Wednesday, May 11, 2016


We are under way in Tampa Bay (perhaps you've detected a theme here) to Palmetto, on the Manatee River, where we will be hauled out tomorrow at Snead Island Boatworks for our stabilizer repairs. We dropped lines this morning from the yacht basin to leave on the ebb, and are basically retracing our steps back through the bay.

Vector in the Vinoy yacht basin.

We've had a lovely four-night stay in St. Pete. We connected with Ben and Karen another couple of times (and will see them again tomorrow as well), wandered the waterfront, and had several nice meals ashore. Most of the time spent aboard was given to answering bus questions on the eBay listing, and planning logistics for the upcoming sale.

At the indiee market street festival at Green Bench Brewing with Karen and Ben.

Speaking of the bus listing, we now have three bids from two bidders, with just over two days left on the listing. The listing has had nearly 19,000 page views and has over 320 watchers. I suspect most of those are just interested in following along and not actually interested in bidding, but really all we need is one or two more to get the party going.

With at least two bidders already, we're fairly confident the sale will close. Since eBay's terms require that to happen basically within one week of deposit (they have 48 hours to make the deposit), we've been scrambling to make arrangements for the boat and the cat, as well as to get ourselves up to Lottsburg to close the deal.

At this writing it looks like we will return to downtown St. Pete after we're done in Palmetto, so we can tie Vector up to a secure dock with access to power. Unlike Odyssey, there is no autostart system on Vector's generator; it's easy to add, but not a great idea since certain kinds of failures can actually sink the boat. Consequently, leaving the boat for more than two or three days means we either need a shore power connection, or we need to empty the fridge and turn it off. That's probably cheaper than a dock for a week, but the hassle factor is enormous.

Sunset over St. Pete from our deck.

St. Pete has a decent weekly rate, just $7 per foot plus power, and secured docks, so it's really the easiest option. I've already booked a car for the week, with unlimited mileage and no state restrictions, which will let both of us get to and from the bus, along with tools and cleaning gear, in the most cost-effective way. It also gives us a way to get the rest of our personal property off the bus while we figure out what to do with it.

That just leaves the cat, who will, sadly, have to be kenneled for the duration. We're working hard to keep the entire round trip down to less than a week, so it won't be too hard on her. We don't want to over-run our weekly rate on dockage or the rental car, either.

For the moment, our attention has returned to the boat and its systems. Tonight we should be anchored in the Manatee river near the boat yard, and tomorrow Stabilized Marine will arrive from Fort Lauderdale to take care of us. It will cost a bit more than the local yards but we have more confidence in their abilities. I don't want to speculate on a relaunch day until we get hauled out and see how everything looks.


  1. I'm curious what sinking situation would be caused by an automatic generator start. My guess is a cascade of problems caused by a raw water impeller failure, but I'm curious what it actually is.

    1. The generator actively pumps seawater into the boat to cool the engine as well as the exhaust. Normally this water exits the boat through the exhaust port mixed with exhaust gases.

      Much of this plumbing happens inside flexible hoses which are subject to failure. In particular, hot exhaust gases can cause failures in the hose portion of the exhaust route. Now you have a powerful pump pumping water into the boat at the rate of a dozen GPM or more; in a week-long absence that can add up to a boat-sinking amount of water.

      Not very likely, but why take the chance? We shut the air conditioners down when we leave the boat for the same reason -- they, too, pump tons of water per hour through the boat.

  2. Do you have a reserve on the bus? $50k seems very low.


    1. No reserve. Yes, $50k is low, and I hope it gets bid up well beyond that, but I have to acknowledge that it is only worth what someone is willing to pay.

      I think it's a ~$175-$180k coach if absolutely everything is fixed, including paint and woodwork. I figure that's going to cost upwards of $30k. I'm not willing to plunk $30k into it and then sit around for a year trying to sell it for, say, $150. I'd rather make someone a smoking deal and then let it become their problem.

    2. Not 'problem'.. 'opportunity to do it their way' :)

      Sending the bus lots of hopes for finding the right next owner (and hoping its one of our fans who wants to caravan with us so we can use the hot tub again.)

    3. My dad has a coach he had converted from a 1968 Gilig in 1997. It's not as high tech as Sean's coach, but nearly so and the hickory casework and craftsmanship are top notch. But coaches are nearly as expensive as boats to keep up and maintain and his needs some work -- new tires (10), a new headliner (the one flaw in his conversion was some sealant bleedthrough which shows in the headliner) and the air conditioning system never worked well and needs re-engineering.

      Other than that, it's in excellent condition but selling an item like this takes a lot of hard willingness to understand the difference between an ideal, needs-no-work value and what it would actually cost to put it back to "perfect" and whatever discount someone will expect for the risk value of buying something that needs work.

      I think Sean's logic is spot on -- the right person will see the idealized value but you're better off selling it discounted relative to its condition and accepting some dollar loss as part of the price of getting rid of it.

    4. I secretly hope it doesn't sell and that you guys find your way back to it so that I can see you on the road and swap stories of two stroke engines again.

      I know that won't happen, but I'm still hoping anyway.

      If I didn't already have my unique(ly problematic) coach, I would buy yours in a heartbeat.

    5. Malcolm, I'm beginning to think you've jinxed it...

      We'll need to meet up someplace where campgrounds and anchorages intersect...

  3. Did she sell?
    Christi and I have a crazy thought about seeking a loan on Monday from our CU. Waiting for the stars to line up. Need the specs plz if she has not sold

    1. Michael, the bus is still available. Listed, yet again, on eBay. Specs are more or less in the listing; drop me a note if there is something specific you need to know.


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