While the refit had been progressing from December 2007 to July 2009, I had been trying to get the vessel documented in my name. Problems first arose when the U.S. Coast Guard notified me that the previous owner’s signature on the bill of sale was inadequate because both he and his wife were on the documentation. This was a problem because the guy was apparently living on a beach in Puerto Rico and his estranged wife was somewhere in New England! If they had divorced like normal people, she would have been more easily discoverable.
While I became a private detective to try and find the estranged wife, the USCG notified me of a second problem: the previous owners had filed a certificate of mortgage on the Roamer way back in the 1980s, but they never filed the paperwork to certify that the loan had been paid in full. The guy was still in PR, so it was extremely difficult to contact him. The wife, when I finally found her in 2011, was upset at the thought of having to interact with her husband and deal with the Roamer again after so much time. Both swore the loan was paid off, but they had no paperwork and the U.S. Coast Guard doesn’t take pinky finger promises. Worse, still, was that the bank on the USCG certificate had long-since been bought, sold, merged, acquired and sold again.
How, exactly, does one get a copy of a certificate of lien satisfaction from a bank that hasn’t existed in decades?
After all of the effort invested in the boat, it looked like a paperwork snafu was going to stall the project. I’d been slaving away for 20 months on the assumption that the paperwork would come through in a month…and then another month…and then another. Son of a ….
As if it wasn’t enough that there was no end in sight on the paperwork problem, new owners at Colton’s Point Marina were uppity about every boat on Purgatory Row (even the big one that was getting prettier by the month). Seeing the writing on the wall, I made the decision to splash the Roamer and bring her around to a marina in Deale, Maryland to finish out the refit…assuming I could square away the paperwork.
First time in two decades that she’d floated.
So high, in fact, that the aft corners of the transom were inches above the surface of the water!
Destination: Deale, Maryland…just down the Potomac River, around the bay and up north a few hours.
Though conditions were quite calm, things got choppy out on the Chesapeake. Message from the near future: Probably should have strapped that stuff down on the cabin top a bit better…
WHOA!! There went two of those sheets of 1/4″ marine douglas fir that were on the cabin top!
Along the way, pretty much everything but the battery that had been on the cabin top when we left Coltons found its way into the Chesapeake!
Note to self: Remember grandpa saying that no matter how much you want to stay on schedule, always make sure things are properly secured before leaving port?
Grandpa was a very smart man.
Given the problems with the documentation, I was really hoping this wouldn’t be the last time the Roamer floated.
The Roamer sits out in the farthest reaches of a boatyard in Deale, Maryland. Land-bound again and paperless.
Though unsure of whether or not I would eventually get the title squared away, I didn’t want to just give up and sell her off as scrap. With winter coming on, I tented her up and focused on securing the documentation. Little did I know the effort would take almost two more years…