I was cruising cruisersforum.com the other day and I came across a thread entitled Sailboat Partnership Opportunity – British Virgin Islands encouraging people to enquire about a half share in a sailboat currently stationed in the BVIs. While the BVIs are not on the top of my list of places I am hankering to go, they sure as hell aren’t on the bottom. And a half share was USD 42,000. Based on last year, that is only three seasons of sailing… And it was a center cockpit, which was on my somewhat nebulous checklist of possibilities.

S/V Joie De Vivre resides permanently on a private mooring in a well protected “hurricane hole” at Maya Cove on the Island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. She has been in private hands since new and spent her entire life in the warm, gin-clear waters and steady easterly trade winds of the Virgin Isles.

As to S/V Joie De Vivre herself, she’s a 1993 38.5 ft Morgan-Catalina Model 381 centre cockpit, shoal keel, monohull sloop. She’s a comfortable, solid, volumous, and easy handling vessel if not the fastest accelerating sailing vessel afloat (but gets to hull speed of 7.6 kts just fine).

There was even a video:

It was the snowblower that got me. So I said “What the hell” and wrote him a note. Turns out they are from Gimli and sail Joie de Vivre about 3-4 weeks every year in February/March. They had an existing partnership but bought them out when the other couple decided they were getting to old to handle the boat.

381_1    JDV 1

I suppose I have to take a step back and explain why I would be looking at boats at all (other than as an out-and-out dreamer). There is a tiny possibility that L might get a sabbatical in the coming couple of years, and there is an even tinier percentage of a possibility that I might be able to convince her to spend some or all of it sailing somewhere. Research shows that chartering anything over 5 weeks is a fool’s game; its just money down the drain. But owning for anything less than a couple of years looks to be a losing proposition as well. This half ownership thing seemed like it might have possibilities for both the short and long term. Maybe even enough to turn a daydream into a reality. As I wrote to the seller:

If she gets [the sabbatical] she will essentially be in research mode  and that is work she can do anywhere that an Internet connection can be found on a weekly basis. At that point I started to seriously consider buying a boat and moving aboard for most of that period (I am not sure she fully realizes that yet). The problem seems to be that spending October to April on a boat in BC, while possible, wasn’t going to be comfortable enough for me to convince Leslie that it had any real benefits. More research pretty much showed that the Mediterranean was difficult for similar issues—that and the whole Schengen thing seemed to make staying a whole year a bit complicated. I still haven’t given up on the Med but I recently started looking at the Caribbean.

My (limited) understanding is that there is a long sailing season in the northern parts and that for the hurricane months one can ‘easily’ head to Grenada or places like the San Blas Islands in Panama for the summer months and thus avoid the off season. At least ‘easily’ in comparison to sailing from Greece to Tunisia.

Right around this point I actually mentioned it to L and she didn’t immediately kick me out in the snow. So there was some hope. We exchanged a few more emails and delved into some details like annual costs and the nature of the partnership agreement. There wasn’t anything over the top pro or con to the deal; it just looked like a comfortable fit.

That’s when I got the email saying they had received and accepted an offer from one of the first people to contact them. We had been around number 3. And that was that. No boat for Bruce. I can’t say I am overly disappointed because I never really got my hopes up and it would likely have taken L and I a couple of weeks, if not months, to decided if we were in. The plan hinged on the sabbatical and we won’t know about that for a while.

So there you go: close but no cigar. It seems boat acquisition is just another one of the multitude of things dissimilar to hand-grenades and horseshoes. But I bought a book about the Virgin Islands anyway and I think maybe it’s now on my list of place to visit.