

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 eBay - Articles & helpful information

May be interesting If You Plan to Buy a Boat via the internet

Boating Adventures

Via eBay

My wife Maureen and I were always boaters at heart. We honeymooned by chartering a 32 foot house boat in the Thousand Islands We also chartered boats five times in different areas.

Living in the Port Washington, we would always admire the many boats passing by as we stood at the town dock. Boating seemed to be in our Wood, but not in our commitment, as we focused on things like expenses versus how much we would actually use a boat. One day in early October two years ago. and purely on a whim. I typed "35 foot boat" onto eBay's home page. I chose to type in 35 foot boat" to save on the upgrades I would probably see myself doing if I liked boating.

Published: Boating Times | May 2008

Story and Photos by Tab Hauser

Three boats popped up and one of them was a 1994 Carver aft cabin motor yacht at a low price (I thought this was a good omen as earlier in the summer a friend had us look at a 1997 model for S129K). On the eBay site there was a description and pictures of the boat, which had sat on blocks for four years in Lake George. New York. This told me I had a fresh water craft, which made it sweeter, and so just for the fun of it I raised the bidding from $51,000.00 to $52,000.00. not expecting much to happen.

On the last day for bidding I had the highest offer at $54.000.00. The owner called me, saying that since he did not get his reserve price, he was listing it again. On the second listing I was high bid at $53,000.00. Again the owner called me and told me that was not acceptable. I told him I was on eBay looking for the quintessential bargain for a cash deal. I guess "cash deal" perked his ears as he previously had two people whose finances fell through up in Lake George.

After two weeks the owner clearly understood that while I did not need a boat he had a dead- line to refinance his business. I told him my final offer of $79,000.00 was based on my "gut" instinct I would need at least one engine within a year due to the boat sitting around for four years in the frozen north.

The bid was also based on what a surveyor would say in and out of the water. The owner agreed to the terms if we came up the last weekend in October; after seeing the Carver on blocks and in the snow, a deposit was given, still contingent on surveyor approval and the down payment money held in escrow.

On a cool and damp day in early May, we took Amtrak up to the Adirondacks where our mechanics who commissioned the boat picked us up. We were told the boat started and the surveyor was waiting for us with an "OK" bill of health. They advised us that the roof and arch were removed as well.

One mechanic's family member thought it was crazy for us to take a boat not used in four years home!

They also thought not having any experience skippering a twin screw, as well as having no navigation or radar other than a chart and binoculars, was not the norm. I told them if Henry Hudson could find his river sailing from Europe without GPS. the least I could do was cruise his river home to Lonq Island with better charts than he had They wished us luck, and so with a photocopied chart of Lake George, we headed 30 miles north looking for reefs and hoping all the warning floats were still up from the winter. When we reached the state dock in Ticonderoga we decided "winter rules wouki allow us to stay overnight there.

I went for the port dock but not knowing which end is up decided that if the boat wanted to stay on the starboard dock it would be OK with me At 6:30 in the morning a truck with a 12 wheel trailer appeared at the state ramp and backed down into the water. After maneuvering over it the driver secured it and hauled us eight miles (at 5100.00 per mile) from lake George to Lake Champlam before the town would wake up. I was at the upper helm during the towing with a boat hook to make sure we did not rip any overhead wires from the poles due to our height, and it was just as well that the roof and arch were removed as we would not have passed through town unscathed otherwise.

After being placed into Lake Champlain, it was up and down the 13 locks to Troy for the night. This part of our trip would have been fun if not for the cold rain much of the way. Also, with no twin screw experience l handled the boat as being two single screws which made it all the more "interesting" getting into locks when the wind blew.

The State Lock Masters' were all great; the first had heard our story and passed it down from lock to lock via radio. Each had the lock ready and came out to see the "eBay special". Near lock 3 things became even more interesting as a train trestle gave us only 20 inches of clearance!

After the only delay at the Federal lock, we finally made it to Troy at dusk.

There the Dock Master saw us newbies dealing with wind and current in a tight space. After hearing our story he blessed us and told us we were free for the night if we did not take electric.

At 8 AM we left Troy, taking center river south bound going around logs, fishermen, sand bars, and tug boats at 15 knots. After an overnight in Haverstraw Bay and picking up a friend, we were down into the part of the Hudson River where it got wide, then through the Harlem River, passing Yankee Stadium and through Hells Gate with a nice tidal push. At Manhasset Bay Marina our friend took the helm to back us into our narrow slip promising to teach me how to "park" the beast when the breezes calmed down.

Some people may see our eBay episode as a chore while others may view it as an adventure.

The bottom line here was literally the bottom line.

Seeing three similar boats in our area with prices 20 to 25% higher than what we paid for ours made this buying experience worthwhile We have no regrets in purchasing this older boat My hunch on one of the engines was correct and we replaced it during the first season.

For those keeping tally on our aptly named "Aboat Time let me sum it up: a 35 foot yacht with mini condition interior having two cabins, two heads a full galley with eat in area, salon, two helms, top and rear deck for lounging, all for $79,000.00 towing for eight miles for $600.00: roof / arch removal and replacement. $700.00: port engine replacement of $9,000.00. for a total expenditure of S89.500.00. Our adventure down the Hudson followed later in the season by jumping off my 16 foot roof into the bay: priceless!

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