$ Where’s The Money $

After several years of searching for the perfect yacht, I was ready to make an offer on the Papagallo II.  My first yacht purchase — Let the negotiations begin.

In 2005, it was a buyer’s market in the yacht universe. I am not quite sure that it isn’t always a buyer’s market when along the water front you often hear:

“The two happiest days of owning a yacht are the day you buy it and the
day you sell it.”     -Author Unknown

I certainly was happy preparing to make an offer on my dream yacht.  There was not too much back and forth when submitting my offer.  The offer presented was $150,000 less than the asking price, and even at that, we would be investing over a half million dollars.  This would be the largest purchase I had ever made,  eclipsing the amount we paid for our home.

When the offer was submitted I asked Graham, the broker, to deliver a letter to Ernie Gabiati, the seller.  In it, I told him how much we liked the yacht and explained our plans for a charter business.  We would not change the name.  Her legacy would live on, and thousands of guests would enjoy the time spent onboard.

BINGO! Ernie’s response was, “I want that young man to have the yacht.”  We agreed on the price and had a deal.  Ironically, Ernie passed away three days after escrow closed.  As fate would have it, I believe Ernie wanted his Papagallo moved to a good home.  He knew we would give her just that.

After the acceptance, the scramble was on to secure the funding.  A look at the Gentieu coffers painted a bleak picture indeed.  We only had one third of the money needed.  Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to the bank I go!   My past experience with bankers, when financing my restaurant startups, was sketchy at best.

During the application process for a loan, bankers voice all the reasons why they are reluctant to fund.  Then miraculously, when you are up and running, they are more than willing to supply capital, a Catch 22! 

The question in my mind was:  Would it be any different for this venue?

Through the course of the application process, all the negative chatter was set in motion.  My own business attorney, along with my good friend, Ron, who owns a local winery, joined the chorus chiming in with, “Are you crazy? It will never work”.  Taking a step back and assessing the situation I noticed that this seemed to be a reoccurring comment attached to my idea.  Oh Ye of Little Faith!

Providence moves in strange ways.  After a couple of weeks on the banker’s treadmill, gathering reams of paperwork and tax returns along with offering up my first born, it was time to take a break from the process.  Retreating to the tranquility of the upper deck of our home in Cambria, we shared a bottle of Silver Oak Cab with our friends, Don and Sherrie.  The conversation centered on my enthusiasm for the yacht purchase.  Don raised two questions.  How much? and Where was the funding coming from?

Instinctively, I wondered if these questions were going where I thought they might be headed.  Thankfully, my hunch was right on.  Don offered to loan the funds needed – and with no bank involved!  A week later, he wrote a personal check in the exact amount to buy the Papagallo.  Don and Sherrie were our angels that Sunday afternoon.

“If you’re not actively involved in getting what you want, you don’t really want it.”
–Peter McWilliams

Next blog – Fire Up the Mains.  Set the course for Morro Bay!

Chef Len

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