The Improbable Blog

Buying A Boat, Part 1

I have decided that I’m going to row from Lands End to John O Groats, which is great, however after three days of walking around the house and chuckling to myself like a maniac who may now die at sea, I decided it was time to get serious.

There is no challenge unless I buy a boat.

So I logged on to Ebay, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and Freecycle (ever the optimist) to see what was going on.

I quickly stumbled across this and fell in love:

A 2010 chamberlain designed skiff, with 2 previous owners, 2 sets of oars, a trailer and launching trolley

The bidding had begun and was up to £450, so I added a maximum bid of £550 and was surprised when it was accepted, making me the highest bidder.

The catch was that there were 6 days left on the lot and a cursory glance around the internet showed me that similar boats sold from new at £3000 so it wasn’t likely that this one was coming home with me.

Anyone that has watched my introduction video will see that I currently have a net worth of about £2000 and no job! So I had to be realistic and decide how much this boat (and challenge) is worth to me.

I re-set my maximum bid to £650 and decided that I couldn’t possibly go higher than that, before upping it to £700, making a cup of tea and upping it again to £900… and then rounding it up to £1000 for good measure.

Apparently I have no self control.

All that was left to do was to forget about her for 6 days and see what fate had in store.

Which I did by walking around Oxford and taking photo’s with anything that was rowing related!

Some ‘Oarsome’ wall art :/

Obviously I didn’t forget about the boat at all, instead I narrowed my sleeping hours down to 4 per night and obsessively watched the countdown timer on the Ebay page.

For the next three days, nothing happened.

Then, during an unscheduled trip to the kettle I came back and saw that the bid had jumped from £500 up to £870!! The Bastards!! This was not part of the plan – but I was still in the game and there was nowhere else to go with my bidding, so I rode out the unexpected surge of adrenaline and settled down for the next three long days!

To take my mind off the boat I sent myself out to the garage and built a log store, reorganised the tools, replaced the workbench surface, and installed a face vice:

The bid was due to end at 12.30pm on the 1st December, so I arranged my schedule carefully:

  • 6am: Wake up, check Ebay
  • 7am: Breakfast, while watching Ebay
  • 8am: See how long I can stare at Ebay without blinking
  • 10.30am: blink, then back to Ebay
  • 11.30am: Toilet break, yell tea until someone brings some and settle in for the last hours countdown.
  • 12.30pm: Moment of truth
  • 1pm: Job interview

Yes, I moved a job interview around so that I could be on hand for the final countdown.

The bid was still sitting at £870 but clearly some vulture was getting ready to blow me out of the water at the last minute and, even if it reduced me to tears, I would be there to watch them do it.

A good captain always goes down with his ship and make no mistake, after 6 obsessive days, this boat was mine (at least in my head). Even if I was going to lose her at the 11th hour!

With 10 minutes on the clock, my knee started Jittering and I began to draft a message to everyone in my phone book, telling them that I had a fortune frozen in a bank account in Kenya and that if only they could send me £5000 now, then I would make sure they got a 30% cut of my £185982487098248 fortune…

Then there were 10 seconds to go… Then 5… 4… 3… 2…

Click Here to see what happened

Click Here to go back to ‘The Captain’

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