I was caught a little off-guard when my 1996 Stratos 268 Dual Console bass boat sold so quickly. I knew I was looking to upgrade to a larger rig, but assumed it wouldn’t sell until Spring. I hadn’t done much research for a replacement, but I had my eyes on a few. I really wanted to target a boat I could get for cheap but needed a little elbow grease to increase the value.
I came upon a few potential candidates – one was a Triton TR-20 owned by a former college competitive angler, running well within my budget. It was left uncovered and the carpet was filled with mold. The gelcoat was fairly well oxidized, but again after some sanding and polishing, it should clean up and shine bright.
The real gem with this boat was that the engine is a 2005 Yamaha VMAX HDPI – a motor, when cleaned up and functioning is worth between $8,000 and $11,500, but realistically it’s closer to the former rather than the latter.
So, I got ahold of the owner and we agreed to a price and that he would hold it for me until I got there. I immediately left and drug my 13 year old son. We needed some alone time to have “the talk” and we got into it as soon as we left on our 9 hour drive. Eventually he worked his way to the back seat (we took my wife’s Yukon XL) and played Halo until we got to our destination around 10pm local time.
Hot and hungry, we continued on our journey (did I forget to mention the truck didn’t have A/C). Things were going great until I had to pull off in Fort Wayne, IN to fill up. It was when I pulled in that I noticed the front passenger side trailer tire was sitting at a crazy angle. My heart sank but there wasn’t much I could do. I filled up the gas tank and went across the street to a Wal-Mart that looked to have the tire center open still.
After I dropped the kids off at school, I limped the trailer to the marina – about 6 miles away. The good news is the repairs will fall within my budget (new high and low-pressure fuel pumps, and lower unit serviced). I really trust the guys at Murray Lake Marina to do a good job at a fair price.
Fast-forward 3 weeks…
I brought the boat home this weekend, and the world’s greatest father-in-law helped me fix/rebuild the bearings and hubs on Saturday. We also got new tires on the original rims, so it’s a lot safer! Today (Sunday), rather than watching a pathetic Detroit Lions football team trip over itself, I power washed about 100 pounds of mold out of the carpet so it will be safer for me to work on. I will take it back to the Marina in the morning so they can finish up work on the motor, hopefully it will be this week so I can take her for a rip around the lake!
All in all, the trip was difficult, but I really got to bond with my son – I learned about the Halo franchise and he learned about basic automotive hackery as well as some new four letter words. It’s definitely a memory we will both hold dear, and I would do it again with him in a heartbeat.