I have a long-standing love affair with E-bay.
In the earlier days of the site, I eagerly bid on a wedding dress, flower girl dress, basket and petals, ring bearer pillow, guest book, decorations, and even a tuxedo for Rob! I chatted via e-mail with all of the sellers, getting my orders customized. The lady who made the flower girl basket had the username Kistaferret, and she thanked me for supporting her many furry pets.
Times have changed, but our love of the site has not.
We’ve acquired many of our larger items from Craig’s List, but it was on E-bay that we found parts for these European cars and older boats. E-bay supplied us with Nintendo DS’s to keep us entertained on our upcoming trip to Michigan, and we found plenty of lots of games that have kept the Bean busy.
We’ve looked at many boats listed on E-bay, but they were pretty far away when we lived in Michigan. Living in Houston, however, that is not the case.
Over Christmas break, we found Kiwi, being auctioned by a charity, and located 10 miles from our home. With the fun little boat, we also got a lease on a marina slip. And we are ready to fill that slip with something larger.
During the school year, Rob was constantly e-mailing me links to boats being auctioned off. Finally, on the first Monday of my summer break, we decided to give it a try.
We had it narrowed down to two choices:
1. An Irwin Citation. On the last day of the auction, it was under $2000. We weren’t crazy about it from the pictures, because it appeared so small. And Irwins are not our first choice, as far as sailing characteristics or safety in rough weather. But they are known for having great lay-outs and beautiful cabins. On Saturday, we actually located this boat in person. There were enough landmarks in the auction picture, to place it in Kemah, and a look at Google Earth placed it in the marina by the Boardwalk. We had a look, and were surprised at how large and beamy the boat was. So this became our first choice.
2. A Marine Trader trawler. Also under $2000, this boat was ending at the exact same time as the Irwin. Yes, it wasn’t a sailboat, but we have always been intrigued by trawlers. It would get good fuel economy, so that we would be able to cruise it during the summer. It had a lay-out similar to a sailboat, which would work well for living aboard. If we ended up with this boat, we would keep Kiwi and fix her up into a racer. We tried to locate this boat, but the marina it was kept in was not accessible to use. No worries–we had bought Kiwi sight-unseen!
So, with the auctions ending at 3:00, we had a long Monday ahead of us.
After enjoying breakfast and coffee, we placed our bid on the Irwin at 10:00. We decided to bid $4500, so that we would have money left over for the fees involved with Boat Angel, and for fixing up the boat. The next 5 hours would be spent watching the action.
The first hour, nothing happened, and we were able to stay distracted by doing housework and playing video games with the Bean, who was eager to have a quiet day at home. Hour two came and went, with no changes. We began to get excited—this might actually be happening! We didn’t like the name on the Irwin–Co Motion. We decided that, even though it would be a lot of paperwork since the boat is Coast Guard registered, we would change the name to Arcus Prima. We planned out our sleeping arrangements.
I occupied my waiting time by reading my e-book and chatting with friends on Facebook (yes, I’m back on Facebook. Long story). I don’t keep my chat turned on, but if anybody posted anything, they were bombarded with pictures of the auction. Thank you to those of you who indulged me…
Hour three is when the action started. Little by little, the price was being bid up. It was still far below our maximum, but it was clear that this auction was being watched. We peaked back at the trawler, which was still sitting below $2000.
It was during the last hour, that the Irwin began to slip away from us. First it was bid up to $3000, then someone threw another $1000 on it. Two minutes later, it was at our maximum bid, and we knew the writing was on the wall. Sure enough, it was a matter of minutes before it was over $5000.
We considered whether we could keep playing, but decided that this Irwin wasn’t worth it. It’s still early in the summer, and we have a trip to Michigan to pay for. If this were a boat that we loved, such as an Islander or Du Four, it may have been different.
So, we watched the trawler. and planned out our life there. In the last 30 minutes, there was a little action, and when we threw in our bid, it went up to $3800. By the last 6 minutes, it was sitting close to our maximum bid, and we decided to close the computer and wait for the e-mail notification.
For those 6 minutes, we dreamed of our life on the old trawler, racing Kiwi. There was room for a Christmas tree on that boat, and we would decorate the exterior with lights.
Finally, we received our outbid notice.
So that is how we wasted a whole day watching E-bay auctions. Do we regret it? Definitely not. It was a day of dreaming, and of excitement. Should we have followed the common advice to be prepared to lose? I don’t see how that would have helped us. We knew that it was a 50/50 chance of winning the auctions, and we enjoyed spending those 5 hours dreaming of two possible lifestyles that were equally heavenly.
Are we devastated that we lost? Certainly not. We are excited as we prepare for our trip to Michigan, and we will enjoy continuing with our search when we return home.
For now, we’re going to pack up and head to Kiwi, where we can take in a few Internet-free days. I will return with some sunrise pictures.