Update on the Carlyle III

Let’s do a quick catch up of the past year. We sold our home in July of last year and moved onto the Carlyle when a couple of issues became apparent, the kind of things that don’t pop up when you are overnighting on the boat, but become readily apparent when you live aboard her. We talked about the problems and it became apparent that the galley and dining would need to be on the same level, and we needed an alternate way to get to the foc’sle without going through the engine room. After measuring, reviewing hundreds of old boat plans, re-measuring, and sleeping on it, I found that altering the original layout was not practical and would not improve the boat.

After about a week the girls went on a pre-planned month long trip oversees to visit big brother who moved over last summer to attend college. Just before they left I noticed a Grand Banks 42 was for sale again, needing some attention, in the same marina. I knew the decades-long owner and had been to sea on the boat a couple of times, and I had once owned and lived on a Grand Banks 36. The long term owner of this boat had done incredible work in the engine room and maintained detailed records. He had sold the boat a year earlier to someone who used it once then tied it up, not even leaving a window cracked for fresh air. The Central Oregon Coast experiences up to 90 inches of rain a year, and old Grand Banks have lots of windows. The combination of a few window leaks and the greenhouse effect had caused the boat to become covered in mold and mushrooms inside. I took the bride over to see the boat before she left, and I think largely because she was excited to go on vacation and see her baby boy, she seemed unfazed. She said ‘I’ve seen what you can do with a boat, I like the layout, if you get it and clean it up by the time we get back we can live aboard her’.

Challenge Accepted.

I tracked down the owner (actually his mother) and made a deal to purchase the boat. I then began a manic 4 week undertaking to make the boat inhabitable. First thing was to get the boat moved over to side tie to the Carlyle, so I didn’t have to keep walking and carrying things back and forth over half a mile in the marina.

After 4 weeks of work, the interior paint had been sanded and repainted, all carpets and cloth curtains had been removed, the master stateroom bed had been modified, and all systems aboard the boat were working. The around the clock work had kept me busy enough not to think about the inevitable question of owning two boats.

Summer turned to fall, school started, and the reality of 2 boats set in. We were paying over $900 a month in moorage, and the Port was getting ready to raise rates again. We reluctantly put the Carlyle up for sale, and quickly realized that although we had over 200 inquiries, the age of the boat and the remoteness of Newport to any major population centers was making it a very, very hard sell. The market for large 1930’s vessels is very small; the chances of selling a boat the size and age of the Carlyle so far away from Seattle, Portland, or San Francisco was remote. The price fell each week and disappointment came after each showing hearing ‘she’s just too much boat’ or ‘she’s just too old’. Eventually she was sold to a retired merchant mariner who entered the boat, stood in the wheelhouse, grabbed the wheel and gazed out the windows. “I’m home” he said quietly. He paid the now tiny asking price in cash which figured out to be about 1/10th of what we had spent on her. Such is the cost of loving old wooden boats.

To be continued…