Its been about three years since I bade farewell to my beloved Bayliner 1850. I bought it brand new when I graduated college, and owned it for 5 years. During that time, I had more fun than I can possibly explain....I took it everwhere, made meories that will last a lifetime, and genuinely developed a bond with an inamiate object. It was like a friend to me in the summer time. Heck, I was even First Prize winner on Bayliner's website when I sent in one of my boating pictures to their Beauty Shots contest.
Deciding I needed a change, I moved to California, where I quickly discovered that small bowriders are as appropriate as Rosanne Barr in a thong.... In a fit of frustration, I posted it on Boattrader and sold it within 1 week to a nice family in Lake Arrohead. I ended up returning to IL shortly after, and have been licking my wounds (and kicking myself in the @$$)ever since. I went to every single boat show, dreaming about something...ANYTHING...that could fit into the budget. I am 29 and don't have the financial resources of most boat buyers, so it just looked like a boat was not going to happen. I was a regular on Boattrader, and even went to go look at a few budget specials in the feeble hope that maybe I could get a decent boat for pennies on the dollar.
The Gods have smiled upon me. I finally struck pay dirt.
2 weeks ago on my lunch break, I did a random search on boattrader for one of my all time favorite depreciation specials. These boats tend to be beaten to death even in the best of condition. THe worst ones can only be described as planters. Making matters worse, they're rarer then hen's teeth - it was a one-model-year only special, and its never been replaced since. But I always said that if I found a nice one, its coming home with me. As I hit refresh with my search criteria posted in, a new ad came up. It was in Laurie MO, Lake of the Ozarks. It looked great, and had a trailer and a nice price tag on it. I was salivating.
What followed next was a whirlwind of 50 digital pictures, hotel reservations, prepping the truck, and making arrangements for time off from both of my jobs. I spent a week stressing like you cannot believe over travelling so far for this thing. In the end, I said screw it, and made a mini-vacation out of it.
And the result? Well....I think the smile speaks for itself.
The details are inconsequential. THe trip back was mostly trouble free despite trailer tires that wouldn't be appropriate for a 5 year old's swingset.
THe boat is a 1986 Bayliner 2450 Ciera Sportcruiser. Its a Sunbridge cruiser hull, mated with a gigantic bowrider deck cap. It has an enclosed head, a water system, and more storage than some apartments. Power is by a 5.7L 260hp Volvo Penta AQ260. The drive is a 275 series, cone clutch.
This boat has an interesting gestation. This was the only Bayliner bowrider ever designated as a Ciera. As such, it was built to cruiser (and motoryacht) standards in those plants, so these boats don't suffer from the '80s Capri quality issues. It was also the last year before the switchover to mass production and OMC drives, so this boat was a sort of sweet spot in an otherwise darker period in the company's history.
The boat itself is remarkably clean. THe interior is ORIGINAL, and like new. It has a dead tach, and needs a battery. Otherwise its turn-key. The sea trial went extremely well....she planes in under 4 seconds and will top out at 48 mph. Exterior wise she needs a good buff and wax.
The Shoreland'r trailer is...uhm...well, lets say distressed? It needs some going through. It needs tires, a new winch, and all new wiring. But I can't complain....it carried the boat across 500 miles of interstate.
But with a grand in parts and labor, I think this thing is going to be fine. The owners were the original owners, and the boat feels like it has low hours (there is no hour meter, but the owners estimate it has between 300 and 450 hours total). It spent its whole life at LOTO on a lift.
So thats my new toy (and my ugly mug too, while I am at it). Just in time for my 30th birthday next week. Hope you guys like it. Its not a Cobalt, but maybe the Chain Gain can come say hi to me this summer.
It may have been 3 of the most painful years of my life, but I am now, finally, a boat owner again.
All this for the princely sum of $5500.