How I Escaped from Limbo: the Boat, that is

Pearson 30

Limbo goes for a ride to the boat knacker

Today I escaped from Limbo! Limbo the sailboat, not the other bad place—both seemed equally one step short of hell. My project boat, formerly called Limbo by its previous owner, got hauled away today and good riddance! The saying that the two best days in a boat owner’s life are the day they buy and the day they sell should be amended to the day it goes. I couldn’t be happier or more relieved.

“Who calls a boat Limbo?”  I wondered 5 years ago when this Pearson 30 was available for a $1.00 at the boatyard I managed. I should have realized the trap. The fact that the previous owner had died and left the boat in perpetual storage should have tipped me off. After 7 years the yard had acquired the boat due to the default in storage charges and lack of interest from the owner’s widow.

We had 10 other abandoned boats in this same sorry state and I was charged with clearing them all out to make room for paying customers.  I sold a few at bargain prices, donated some to my alma mater’s boat donation program, and picked the one called Limbo to be mine. It was more like I was the one possessed.

Shortly after acquiring the boat, I got laid off and the boat followed me home. Too stubborn and too angry to give up on it, I thought I could fix it. I had the skills and equipment, but not the money or motivation. Every time I looked at the boat I thought of my old job and how it ended and put off the majority of what needed to get done—yes, I was in Limbo in more ways than one. Couldn’t go forward, couldn’t escape the past.

Then an “Act of God” freed me. This past winter a tree fell and ruined the boat’s mast, making me finally realize that the return on investment, financially or emotionally, just wasn’t there anymore. I vacillated all spring: Should I be my usual stubborn self, buy a new mast and persevere until the boat was in the water before selling? The drop in used boat prices (Pearson 30’s in pristine condition were valued at 15k just a few years ago and now they were selling, if at all, under 10K)  made me realize that investing another 5k into getting the boat functional and floating, but still in less than pristine condition, wasn’t a smart move.

I called the boat donation place, no interest. So I turned to the boat knacker, Continental Marine, who would take away the boat at no cost in exchange for the title and the right to strip it and crush it. They could sell off some hardware, salvage the 3,500 pounds of lead out of the keel, and turn a small profit.

Now I have a cellar full of boat parts to redeem at the local boat consignment shop, a hole in my yard into which I will eventually put the boat of my dreams, and a freed soul that isn’t in Limbo anymore!

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