fan·dan·go (fan-’da[ng]-(”)gO) n.
1 : a lively Spanish or Spanish-American dance in triple time that is usually performed by a man and a woman to the accompaniment of guitar and castanets; also : music for this dance
2 : TOMFOOLERY
I have been so pleased with my Miata that I was thrilled when Mrs. Pribble and I bought another topless vehicle a few weeks ago. It’s a 1996 Sea Ray 290 Sundancer. It’s a 29′ sport cruiser with a single, 300 hp, 7.4 liter V8 Mercruiser engine. It has a cabin with two sleeping berths, a galley, and a head. We bought the boat from Grant Eriksen, whom we know from boating with Dave and Heidi Elliott. Grant made us an incredible deal as part of a three-way swap which had him taking this boat in trade for his old boat, flipping it to us for the trade-in value, and then using our cash to leverage a bigger boat for himself. The deals all went through and in just a few weeks, we were all driving new boats.
Grant checked-out the 290 thoroughly, pulling the outdrive and replacing important wear and maintenance items. He made a few other repairs and then he had his fiberglass guys go over the bottom of the boat, buff it out and put on a new coat of bottom paint. Even with Grant eating some of the costs himself, we were left with a pretty healthy bill, so I just traded Grant the boat’s nice triple-axle aluminum trailer for services rendered. He was already using it anyway. Despite the repairs, the boat was still technically “as is”, which means we would have to clean it ourselves.
A Sordid History
The 290 was previously owned by a young guy who apparently cared more about partying than he did about cleaning his boat. It was filthy in more ways than I care to imagine. The adventures of Tony and the 290 are documented on his website, which carries the same name (a lewd, double-entendre) as the former name of the boat. The inside of the cabin was so disgusting that the first time I looked at the boat, I just sat quietly on the settee with my hands tucked into my sleeves. I was afraid to touch anything for fear of contracting Chlamydia. The interior fabrics were trashed, the carpet was soaking wet for some reason, and mold was not only in the refrigerator (expected from a young bachelor), but even on the ceiling as well! I expect that a UV light would have lit-up the cabin like the inside of a rave. But it was just filth, so we got inside with our HazMat suits, stripped the fabric off of everything, and doused the interior with bleach. We had the carpets professionally dry cleaned. After many, many hours of scrubbing, the interior has dried-out and cleaned-up very nicely. We have ordered new fabric for all of the bedding and found an upholsterer to redo the interior when the fabric arrives in a couple of weeks.
Oh, and we renamed the boat Fandango.
The Hole in the Water…
We needed a place to keep the boat, so we checked-out the local marinas and found a slip for sale at Lake Travis Marina. This was not only our favorite marina, but was also the one located closest to our home – only a five minute drive away. So, we made a deal for the slip and sank even further into debt. Speaking of sinking, when we first put the boat in the water, I noticed that I was having to run the bilge pump for a long time before it would clear. I asked Dave about this and he said not to worry about the amount, just pay attention to the rate. Our conversation went like this:
“If you have to run it for 10 seconds each time and next year you have to run it for 30 seconds, you might want to check it out,” he said.
“Dave, I’m having to run the pump ten minutes a day, even when we don’t take the boat out,” I said.
“Uh, your boat is sinking.”
We had Grant pull the boat back out of the water and sure enough, it had a leak. The transducer for the depth finder, which goes through the hull, was made of plastic and it had broken (probably while being towed). The float switch was also broken, so it would not have turned on the bilge pump automatically if the boat took on too much water, which it couldn’t have done anyway because the batteries in the boat were dead. It was the recipe for a sunken boat, but luckily, we caught it in time. Grant made the repairs and we put the boat back in the water.
…Into Which All of Your Money Pours
Since then, it has been full speed ahead…not on the water, but for massive amounts of spending on the boat. Besides the aforementioned interior fabric and repairs, we have purchased a new bimini top, GPS/depthfinder system, stereo amplifiers, fenders, dock lines, safety gear, and new kit for the galley from a French press to dish towels. Mrs. Pribble, bless her heart, was so excited about outfitting the boat that she was talking about that process even before we had selected a boat. I was wanting to discuss the merits of beam sizes and single vs. dual engines, when she would look at me earnestly and say something like, “Now of course, the salt and pepper shakers will need to be plastic.” Yes, of course.
The boat is in very good shape, but it is still ten years old, so it has required some minor repairs. That’s okay, because even when we can’t take it out, the boat is serving its purpose as something for my wife and me to do together. We spent one cold, wet Saturday recently working inside the boat. I repaired the gray water bilge pump (exactly as fun as it sounds), while Mrs. P worked on the new fender baskets. We took a break for lunch and ate fried chicken and macaroni & cheese in the dry, warm comfort of the cabin. It was delicious.
Jimberly (that’s our superstar power-couple name) having a terrible time on Dave and Heidi’s boat during inclimate weather (December ’06 Parade of Lights).
Sadly, our camera died the very week that we bought the boat, so I don’t yet have much in the way of pictures, which is too bad, because there would be some fairly impressive before & after photos. We hope to get another camera soon, so I will at least be able to publish some after photos. I will also report on the stereo upgrade and I will explain iPod wars.