Why I don’t want a “new” boat

Until recently, most, if not all, of my posts have been of a cheery, happy nature. And if not cheery or happy, at least tongue-in-cheek and sarcastic. Writing about misfortune is more fun when dealing with fictional people, not so much my own life. But I must keep updating this blog with what’s going on with my home. I’ll keep everyone who reads this blog updated with mini snippets, tales of my struggles while trudging through the mire that is the insurance industry. I’ll keep it to a minimum, and I’ll keep it simple. I’m not going to allow this blog to become a place of misery. Writing makes me feel fulfilled. This blog is one of my sanctuaries. I don’t want a man in a Norstar 30, who rammed my home, to disturb that. He’s disturbed enough already.

In that vain, here’s what’s happening now: My attorney is involved in this matter. It’s been over one week since the ramming, and I’m still quite in the dark, which displeases me. Rest assured, I’m not backing down. I’m not rolling over. I will do whatever I need to to be compensated for the loss. In the Pacific Northwest, the sun doesn’t always shine so warmly, the wind doesn’t blow so pleasantly as it is doing now. I’m missing out on the main reason I live on a boat, I’m missing out on my limited summer. And oh yes, that tees me off. As I wrote in my previous post, I’m well aware that worse things could’ve happened, but the fact remains I’m dealing with a problem, and I’m tired of it. I’m excited to have an attorney involved.

Update over.

Now, let’s get to a post.

The schools of thought

As mentioned in my earlier post, there are a few possible scenarios to how this plays out. My boat will either be repaired or totaled. I’m still not sure what will happen, I’m preparing for either option.

In preparing for the possibility that Libby will be totaled, one option is to find a new boat. A number of boys have encouraged this, and treated it with excitement.

Why I don’t want another boat (right now)

  1. A new boat wouldn’t be “new.” I’m not going to trade Libby for a 2012 Oyster. I’d need to find a used boat in my price range that I found suitable to live aboard, but most likely it would have used boat problems that would need fixing. As I’ve written about many times before, Libby’s shortcomings are of the regular maintenance variety. Bottom painting, neglected teak, that kind of stuff. Nothing major!
  2. My boat is my home, and not all boats are suitable to the task. There is an emotional component to finding a home, and Libby fulfilled it. During the 2011 boat searching and buying process, I looked at boats that were more beautiful, but they didn’t pull at my heart, I only felt at home in the 30’ Islander. Most people live on land; they have certain requirements of their home. An example would be: three bedrooms, two baths, a den/office space, perhaps a view, an island in the kitchen. In your search to find your home, you’d only look at houses, condos, whatever, that met those requirements, but how many would feel like home to you? It’s the same with a boat.
  3. Cost. Funnily (not in that ha-ha way) I just received updated registration for my boat, because as of this July, I finished paying it off. Libby is owned by me, not my bank. Looking for a new boat incurs lots of costs (even if it’s covered by BoatUS): traveling to the boat, having the boat surveyed, hauled-out, purchase price, sales tax, and depending upon where the boat is, the cost to deliver it or bring it home. And throughout that process, where would I live? How much of my time away from work would I spend searching for a  new home, because someone rammed mine? I do not want to go through all of that again, just one year after buying my boat. I do not want to get another loan to make up the difference. I will not spend a single penny.
  4. I’ve grown accustomed to some niceties: Libby had her rigging replaced in 2004. Yes, new mast, new shrouds, the whole shebang. I also have stainless steel self-tailing primary winches. A diesel engine, freshwater cooled. A LectraSan sanitation unit. Fully battened main sail. Three headsails. A deep, heavy lead keel. Tiller steering. A mahogany interior. In looking at other boats, nothing comes close to my boat. Libby is a find, a steal. Her sister-ship for sale in Canada, though well-maintained, lacks the upgrades of my ship, and it has a gas engine. Not for me, thanks.

None of the boats for sale in my area are tickling my fancy, none in my area look like home to me. It is no secret that I’m in love with Bob Perry’s double-enders. Heck, even Bob knows. The issue is, there aren’t any in my price range right now. I always knew they were a few years off for me. The idea of getting into a “new” boat that is not one I really want, isn’t an idea I like. Given the choice, I’d rather Libby be repaired.

Okay folks, what do you think? I love reading your comments, so let’s talk boats. Have you seen great boats for sale in your area? Please share them.


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  2. mark August 4, 2012 at 11:20 am

    You might find it attractive to work up a budget for everything to repair and then a budget to buy a replacement and the costs to upgrade the replacement to equal libby including all administrative time and inconvenience and compare the 2. What should really happen is a cash settlement and you should manage any repairs. Once you prepare your preferred plan, you must submit a demand for payment and they have (I think) 30 days to respond or you can make a complaint to the WA ST Insurance Commissioner, who can force a settlement. Your feelings do have value and should not dismissed by the offenders insurance co. You need to place such a high value on Libby due to the live-aboard circumstances that repair + inconvenience expenses are the only viable solution. Good luck (Is your attorney telling you something like this?

    1. Courtney August 5, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      I don’t want to get into the specifics of what my attorney is telling me, but I agree that in the long run it would be cheaper and better (for everyone involved) if the insurance company pays for the repairs and does so NOW. The longer and longer this situation drags out, the angrier I become. If BoatUS thought making me twiddle my thumbs would lead to me rolling over, they’re wrong. Extremely wrong. I cannot be pushed around.

  3. Rick Bailey August 4, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Not a lot of encouragement to offer here. But here’s an idea to think through.

    I don’t know if it works this way with boats, but with cars, if the insurance company deems your vehicle a complete loss you have the option to “buy it back” from the company. If they settle cash on you in exchange for your car, which is a total loss, they own the vehicle. You got cash, they got the car. Sometimes this happens when the car is old, so it isn’t worth very much, and it’s therefore easy for the repair to exceed the value of the car. However, if you purchase the car (or boat) back for the very small amount that it is now “worth,” you can arrange for any repairs yourself. Many people who do their own repair work pursue this course, because they supply the labor – the most expensive part of a repair.

    But that’s also the catch – you arrange for, or effect, the repairs yourself. The amount of cash the insurance company settles for won’t likely be enough to hire out a professional repair (again, if they deem it a total loss). But you could make other arrangements. I’m looking for a way that will allow you to keep Libby, though I realize you feel you should be compensated completely for the repair, inconvenience, loss of time, etc.. I actually agree with you – the value of the your home is far greater to you than it will be to the insurance company. You suffered loss through no fault of your own, and not being completely compensated for your loss is completely wrong. Hopefully your attorney can make a difference in the amount of settlement you get. And hopefully you won’t owe your attorney half the amount of the settlement when it’s all said and done.

    Anyway, it’s something to keep in mind. I would personally figure out how to repair the damage myself. However, your life’s orientation may not be toward big projects involving grinders and epoxy resin. But there are other ways to get these things done though a services exchange, or some kind of barter – services offered in kind. It may take a while to pay off the repair in this way, and it may take some time to find the craftsman you want who will accept a barter. But it’s possible.

    1. Courtney August 5, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      What makes this situation so different than a simple settlement is that I live aboard. While the boat is being repaired, where will I stay? If the boat is totaled and I must find a new one, where will I stay? If this entire process drags out into the quickly approaching winter, where will I stay? As I said in the post, I’ll do whatever is necessary to be compensated for the loss. I don’t want to get into too many specifics, but I’m hoping you’re catching my drift. The other boater was negligent (to say the least) and yet I’m the one dealing with all this sh!t. I’m mad.

      Repairing it “myself” is an option, but again, where will I stay? I’d have a yard work on it and make the repairs, but this whole ordeal is vexing me. I shouldn’t have to lift a finger or spend a dime on repairing my home which was struck while at anchor by someone being negligent (to say the least). Nope, Not. One. Dime. Have I mentioned that I’m mad about this? I’m hopeful that having an attorney involved will help speed up the process.

  4. Dan August 4, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Have estimates been made as to how much the repairs are going to be? There are surely hidden damages but it sure looks like a repairable wound…

    1. Courtney August 5, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      Yes. Depending upon my involvement in the repair process, we’re looking at $17k-20k.

      1. Daniel W Wallace August 5, 2012 at 1:02 pm

        OOOOUCH!! I see better why you are worried about them totalling Libby. I had a knockdown in my Tartan 34-2 about 5 years ago and BoatUS paid off some 24k. It took about 3 weeks for the settlement. Of course, it was not involving another boat… At least you two weren’t aboard!!

  5. andy August 5, 2012 at 1:59 am

    My understanding, having had a power boat ram my boat, is that only the value of the boat the day before it was damaged is compensateable. Maritime law is very different than that on land. This is not like a car accident. It took ONE year for all the legal stuff to finish!

    It is gut wrenching to have your home destroyed through no fault of your own. And even worse when it is not made whole. Insurance companies only look at the numbers and what makes financial sense, (costs them less) will determine what they do. It’s a crappy system.

    Did any police, harbor patrol, or coasties respond?

    1. Courtney August 5, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      I called the police to report the ramming incident, yes. The other boater, the rammer, did not call the police to report he’d rammed a boat. That chore was left to me, the victim. Nice, right?

      Problem is, my boat isn’t just a mode of transportation like a car, I live aboard. That changes the game, here. I’ll do what’s necessary to make this situation better. It’s more comparable to an RV than a sedan. My home was rammed. I’m p!ssed off to the max, and getting angrier every day this goes unsolved.

  6. Rick Bailey August 6, 2012 at 3:42 am

    What can we do to help?

    Seems like this is also an opportunity for BoatUS to prove the merits of their insurance, which they tout as being so great. If it’s so great, you should get a fair settlement.

    Can we write emails, send letters, write to boating publications? Any ideas of how the boating community can apply pressure on your behalf?

    Rick s/v Cay of Sea

  7. Me August 6, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I was warned away from BoatUS insurance years ago when I first bought a boat of significant size – this is their MO from what I’ve heard. I’m sticking with one of the reputable brokers in town for sure.

  8. Fred Facker August 6, 2012 at 9:44 am

    I hate waiting on stuff like that. I wouldn’t be able to sleep, and my stomach would be in knots.

  9. Justin R. August 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Sorry to hear about Libby. If you do end up having to look for a “new” boat, there’s a *beautiful* gaff rigged double ender for sale in Shilshole [http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/boa/3172235683.html]. It wasn’t designed by Perry, but by Bruce Bingham, the guy who designed the Flicka. $39k.

  10. Rado August 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Not sure if it’s been pointed out yet (I hope it has been), but with this kind of damage the boat seems to no longer be in a seaworthy condition. It’s not that unusual here to start getting the first fall gales around Labor Day, so a delay in addressing this can seriously jeopardize life as well as property. A house or RV won’t sink, a boat can, especially if you are anchored out and exposed to the elements. Looking at the photo of the damage, there is a number of ways I can think of that can take down the rig or the boat, even in the relative protection of a marina.

  11. jd dawson August 8, 2012 at 4:56 am

    sorry for your problem..$17-20k for the damage you have pictured??don’t see it..unless there is HULL damage this is not terminal!!someone indeed is smoking something!!have a GOOD surveyor specify and approve the repair..suggest you settle for the $20k and buy your boat back ASAP!!get all these idiots you are currently dealing with out of your life!!find a reputable surveyor and shipwright with the skills to repair the boat..BEST LUCK!!

    1. Courtney August 8, 2012 at 5:36 am

      Extensive deck delamination, a bulkhead shifted (structural problem), new hardware needs to be purchased, rebedded. Hole. Cosmetic fixes. Teak (interior and exterior). List goes on and on. So yes, the hole is bad, but it’s what you don’t see from the photo that costs the most.

  12. Dan August 8, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Well, it sounds bad and it is… yet, it will work out and in a month or two you will be well into the solution. I know, easy to say, but I have been in your shoes…. This too shall pass…

  13. mark August 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Getting angry is just what the insurance company wants! Then when you get worn out, you will settle for their dog bone. (what they think) The idea of getting a 20K settlement and getting them out of the way has merit. There are a few well qualified freelancers who could fix that in a month or so for way less than than established yards, so all you need to do is stay with a friend or something and it will be all over.

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