Decision #2: Selling the Boat

9/13/20: Sunday

It’s leftover night for dinner. Sauteed onions and garlic in olive oil, mixed with the hamburger meat and mac & cheese that Day and I couldn’t finish last night, plus a drizzle from a glass of red wine. I just handed him back to his mom for the week, so I bury myself in food and thought.

I’ve been thinking about selling the sailboat, a 1978 Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20, hull #34 – the boat that has protected me while I learn to sail, taught me patience, and provided a place to live when my son and I needed it most. I have given her my time, my money, all my energy. Written off by others, I could see her potential. Pouring forth the effort, I gave all I had to give which was everything. What now floats before me is a structurally sound, stout but beautiful, tiny ship full of charm and possibility.

When I think of her, I dream of adventure – of exploring the Sea of Cortez, trucking her to Tennessee to sail with my dad, navigating shanty style down to the Mississippi River and on to the Gulf of Mexico, and sailing across the Pacific to Hawaii and on to Japan. I feel at home within her spacious cabin, and am comfortable with a life on and around the water.

The flip side is how demanding she can be. She craves attention, loves shiny gifts, new hardware, standing rigging, lines of all sorts, and an endless supply of maintenance products. Most of all, she just wants my time. People tend to think of the sailing life as the simple life, but in my view that is only if you live on your boat full time. Otherwise owning a sailboat is the opposite of minimalism.

I desire to shed my attachment to the boat, to set both of us free. It makes so much sense in so many ways. But much like decisions with actual women in my past life, I have a hard time saying no, and derive all satisfaction from giving. I need to finish writing now so I can sand and varnish the companionway drop boards that I brought home. I’ll bring them out to her tomorrow, probably with some flowers to apologize for my terrible thoughts.

after-the-rain.org / Flowers on a Flicka sailboat

Author: Rainey

after-the-rain.org What started out as chicken scratch notes on the back pages of my boat’s logbook has now grown into a blog. These words and images help me cope with a loved one struggling with mental illness, and they help guide me through divorce, and the process of moving on. Thanks for reading along as I learn about life the hard way, do the best I can for my son in my new role as a single dad, and find weird similarities between restoring an old blue water sailboat and putting the pieces of my own life back together. Come check out my story and feel free to say hi!

24 thoughts on “Decision #2: Selling the Boat”

  1. Having grown up near the ocean, I recall the old joke that the *second* happiest day in a man’s life is when buys his new boat. Now I live next to a lake where people spend more time getting their magnificent status symbols into and out of the water than they do parading them up and down the shoreline.

    I’m going through the same thing with a motorcycle right now. I love riding… but I know that my reactions (and my acceptance of risk) aren’t the same as in my youth. And locally, the summer traffic has become more urban-like. It’s been a couple of years since taking anything more than a day-ride, and not even many of those this smoky summer. Still, letting go of something that represents an activity that has defined a big part of my life for better than three decades has so far proven more of an emotional trauma than I’m willing to bear. Anyway… I understand.

    Curious… did you name your boat?

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    1. Having a motorcycle in your neck of the woods would be a lot of fun, I can see how that would be hard to give up.
      The boat’s name is Alula, given by the previous owner. I believe it roughly translates to Little Wing in Latin. Little Wing sounds nice, but Alula sounds like the horn on a model T Ford. I thought I would change the name when I was worthy, which to me means learning to sail and completing the restoration. I’ll keep the boat until next summer, at which time I’ll either put it up for sale or give it a new name and sail with her forever.

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    1. We’ll see. My current work contract ends at the beginning of next summer, so I might be able to spend a lot more time on the water, I’ll decide by then. Just something I’ve been thinking about.

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  2. 🙂 I never owned a boat but I’m well aware they’re very demanding. Still, I have never read such a charming description of how demanding a boat can be as this. It’s nice to see she brings out the best in you!

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      1. I have no idea, and can’t imagine trying to figure that one out. It hurts my brain to try. By the way I’m going through a phase where I’m trying to rely less on analytical thinking and more on intuitiveness and instinct, we’ll see how that goes.

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      2. Yes, just a naturally analytical mind (I like math if you can believe that). However rational thinking can go too far and have a paralyzing effect I’m afraid. On the other hand, letting instinct guide my way has resulted in some of the best decisions I ever made, for example getting married, having a child, and even filing for divorce. Interesting questions, I’ll come check out your blog!

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      3. Good insights. Thinking too much can trap us inside our heads, I agree. But we are human, it is what we do. Lucky if we are able to get past our noses. And I am glad trusting your instincts has worked out well for you. I am more intuitive than analytical, so I suppose Markus and I balance each other out. Thanks, it was a nice conversation with you, too.

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  3. “I have a hard time saying no, and derive all satisfaction from giving” – This is my problem also which everyone else of course sees as a blessing. Perhaps for me more than satisfaction I derive meaning and purpose in giving to others what I struggle to give myself.
    I am totally enamoured with the idea of your adventure: Sea of Cortez, Hawaii, Tennessee, Mississippi River, Gulf of Mexico and Japan. Wow, that’d be quite the adventure. I am not all that comfortable on the water, so for me it would be a heart/brain transplant kind of adventure, but I still love the sound of just letting go and venturing out to wherever, just out. I hope you get to materialise that ‘freedom’ adventure whatever it actually looks like. Looking forward to hearing about Decision #3, if there is one! x

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  4. Take your time as you decide…we had a boat when I was married and I adored her, but my ship sailed when he left, the boat and home were sold and the kids and I had to find a new place to live. There is something altogether beautiful being on the water that I crave. It’s the Pisces in me I guess and I miss it.
    And I get the whole giving more and not wanting to say no….ever hopeful still is me, but more discerning now as I’ve aged.

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  5. Materials never meant too much for me. But my husband had to sell his motorcycle with a heavy heart. He wanted a fresh start, a new chapter in his life when our daughter is born and selling his dearest motorcycle was symbolic to him. I don’t mind him riding but he prefers not to because he wants to be around our daughter as long as he gets to live.

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