October 7th, 2007 by: cheyenne

Anchored on the Rio Chagres, Panama, Central America

[Rio Chagres, Panama; March 2007]

The Time machine is GONE! Bought sight-unseen. Joshua’s dad Jeff was in town (here in Portland) visiting the past couple of days and when he left Texas, arrangements were in the works to have John Dzerk, who runs the local boatyard, come with a crew and disassemble the boat, install in on a flatbed, and prepare it for the journey across the US to Canada (the new owner is from the vicinity of Georgian Bay, Ontario). We, of course, wanted complete photo documentation of the event. So Jeff flew back yesterday and we got the call a few hours later: there is now a big gaping hole in his yard where it used to stand. The boat’s already gone.

We were all totally shocked: that was FAST. And incredulous: it’s… just… GONE? “Like, what do you mean, ‘gone?’” We hoped maybe Dennis got pictures of the loading action. Jeff called back a second time: they forgot the motor!!! (We knew for a fact that the new owner would be wanting that.) Then we got another call: Jeff had hopped in his truck and drove the motor to the boatyard; the boat was there, sitting quietly in three pieces on the flatbed. Jeff took lots of pictures. Jeff’s assessment: boat looked good—ready for the road.

The buyer was a guy who found the boat through our website; he had been searching for a Brown 31 specifically and had looked at a number of them. However, he was in Canada and not able to fly off every time he saw a new Searunner to view it personally; instead, he arranged to have a surveyor come look the boat over and send him a complete survey.

Out of ten billion surveyors in the Rockport area, the buyer chose, at random, the one surveyor who for some reason had a poor reputation among the multihull crowd. Oh well, what can you do? We were a little nervous though because we didn’t really know what that meant. Did he consider them inherently poor vessels and created hugely biased reports? This was, after all, a home-built boat (albeit a damn well home-built boat); was it that he did not “appreciate” the fine aesthetic that is the backyard boat? The surveyor did the survey and sent it off to the buyer and the buyer was nice enough to forward us a copy. And, it was a great survey! The guy did a very good job from what we could see—thorough, very detailed, totally professional (and unbiased if it was in fact true that he did not favor multihulls), and best of all, very positive. All the problems he found and noted were things we knew of and he didn’t find any surprises. We were happy. The buyer was happy and emailed to let us know it was a go. Dennis, the broker in Texas we had managing the affair, emailed us shortly thereafter with the paperwork.

It is funny too because the night before we got the official “sold” emails, Joshua and I were taking a walk and talking about it as if it was still ours, as if we were just on our way back to it for the evening. We were talking about how easy it was to have such a little boat, how you needed merely three knots of wind to move, and how well the boat put up with an insane variety of conditions with nary a peep. It pointed awesomely (multihulls are not known to point very well). And it is a fast boat for one of its era—a cruising design from the 70s? And it routinely goes 7-8 knots like nobody’s business. We used the boat hard for over two years and had amazingly few problems—a busted traveler here, a sprung cheek block there, oh, and the rudder thing. But still, I think that is pretty good—nothing that we were never able to fix ourselves, certainly. The boat was really designed and built well. I’m happy someone will be able to enjoy it in our stead.

3 Comments on “Sold!”

  1. Jill Douglass says:

    Wow! An end to an era… congrats!

  2. Connellan says:


    Well… you’ve got a very different kind of Time Machine on the way!

  3. Ben Stokes says:

    I remember this Panamanian view, yes indeed. Memory is my time machine, with predictable problems when the past must confront the present. An unnamed Canada-bound trailer has ghost images made of one hull collapsed where once there were three, and these new images haunt my Rio Chagres, half submerged. I admit to sadness, and am trying to project a good face on the abruptly opaque future of this particular Time Machine. I’ll raise a toast tonight to you and your departing boat. All the best.

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Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell