Cadillac Man…On a Boat

This is me tryin’ to look like a boat broker…

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I spent the winter of 2018-2019 living aboard in Annapolis and working for a yacht brokerage. The winter was pretty benign, which was nice, and the job was good and bad. The good: getting the company’s new website up and closer to where the owners want it (and getting paid for doing so). The bad: Not having a steady income or benefits because it was all 1099 work.

Beyond that, it’s been fun and the folks have been nice and they’re trying to help me evolve into a yacht broker. And that evolution’s latest step took place last weekend when Annapolis hosted its annual spring sailboat show and yours truly was workin’ the dock.

We had two brokerage (aka: used or preowned or whatever euphemism you prefer) boats in the water and one new boat on a trailer on shore. Between the two boats in the water we had a tent with information on all of our listings — more than 100 — and supporting information for everything else we do. And it’s in that area I was stationed.

So it was a bit of a bummer when the line of strong thunderstorms blew through Friday afternoon, prompting officials to close the show and chase everyone off the dock. The subsequent drenching as I walked home was a treat, too. Saturday broke clear and sunny — but in the wake of the front’s passing, we had gale-force winds blowing all day so there was no way we could set up our tent (a neighboring exhibitor tried his and it wound up in the rigging of his boat by mid-morning). Sunday was mostly benign although another front with strong winds blew through right as we were tearing down, so that made things kinda interesting.

The point is: I didn’t get a whole lot accomplished in the show. A colleague sold one of the two boats in the water, and I got to watch him work the client. And I networked a bit and I HOPE generated a couple of leads, but that won’t be known for months or even years.

But it was a positive experience, results notwithstanding. As I’ve said many times before: I’m not a salesperson. I can’t sell water to a guy dyin’ of thirst. But I love boats and I love sailing and I get energized talking with other people so afflicted. And I believe that comes across; indeed, the colleague who sold the boat said he thought I had real rapport with folks. Now the next step is to figure out how to close, how to put that deal-making step into action.

Will I get there? I have no idea. But I’ll keep trying and working so that when the fall boat show (which is much bigger) rolls around, I’ll have more of an “A” game going. I hope.

The Real Real First Day of Spring

If yesterday was a fantabulous day on land, today was equally wonderful out on the water.

That’s right: Further and I went for a sail.

We left the dock around lunchtime (after successfully filling up on diesel, unlike our last outing) and wandered out into a light-air day on the Chesapeake. Winds were 6 to 8 knots so we were ghosting along under main and genoa at 4 knots or so. Not blindingly fast but the sun was shining, the air was warm and it just felt GOOD. Further, especially, seemed pleased to be back in her element.

We headed easterly toward the Bay Bridge and were off Greenbury Point when the wind pretty much died out: 3 to 4 knots and we were doing maybe 1 or so. There was a J World sailing school boat nearby and they were going just as slowly as we were so I didn’t feel bad about it.

At one point I wandered up to the bow and looked over the edge just to make sure. I could confirm that Further was, in fact, cutting through the water. We were moving. And then we were moving a bit faster. And then a bit faster still. What the…?

By the time I got back to the cockpit the breeze had filled in, blowing in the 10 to 12 range and Further was doing a good 6 knots. It was amazing how quickly everything changed. One minute we’re just floating, the next we’re rocking across the bay.

The USCG cutter Eagle doing “engine maneuvers” on Chesapeake Bay. Click on the photo to enlarge it and see how beautiful a ship she is.

And out there on the bay, in the main channel south of the Bay Bridge, was the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Eagle (which, I just learned on that page I linked to, when it was brought to the U.S. after we took it from the Germans following World War II, came first to the town in New York where I spent a good chunk of my youth. Far out!). They had announced over the VHF that they would be doing “engine maneuvering” for about three hours so Further and I moseyed over there to get a look. This being the Paranoid States of America I didn’t get too close, the Eagle being a military ship and all, but even from a distance she sure is a beautiful vessel. I’d love to see her out at sea with some of her canvas flying, but even under bare poles she’s a pretty vessel.

After getting to roughly the eastern edge of the channel, I tacked Further over and we headed back to the southwest, toward Thomas Point. The wind by now was a steady 14 to 16 with gusts up to 20-plus and we were rockin’. In fact, I may have had Further a little overpowered but what the hell…it was our first time out this year, really. And it was sunny. About halfway back to the western shore I did roll in a bit of the genoa, but other than that we just rocked and rolled.

Another tack and back northeast toward Eagle, then another tack to head back to Annapolis, and by now the wind was a steady 20. Boo-YAH!

The ospreys are back and once again building their nests on pretty much every navigational aid in the area. A sure sign of spring.

Off Back Creek I turned into the wind and started the engine so I could roll up the jib completely and douse the main. Coming into the marina was pretty straightforward, though the strong southerly wind would have made it interesting to tie Further up by myself. As it was, the guy on the boat in the slip next to ours was on the finger pier to help.

So, yeah, here we go into another season. I had hoped that by now I’d have a dozen or so days on the water but the weather and Further‘s diesel engine had something to say about that plan. No worries, though. We’re underway again and I’m stoked. I know Further is too.

I will say that as much of a solo guy as I am, it would have been nice to have a friend or a few friends along for the ride. So if you’re in the mood to get in a little sailing, gimme a shout and c’mon down to Eastport. Further‘s a-waitin’.

The Real First Day of Spring

A sliver of moon on the western horizon. The next lunar cycle is underway.

The vernal equinox was a couple of weeks ago but today, April 6, was the REAL first day of spring this year.

A glorious Saturday, the sun burned through some light morning fog around 9 o’clock and shone the remainder of the day. A light breeze caressed the waters of Chesapeake Bay and anyone who wasn’t working to bring their boat out of its winter slumber was out on the bay enjoying themselves.

Me, I was at work. Woohoo! <groan> And by “work” I mean: I sat in the office waiting for someone, anyone, to come by and express an interest in buying or selling a boat. None did. I wandered the docks at Port Annapolis — it was too nice NOT to go for a walk — but anyone I talked to was elbow-deep in getting their boat out of hibernation, so no leads there. Oh, but I did deliver a message to a client for the other broker in my office. He had gone home for the day after popping in for a few minutes. I know, I know…

Mmm…pasta, salad and a Pounder Pils beer for dinner in the cockpit of Further. Now THAT’S livin’!

I finally took off around 5 p.m. and moseyed back home to Further. And in the midst of cooking up a pasta dinner and doing a few odds and ends around the boat, I took in a superb evening. And while enjoying the first dinner in the cockpit of the season — while listening to my beloved Grateful Dead, of course — I glimpsed in the west a super-young moon. Just a sliver visible above the trees and buildings on shore, but there it was. The photo isn’t so great — my eyes are such that I can’t really tell when I have the damned camera focused sharply or not — but you get the idea.

I should have known it was coming after seeing a really old moon — an equal but opposite-side sliver — early in the morning on Tuesday en route to play hockey. That sliver was just coming up with the sunrise while this one was just going down with the sunset. The new moon was around Thursday or so.

Point is: a view of a sliver of moon while listening to the sound of bird song capped off a glorious day and a sublime evening. Spring has well and truly sprung now, thank goodness.