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In a post on his Cruiser-Network-Online Yahoo Group, Moderator Glenn Tuttle (M/V Tothill) reports that Javier Martin, the top suspect in two recent murders of cruisers in Panama, was arrested in a small town named Santa Fe which is along the Inter-American highway in the Darien section of Panama.  He was most likely headed to Colombia.  Reports state that Martin had been staying in a hostel there, registered under the alias of “A. North”, assuming the identity of Don North, whose middle name is Arthur.  When arrested, he was in possession of a shotgun and two handguns, a large sum of cash (over $13,000), and Don’s credit card.

 

donnorth_panama-guide

Missing Cruiser Don North

According to recent posts by Don Winner on his Panama-Guide.com site, the first known victim of this supposed mass murdered, Jean-Pierre Bouahard’s body has now been found.

 

“Jean-Pierre’s Body Floats To The Surface: The first word I received of this situation came on Saturday, 5 February 2011, when I was in Playa Blanca to cover a meeting between property owners in the area and the Minister of Tourism Salomon Shamah. During the meeting I received a phone call and email from a friend in the area of Portobelo who told me the body of a Frenchman named Jean Pierre Bouahard had been discovered in the ocean by a group of scuba divers. I mentioned the discovery of Bouahard’s body in my interview with Minister Shamah, precisely because he was a tour operator and he used his sailboat to take backpackers from Panama to Colombia, and I thought the Minister might be aware because of the tourism connection. It turns out that he had no clue about the discovery, and he called this people in Portobelo and chewed them out on the phone in front of me. Then we moved on to other things in the interview.”

The search of the Bouahard’s catamaran, Levante revealed traces of blood inside the boat along with documents including Don North’s passport. The authorities now plan to conduct a crime scene search of Don’s sailing vessel, Windancer.  Says Tuttle, “As of now, Don’s body has yet to be located, and it’s undoubtedly in the San Blas, the island paradise he loved.  And what about his little Schipperke dog, Kuna?  Did the low life scumbag Javier kill the poor dog as well?  Maybe he gave the dog to one of the Kuna Indians, so all cruisers need to ask about the dog.  She is all black and about 20 pounds.  Also, Don had a turtle as a pet which lived aboard his boat.  Perhaps the turtle is still on board, so please somebody ask about the turtle.

don-norths-windancer_panama-guide

S/V Windancer has been located, but North is still missing

All those who helped in this investigation should be commended.  Those who didn’t help, or worse yet, put out false rumors and misinformation, shame on them.  I can only hope the Panamanian authorities get to the bottom of this horrible matter, and all those harboring knowledge of the crimes get prosecuted.  And if anyone out in the San Blas receives any type of threat, or hint of reprisal for their cooperation in this investigation, please contact me or the Panamanian authorities immediately.  The San Blas needs to be rid of any scoundrel who would interfere with the investigation or intimidate other cruisers.”

 

Read my previous post for more info.
All facts and photos here are courtesy of Don Winner and the Panama Guide.

 

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The Cruisers-Network-Online, a Yahoo Group, have been buzzing with posts this month about the mysterious disappearance of an American cruiser Don North of the sailing vessel Windancer. Don and his dog were thought to be enroute to Ustupu from Chichime in the Kuna Yala of Panama’s San Blas Islands.

In his February 9th post, Eddie Tuttle, M/V Tohill, the moderator of the Cruisers-Network wrote;

sanblasislands_nbirnbaum

Photo: San Blas Island. By N.Birnbaum

“Don and his boat, a 38 foot Morgan aft cockpit with a white hull, blue canvas covers, solar panels, and a wind generator. Don had several dinghies on deck and a female Schipperke dog named “Kuna”. Don is single-handed and had recently suffered a back injury. He also is taking medication for diabetes.”

Clues have been scarce and the Cruisers-Network has implored people cruising the area of the San Blas, Portobello, Panama to Cartagena, Columbia to be on the look-out for Don, his boat and for a man named Javier Martin. Javier Martin is wanted as a person of interest in a homicide investigation ongoing in Panama involving missing cruiser Don North, and the homicide of a French cruiser named Jean Pierre.

According to recent reports, Javier Martin is from Valencia, Spain, and described at a Latin male, approximately 5′ 7″-8″, thin build, with dark hair and eyes.  His age is unknown at this time, but he appears to be in his 30s or 40s and very fit.  For years he owned a charter sailboat named “Twlya” in which he used to take backpackers between Panama and Cartagena, Colombia, and spent a lot of time in the San Blas Islands.

Fortunately, Reporter Don Winner, editor of the Panama Guide.com is now on the case. You may recall from previous posts here, that Mr. Winner was a key investigator, (though unofficial) in solving the mysterious disappearance of resident ex-pats in the Bocas del Toro area of Panama last year. True to his name, Mr. Winner managed to put all the pieces of the puzzle together before the authorities and helped to solve the case which led to the arrests of William “Wild Bill” Holbert and his wife for the murders of an American couple among others living in this idyllic cruiser’s haven.

Yesterday, February 11, 2011, The Cruisers-Network-Online had this broadcast:

“IF ANYONE HAS ANY INFORMATION RELATIVE TO THE WHEREABOUTS OF JAVIER MARTIN, CONTACT THE FBI IN PANAMA CITY AT TELEPHONE NUMBER 507-207-7000. DO NOT TAKE ANY ACTION YOURSELF AS THIS PERSON OF INTEREST COULD BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.”

javiermartin

Be on the lookout for suspect Javier Martin

After numerous calls for help from cruisers, sailors and boaters in the San Blas Islands area, information is finally beginning to flow and Don Winner is starting to put those puzzle pieces together again.

Winner wrote on his Panama-Guide.com, “OK, this story is evolving pretty quickly. Apparently, the Frenchman who was found murdered last weekend, Janpiere Bouahard, and the Spaniard Javier Martin, were involved in some kind of a feud or dispute. Apparently the Panamanian law enforcement authorities arrested Javier Martin and interrogated him as a possible suspect in the murder of Bouahard, but then released him for lack of evidence. Now apparently Bouahard’s 50′ aluminum hulled catamaran called the “Levante” is missing – it’s not anchored near Portobelo or near the Green Turtle. What’s more, Javier Martin reportedly also crashed his boat the “Twyla” near Chichime, effectively putting an end to this business of taking backpackers between Panama and Colombia. So, we have a guy named Javier Martin who was in some kind of a fight or feud with the Frenchman Janpiere Bouahard, who has been murdered. We have a guy named “Martin” who was reportedly taken on as crew by the American Don North – and now both Don North and his sailboat the “Windancer” are missing. Javier Martin is questioned by the authorities and release, and immediately thereafter Janpiere Bouahard’s big boat the “Levante” is missing. This catamaran is a relatively large boat and Javier Martin is an experienced and capable sailor – so he could be anywhere. Literally. My gut tells me if you find Javier Martin and the “Levante” – that he will be able to tell you what happened to Don North and the “Windancer.” Supposedly the “Twyla” is still crashed on a reef near Chichime, and another boat called the “Green Twilight” – supposedly owned by Javier Martin – was towed into port by the Panamanian authorities. So – be on the lookout for Javier Martin and the “Levante” – photos follow below… (more)

Hacerse a la Mar, S.A. Javier Bermejo Martin is the owner of a Panamanian company called “Hacerse A La Mar, S.A., which was registered in the Public Registry on 17 March 2010. The name of this company appears on his Hacerse A La Mar website. The President is listed as “Javier Bermejo Martin” with the Treasurer as “Salvador Frasquet Mascarell” and Secretary as “Javier Bermejo Martin.” Also listed on the company as Directors are Javier Bermejo Martin, Gabriela Ailin Anderson Aguilar, and Salvador Frasquet Mascarell. For what it’s worth…”

Anyone who has any information regarding Javier Martin should contact the FBI in Panama City, Panama at telephone number 507-207-5000.  Also you may contact Investigative Reporter Don Winner, editor of The Panama Guide.Com online newspaper at telephone number 507-6614-0451 or US number 845-514-9893.

Tuttle implores cruisers to please “spread this information to ALL YOUR CRUISER FRIENDS via SSB radio and VHF radio nets throughout the world.  Javier Martin could be anywhere now. Do not approach Javier Martin yourself, but contact any police authority and let them know of the above information.  Javier Martin should be considered armed and extremely dangerous.”

Special Thanks to Glenn & Eddie Tuttle, M/V Tothill and to Don Winner, Editor of The Panama Guide.com.

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Escape the winter blahs and join the fun and excitement of participating with an all-woman crew
in beautiful St. Thomas, USVI, March 2011

SPS logoSausalito, California – October 7, 2010 – Safe Passage Sailing, LLC invites you to “sail with the best” in a world class regatta with world class skipper and mentor Suzette Smith, leading an all women’s crew. This will be an experience not to be missed!

Whether it’s the adventure of cruising or the excitement of racing, there’s no place like being on a Safe Passage Sailing Charter. If you’re an intermediate to advanced female sailor, now you have the opportunity to join in on all the fun of the 38th International Rolex Regatta. The only requirement – Just The Desire To Be Part of the Team, Race and Have Fun!

The St. Thomas Yacht Club and title sponsor Rolex are the hosts for this regatta known as the “Crown Jewel” of Caribbean racing that boasts “reliable breezes, warm azure waters and world-renowned Island hospitality.”

SPS Program includes:
• Exclusive charter of a Swan 51’ – Northern Child
• 2 race training days, lay day, 3 race days
• Racing pro (Suzette Smith), licensed skipper, 1st mate and additional racing support crew (see below)
• All race registration/entry fees
• All berthing fees, fuel, on/off shore maintenance support
• Race equipment including spinnakers
• Breakfast at the St. Thomas YC on race days
• Lunch, snacks and beverages each day on the boat
• SPS stow bag with shirts, hats, and other gifts for each guest
• Event management
• Event and crew photographs
• Transportation will be provided/arranged from/to airport, marina to YC parties

Program Cost: $3275 per person
Participants: 11 maximum
Register now to ensure your spot. Accommodations and airfare not included. Group hotel accommodations and transportation options TBA.

 

SPS suzette smith

 

Racing Pro Suzette Smith International Racing and Cruising Specialist will be onboard Northern Child in the role as coach/mentor. Suzette Smith is a seasoned licensed charter captain with a USCG Masters 100 ton and ASA certified instructor on boats 38’-70’+. In 2006 she was named ASA’s “Outstanding National Instructor of the Year.”

Ms Smith has participated in numerous high caliber sailing campaigns such as Team Pegasus, the first and only all-woman America’s Cup team, America 3, which raced in the 1995 America‘s Cup defenders series, as well as other notable regattas around the world.

Additional Crew:
RYA licensed Skipper/Owner Christian Reynolds and First Mate Lucy Jones will be onboard to assist and facilitate during the regatta.

the Island of St Thomas
SPS Rolex Regatta Itinerary
Arrive – Monday, March 21
SPS welcome reception at the St. Thomas Yacht Club to meet your mentor and crew, and enjoy beer, wine and Hors d’oeuvres.
Tuesday – March 22
Training day 1
Wednesday – March 23
Training day 2
Thursday – March 24
Lay day, Rolex welcome reception at the Yacht Club
Friday – March 25
Race day 1 – Harbor Race. The morning course offers a downwind start and stretches to Charlotte Amalie Harbor, giving racers an opportunity to see St. Thomas’ beautiful and historic capital. The afternoon race starts in town and finishes back at the yacht club and festivities.
Saturday – March 26
Race day 2 – St. John Race. Round-the-rocks racing takes you along the south shore of beautiful St. John finishes back at the yacht club and festivities.
Sunday – March 27
Race day 3 – Pillsbury Sound Race. The final day’s racing takes place on scenic Pillsbury Sound, in and around the beautiful Cays.
The Rolex Awards Ceremony takes place on the beach Sunday evening highlighted by the presentation of an abundance of prizes and video by t2p.tv.

 

S/Y Northern Child

The S/Y Norther Child

 

About Northern Child
Northern Child was built in 1984 for an Italian owner, who has since become the owner of Nautor Swan. She is one of naval architect German Frers’ outstanding all-round designs and shares the same performance pedigree of Blizzard, a famous 51’ Admiral’s Cup racer, except that Northern Child was also fitted with a lavish cruising interior and the hull sections were enlarged to accommodate the increase in displacement. Fast and easy to sail, Northern Child is a fine balance between a racing and cruising yacht.

Racing Resume
Northern Child recently recorded her fastest transatlantic crossing during ARC 2009 and was placed 5th in class
• Placed 12th out of 50 in JP Morgan Round the Island Race 2010
• Top Swan Yacht in the BVI Spring Regatta 2008
• 3rd in class & highest placed Swan Yacht in ASW 2009
• 1st in class and second overall on the ARC 2008
• Swan Transatlantic Challenge Trophy

SPS All Women Banner AdFor more information regarding SPS “Sailing with the Best” events, or to register for this event, please visit our website at www.safepassagesailing.com. Please feel free to call or e-mail SPS for more information:
Randee Fowler
Safe Passage Sailing
415/381-4773 direct
415/637-4051 mobile
rfowler@safepassagesailing.com

You can download our Press Release HERE!
Rolex LogoSt Thomas Yacht Club logoSt Thomas Rolex Regatta

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Today I learned about the apparent mass murder case developing in the well-known cruising grounds of Bocas del Toro, Panama in a post to the Cruisers Network Online Forum on Yahoo. Forum Moderator Glenn Tuttle, issued an “alert” for the main suspect and his wife, William Adolfo Cortez Reese
aka “Wild Bill” who may be on their sailboat in the Chiriqui Gulf.

William Adolfo Cortez Reese aka "Wild Bill."

William Adolfo Cortez Reese aka "Wild Bill."

According to KTVI-FOX2Now.com (St. Louis, MO), Cher Hughes body was discovered on Tuesday in a shallow grave in Panama. Authorities believe she was murdered. Don Winner, a freelance journalist for the website Panama-Guide.com has been working with law enforcement on Cher’s case. He says Cher Hughes was last seen with William Adolfo Cortez Reese aka “Wild Bill.” She was at a party at his Panama home. Winner says police found Cher’s body on Reese’s property. Law officers say Reese and his wife, Jane Cortez, are now the prime suspects in her murder. The skeletal remains of another body were found with Cher. Winner tells FOX 2 News that police are calling Reese and his wife suspects in at least three murders and possibly many more. The case is all over the headlines in Panama and Winner says police think “Wild Bill” may be a serial killer. “That is absolutely the concern. Right now the number one priority is to capture this guy, catch him, find out where he is and get him in handcuffs, him and his wife.” said journalist Don Winner. Winner tells us police suspect Reese and his wife are killing people to steal their property. Cher Hughes owned a hotel. Reese was talking to her about buying it the night she disappeared. Reese and his wife are now on the run. FOX 2 News has learned that investigators found documents at Reese’s home that make them suspect he may be involved with other murders. Cher’s husband is in Panama working with authorities.

www.tvn-2_bill_jane_cortez-reece

Suspects William Cortez Reece and Jane Cortez /www.tvn-2.com

The couple fled from Bocas del Toro and they are now fugitives from justice, as confirmed by the Assistant to the Attorney General, Neftali
Jaén. Cortez is a man who introduced himself as a businessman on the resort island, who bought property and had immigration movements from Mexico,
Belize and Costa Rica, where presumably there are also people missing. At the hostel authorities found passports and documentation from more than a
dozen people. It was learned that Cortez would start an apparent business transaction in order to supposedly buy the properties, and then later the
owners disappeared. Cortez was last seen heading towards Cerro Punta in Chiriqui, and it was also mentioned that he might have escaped on Reeces’
sailboat. Donald Winner said this could develop into a case of a “serial killer.” (La Critica)

Link to Story and Video from KTIV

Everyone should be on alert in case you come across these two and should notify the FBI in Panama City (507-207-7000) if they know their whereabouts.

WildBills_jollyrogerposter

Ad posted by Wild Bill - Truth in Advertising?

An ad published in the August 2009 Bocas Breeze presented the Jolly Roger Social Club as the only expat membership club in Bocas with the slogan:  ”Only 90% of our members survive.”  It advertises plenty of dock space, mooring balls, 24-hour security, hotel rooms, a swim platform, horseback riding and poker nights, and states the location as Cauchero at Cutthroat Cove.

Updates:

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com – On 16 May 2003, Michael Watson Brown and his wife Manchittha Nankratoke “Nan” Brown started a company called “Latitude 9.10 Inc.” At about the same time, in April 2003, the Browns purchased a parcel of land measuring more than 18 hectares – about 45 acres – located along the coast on the mainland in the area known as Cauchero in the province of Bocas del Toro from Maria Irene Lezcano de Castillo. They purchased this large parcel of coastal property using their company “Latitude 9.10 Inc.” On 18 April 2005, Panama’s Ministry of Agricultural Development issued resolution number DAL-030-ADM-2005 in favor of Michael Watson Brown and his wife Manchittha Nankratoke de Brown which certified them as agricultural producers. This documents indicates the Brown family intended to grow pineapple, papaya, mango, oranges, avocado, plantain, and passion fruit on their land. These people have been missing for about three years. Today I received the following email;

  • “Hi I am the daughter of Mike Brown. Daddy was living in Panama with my brother Watson Brown and my stepmother Nam. They too went missing with him 3 years ago. I have not been able to contact the Panama police. Do you have any more information on what happened or are you able to give me some information on how to contact the Panama police department?? Thank you in advance.”

Guess Who Took Over The Property: On 2 May 2008 documents were filed in the Panamanian Public Registry making William “Wild Bill” Adolfo Cortez the new Director, President, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Panamanian corporation “Latitude 9.10 Inc.” His wife Jean Seana Cortez was named as a Director of the company. This is the property where the bodies of Cher Hughes and Bo Icelar were discovered on Tuesday, 20 July 2010. And thus far no one has been able to find the Brown family. At this point, knowing what we know now, it can only be presumed that this murderous psychopthic serial killer did away with the entire family in order to take over their property. (more)    Click Here To Read The Full Article

As of Sunday:

At this moment, Panamanian Special Operations officers are executing a search / arrest warrant in the are Bocas del Toro. Intelligence information indicates “Wild Bill” and Jane Cortez remain in the area, and hopefully they will be in custody by the end of the day. More information as it becomes available. http://panama-guide.com/

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40-ton mammal lands on yacht

From MSNBC

whale_hits_sailboat

A young Southern Right Whale is seen jumping out of the water between Robben Island and Blouberg, off Cape Town, South Africa, on Sunday. The whale then landed on a yacht belonging to Ralph Mothes and Paloma Werner, breaking the steel mast. The whale swam away and the couple was not injured.

A South African couple was out sailing near the country’s infamous Robben Island when a 40-ton whale breached and crash-landed on their yacht.

“We were watching the whale flipping its tail for about half an hour,” said Cape Town Sailing Academy Administrator Paloma Werner, who was enjoying a Sunday sail with her boyfriend and sailing instructor, Ralph Mothes.

“It reached about 100 to 200 meters from us, then it disappeared under water and reappeared about 10 to 20 meters from the boat, but we didn’t think we were on a collision course,” she told msnbc.com.

The young Southern Right Whale was longer than their 10-meter yacht — most likely between 11 and 14 meters — Werner said.

“My boyfriend told me to go to the other side of the boat,” she said, explaining that they thought it would dive under their vessel.

“All I heard him say was ‘Oh sh*&,’ and I saw the whale come out of the water and crash against the mast of the boat.

Tail of right whale

"We were watching the whale flipping its tail for about half an hour," said Cape Town Sailing Academy Administrator Paloma Werner, who was enjoying a Sunday sail with her boyfriend and sailing instructor, Ralph Mothes, before the

“I ducked behind the coach house and my boyfriend ducked behind the steering wheel and we saw the mast crashing toward us and the whale slip back into the water,” she said.

“Bits of black whale blubber and barnacles,” were strewn on the boat deck, but the couple did not see any blood in the water.

“The whale might have gotten a scratch and a bump on its head, but it surfaced again, so we don’t think it was harmed,” she said.

Intrepid loses their mast when whale hits

The whale destroyed the yacht's mast and damaged other parts of the boat as it thrashed about on the deck before going back into the water. The couple reported that the whale left some skin and blubber behind.

Adrenalin propelled Werner and Mothes through the next few minutes of checking the structure the boat for damage and leaks. Fortunately, the steel vessel did not take on any water and they were able to navigate it back into Table Bay Harbor.

“Only that evening did we really think about it, and when we saw the photo (taken by a tourist in a nearby boat) in yesterday’s paper did we realize we were lucky to be alive,” Werner said.

“If it would have crashed into the cockpit it would have sunk the boat.”

Intrepid at the dock after incident

The boat, with its collapsed mast, is seen docked in Table Bay Harbor.

Photos Courtesy of Paloma Werner and MSNBC.

Be careful out there! Try to stay at least 2 boat-lengths away from whales or they might figure out what this whale learned – sailboats’ masts make good scratching posts!

From: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38339576/ns/world_news-africa/

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My best friend Bob decided he was ready to become a boat owner and go cruising. NOW! Upon hearing this news, I was simultaneously elated and afraid…very afraid. Bob isn’t the best candidate for boat ownership. He will be the first to tell you that he is not mechanical. In fact, the term “handy” doesn’t even come close. To be totally honest, Bob is a Luddite.

Anyone who has ever owned a sailboat, or has cruised their sailboat knows that you have to know something about just about everything in order to have a safe and enjoyable voyage. It’s just possible that Bob will prove us all wrong.

Since he’s crewed all over the planet, I knew that Bob had decent sailing skills, but a cruiser needs to have more than just sailing skills. A cruiser needs to be able to trouble-shoot engine problems like smoke appearing in the salon or overheating. A cruiser must be able to manage energy usage and batteries, and even alternative energy production via the wind generator or solar panels. Cruisers have to make sure that every single system from sails and rigging to heads flushing are working in peak form or suffer the consequences. Would Bob be able to learn all these systems in time? Would he want to?

It was a question that would have to take a back seat because Bob called late one night from Northern California to tell me that he had found “The” boat in San Diego and was thinking about buying it and leaving along with the Baja Ha Ha Cruisers Rally like the next day!

“Whoa!” I told him. “You haven’t even seen this boat!”

“But it’s an Ericsson and it’s only $3000!” said Bob.

The ugly truth is that Bob wanted to find a boat for under $5000 and it had to be “ready to go!” Bob really believed that he could find this boat. He told me that he had done his homework. He had looked in old issues of Latitude 38 Magazine and had been checking CraigsList and saw that boats were being listed at one third the price that they had been selling for just three years ago. The time was right for Bob to find his first boat.

I admit, I was skeptical at first. I started looking on the “other coast”, on CraigsList, and anywhere small older boats were listed. He asked me to look at one right next door to where we had first had our little boat, in Fort Lauderdale’s Sailboat Bend. The owner had advertised the Catalina 27 “in great shape!” (Yeah, if you’re a 14 year-old boy with no parental supervision!). I took my husband along, a working Captain and my very own “Mr. FixIt.” Jann was the sole reason we were able to cruise for five years on a 40 yr old sailboat.

Once onboard, I could barely stand being below deck. Even with the portable air conditioner going full time, it was so musty that I ended up with a asthma attack and I don’t have asthma. It wasn’t even close to “ready to go” cruising.

Meanwhile, Bob- out on Left Coast -was so convinced that he could find his boat that he was signing up crew! It was time to have a serious talk. Just for good measure, I put Jann on the phone. Jann expressed his concern for Bob and explained how much trouble he could get into sailing down the Baja coast. We had done the same trip twice. Once with the Ha Ha, as crew and once in our boat. Bob just wasn’t ready and it was too risky a trip to take in a boat that you had just bought. Jann explained how much safer it would be to sail Biscayne Bay, The Keys and then, once he was feeling confident, perhaps the jump the Gulf Stream and cruise the Bahamas. (In hind sight, it was the right move as a boat was actually sunk by whales this past week as the Ha Ha fleet headed south in Mexican waters).

That did the trick. Bob thanked us for our concern and agreed. He would get together a list of boats to see and fly to Florida. His crew flew across the country too, still hoping that he would find the perfect little boat.

The Search: Miami’s Underworld

What transpired next was surely a life lesson as well as my mantra: “If you put it out there into the Universe, you will indeed get it!”

We looked at more Catalina’s, a couple of Morgan’s and entertained a Dufour up in Fort Pierce. Almost all of them were over Bob’s $5000 budget, but none were “ready to go.” A friend of a friend had a “great little Morgan 28.9 with new interior.” We drove down to look. He was helping buddies bring in rented Hobies on the south side of Rickenbacker from newbies that couldn’t yet figure out how to sail them into the wind. The seller (as I will kindly refer to him) offered to take us out to where it was anchored in Marine Stadium.

sail_w_CaptRon

Sailing w/Capt Ron in Biscayne Bay

“How?” I asked.

“No problem! We could swim out to that sailboat anchored out there,” he said, pointing to a little boat about 500 yards offshore, “and sail over to it.”

“Well, I don’t really want to get wet,” I replied.

“No worries, I’ll paddle you out. I can tow you in my dinghy,” he said.

And so he did. He put his fiberglass dinghy in the water. We all climbed in while he attached a line to his surfboard. Then he climbed on and paddled us out to his sailboat. The little boat wasn’t in very good shape but he put up the mainsail, started the outboard and off we sailed, under the causeway and over to his other boat in Marine Stadium.

It was a nice little sail but the boat wasn’t worth all the effort. It needed too much work and for some reason, the guy selling it thought that it was actually worth the $7000 price tag! Good luck with that. The Seller motored us over to the fuel dock and we walked back to the car.

We looked at a ’72 Catalina 27. It was anchored out just off the Miami Yacht Club and was a liveaboard boat though it had sails. “Currently used as a efficiency (sic) on the water but likes to go sailing,” the CraigsList ad read. “Needs a little TLC.” Bob liked it but Jann didn’t. Returning to the dock in a neighbor’s dinghy, he told Bob that it was a definite “No!”

“The mast is bent,” said Jann.

Finding ‘Plan B’

Finally, we all drove back north to see the little 1969 Morgan 27. It wasn’t anything like the newer (1977) models. It was pre-Out island, spacious and in much better condition that all the others for sale. This owner had taken very good care of her and had recently repowered the boat and bought new sails to make her sail (and sale) ready. This boat was indeed “ready to go.”

There was only one problem. The price tag: $8000.

Ouch! “I gotta spend what?”

planB_bowview

PlanB_bow

It was “Come to Jesus” time for dear Bob. He new that the seller had to meet him half way between what he could spend ($7000) and what the seller wanted ($8000). After monopolizing this sweet man’s time for two days, Bob was ready to make a decision. And it was a BIG decision! It would turn out to be the most money Bob had every spent in one day or one month, the truth be told. Bob is officially the most miserly man on the planet. You would think that by age 46, he would have improved, but some things never change. But not only did Bob buy the best little boat in a bad economy, but Bob also got everything he would need to set off on his cruise in record time. He just had to provision, buy some diesel and go! Amazing!

planB_qtrview

Plan B The Boat

For $7400, Bob got a really great old boat with a new engine, new sails, all the cruising gear, including a wind generator, charcoal grill, tons of tools, spares, even a GPS! Adding a fiberglass dinghy and oars that he bought from a good friend of mine for $250 and a BoatU.S. towing insurance package ($150), an inflatable kayak (hey, everyone needs a boat toy!) ($100) and provisions ($150), Bob and crew sailed away for under $10 Grand.

MYboat!

MyBoat!

Now they are headed south, for the Keys, the Bahamas and possibly as far as the DR!

For all of you out there who think that sailing and cruising are a rich man’s sport – well, there’s hope!

And to all of you who are trying to sell your boats, Get Real! Take a look at what others are selling in the same price range and be willing to negotiate. And get your boat ready to sell. Don’t show it in poor condition unless you’re ready to hold onto it for some time.

Finally, please post photos because no one will bother calling (Please, please don’t forget your phone number), unless you post photos!

I hope that my next boat buying experience goes as smoothly as his. The time is almost here.

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