After today, I wish I’d take every point in the previous two posts, 6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying and Next 7 Questions on Purchasing, and extend a little what is all about, seriously, meaning the art of purchasing boats and the beauty of it. All, stuffed with some of my experience, too.
I remember having a beer and a sandwich on a small terrace cafeteria in Piraeus, exactly on the steep street in front of one of the numerous entrances to Aya Yorgo’s dwarfs. At my table came a man in his sixties, asking somehow permission to sit. I usually don’t socialize with strangers, but there were some problems at my ship and thinking of a future plan of action, nodded to the old man indifferently. There were only two tables, it was a very small buffet which served fried anchovies with onion, toasted sandwiches, Amstel beer and some sodas. Nothing else to eat. And yes, coffee. The fake Turkish one, named “Greek Coffee” there, and the universal soluble Ness. It was perfect just for a quick snack before entering the port.
“You have a golden watch, you must be very rich, then” said the guy. I thought he wanted something to eat, and asked him if he fancied some fried fish.
“Oh no, young man, thank you. I’ll pay for my beer and fish. I was just curious of your business, nothing more, that’s the reason I desired to sit at your table.”
I told him about my problems, that I was Second Engineer on a small vegetable oil tanker at the time, but I was thinking to start on my own with the first opportunity showing.
He, with the plastic watch, was a shipowner now, after ten years of ship broking. He told me the story of his life. How and with what he started. He was still very modest, even if as every Greek with some money in the banks had home his luxurious Mercedes Benz. Not being quite a tax offender, he had his ships under rented flags, oversea in Panama. It was usual practice.
I’ve learned something then. If you don’t risk to leave your well comfortable “job”, you’ll never gonna be in a judging position.
I’m not judging still, even not being employed anymore. Society needs working people in key positions. Greeks were buying junks, they painted and repaired the engines with third world personnel , “worked” the ships another year with third world crews and sold them four – fives times more. Money for starters? From banks or VC’s. So, if you find yourself in the old guy’s position, you may allow a Mercedes at home and a Ferretti in the nearest marina. Don’t be shy, nobody will know unless you wanted them to know.!
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