Five years ago Ashley and I pulled out a dry erase board that had been behind a door in my office and decided that we would start writing on it. Both of my parents preached about setting goals and I recall my father always having these inspirational posters around the house. One in particular that I remember had a picture of a freshly released arrow flying towards a bullseye. The poster read “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it”. So it was time for Ashley and I to take aim. We listed several goals, I don’t recall them all but one I do remember was the acquisition of at least a 32 foot sailboat.
I had always browsed around but never really felt it was time to pounce until the recent recession. Why not spend a few grand during a recession? Probably not a great financial decision but I was still looking none the less. Each night I would scan various websites in search of a deal. Maybe someone’s lost dream or maybe a boat that had already fulfilled someone’s dream and it was ready to take on ours. Sites like Sailboat Listings, craigslist, Ebay, Boat Trader and every other site I could find. Most used boat sale sites have detailed search criteria so I narrowed my criteria down by price and size of boat. Anything less then $10,000 and anything between 30 and 40 feet. After many nights of searching She finally appeared. Yachtworld.com had pointed us to her.
It all seemed to be coming together. She was in Merritt Island, Florida, a thin sliver of land running parallel to Coco Beach between the Indian and Banana Rivers. Fortunately it worked out that 3 weeks after finding her we were headed down to south Florida to work a freediving course. We made time to cruise by the Space Coast to do the first site inspection. After finding that Her broker was in Jamaica for a week we decided to check Her out without his assistance. We checked all the usuals. Is the deck solid? Is the bilge clean? Does the electrical equipment operate? Check, check and check. The boat was loaded down with equipment for doing what Ashley and I wanted and everything on it worked. We wanted to know more. What is the story of this boat? We began looking through paper work and found a phone number for the owner. Hmmm, the broker is going to be pissed if we call the owner, but then again, if we are going to buy the boat we are going to have know more about it. We decided the broker would only be able to tell us a fraction of what the owner who sailed her could.
So we called Maria Ciechanski. Actually we went over to her house where we spent about an hour and a half talking about sailing and the boat. Maria Chiechanski is a Polish immigrant and former orchestra conductor in her late sixties. She conducted under her maiden name of Maria Tunicka. Her and her husband Alexander, a former cellist for the St Louis symphony, had owned Polonez since 1995 and had to part with her due to Alexander’s deteriorating health. According to Maria if it wasn’t for taking care of him, she “would be out cruising now”. Maria was the captain of Polonez and would single hand her over to the Bahamas, a 70 mile ocean passage. Alexander would fly over and meet her after his performances. Maria is a kind lady and it made us that much more comfortable with the prospect of possibly taking over ownership. We left Merritt Island for South Florida excited about what we had seen.
To be continued…..