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How we bought a $12,500 sailboat with $0

It was the summer of 69’—Just kidding, more like 2018. So—there we were with our 2 children, Aiden (9 at the time) and Paisley (4 at the time) with our 21’ Clipper Marine sailboat sailing and sleeping aboard on Payette Lake in McCall, Idaho. The boat had a v-birth and a quarter aft birth, and it was very tight. If you were over 3’ tall you were basically crawling to get into the bed. Even so, we loved that boat.

I (Bryan) love online window shopping for sailboats. We didn’t have any extra money at the time for a new boat but dreaming of having something a little larger and more practical for our overnights was still exciting.

I came across a listing one day for a Laguna 26’ in Boise, Idaho for $12,500 and the thing was a dream. Most sailboats listed in our area need tons of TLC and almost none are this size. But there was the price tag and I had to move on.
A couple months went by and I happened upon that listing again. Recently I had just watched a TED Talk on the Red Paperclip (this is a good one). Basically, this guy has a red paperclip and eventually through many trades ended up trading that red paperclip for a house (a real house—not Barbie’s dream home).

I of course didn’t think I could go to my desk drawer, find a paperclip, and then see if the owner would like to make a trade. But the idea came to me that maybe there was something I could trade in order to make a deal.

So, what did I do? I asked. I emailed the seller, I explained how much our family had grown to love sailing and the community and that I am a graphic designer and web developer and if by chance I could trade any of these types of services I would love to see if we could make a deal.

The seller emailed me back and although was very intrigued about the idea decided it was not for him.

Two months went by and I opened my email and to my surprise the seller had sent me an email. He said, “if you would like to come take a look at the boat, I think I would like to take you up on your offer!” I almost couldn’t believe it. You hear about these things but I’m not one to think that they work out for me.

I went and looked at the boat and he asked me what I thought about it and if it was still a boat I was interested and I was overjoyed to say yes. We made the deal and I drove the boat home later that week.

I think I would just like to say, if you really want something, even if it seems a little crazy, it doesn’t hurt to try and, in this case, just an email of me asking, allowed us to buy our 26’ Laguna for $0.