..a winner at an auction.
"Finally! A boat I can afford." -Randy Firestein
"I thought it was going to be one of those local police auctions filled with junk. But it turned out to be run by the U.S. Marshal's Service with confiscated high-end toys from busted drug dealers."
"There were some go-fasts, and one caught my eye: an older Cigarette 38 with barnacles and busted drives. It looked like crap. The prior, recently arrested owner obviously didn't spend a lot of money keeping it up. But it was a Cigarette. Before the bidding started, I got to pull the spark plugs, which weren't especially dirty, and I saw no oil seeping between the gaskets. The bidding started at an astonishing $400, and quickly shot up to $1,000. At $1,500, the bidding began to slow, and when the auctioneer said 'Going…going…' I lost it and screamed, '$2,000!' He paused. 'Anyone else? Do I hear $2,500 for this boat driven only to Mexico by a little old cocaine runner on Sundays?' Silence. 'Sold!' I wrote the check, borrowed a trailer, and brought it home. The engines started right up, and I spent $1,800 to fix the drives. It runs okay, not great. But I now own a Cigarette that cost me only two grand. Can't beat that. Better yet, I have a boat with an interesting past and a great story about how I bought it."
...in a hurricane.
"It beats up your body and your brain." -Pat Hendricks
"The owner was taking his boat around the world. He was also trying to kick a heroin habit. The other fellow was Peter, a cook."
"North of Madagascar we got notice that a hurricane was coming. I started preparing the boat and myself mentally. There was tremendous thunder and lightning, and torrential rain. The waves were 40', 60' high. A couple of times I was waist-deep in water, which means the boat was submerged. Our only chance was a harbor a couple hundred miles away. After a day my fear went away. But I never got used to the noise, which was tremendous. It wears you out. Peter tried to make a meal. Stuff was flying in the galley, but he did it. I feel about him the way you feel about someone you've gone to war with. This was before GPS. Every 20 minutes the owner would come out of the cabin in a cloud of smoke, his red eyes looking around. Then he'd go below, light up another joint, and plot our position. I don't know how he did it, but he found that harbor. Seeing it was tremendously energizing. Soon we were going to be safe. Once inside, it was flat, calm. The contrast was amazing. The anchored tankers all blew their horns, knowing what we had been through. After we tied up, I left the boat. I always wonder what happened to Peter."