Piracy Attempted to Save Dubloons; Deemed Infeasible

The housing market in San Francisco is 110% bananas. Here’s a map of the average 1 Bedroom price from February 2013. Here’s a more recent map that also covers outside the San Francisco peninsula. The gist is that $2800/month is lowest you can reasonably get for a 1 bedroom apartment these days. What sort of crazy scheme would you need to go cheaper?

Thanks to a post on the /r/sanfrancisco subreddit, I heard of a 91-foot-long sailboat pirate ship for sale for the cheap price of $50,000. I went into this as a joke, with the idea that this had a “5% chance of making sense”. The ad described a “Captain’s Quarters” with a Queen Bed, and two staterooms, one featuring a bunk bed. I figured I could rent it out, possibly AirBnB SeaBnB. In an email to the current owner, I said I was looking into using the boat as a landlord Sea Lord. The engine is seized, but I didn’t imagine needing to have it operational for a few years anyway, so bringing it to a maneuverable state was ideally a long-term project. However, upon seeing the boat, and doing a little finance spreadsheet whiz bang, with the cheapest liveaboard berthing fees of $9/foot/month coming to $819/month alone, I couldn’t see a way to make it make financial sense. Maybe if I didn’t have student debt, and didn’t mind if most of my free time was taken up with boat maintenance.

I have finished discussing the financial infeasibility of owning a pirate ship and we’re going to start talking about the pirate ship. Here’s the original ad:

We are selling our beloved 91-foot square-rigger, the Sultana, named for the original brigantine Sultana of which it’s a replica, built 1768 in Boston.

We lived aboard for many years, raised two children. We hosted events — Pirate Parties, receptions — dockside for years, and chartered throughout the Bay, active in the 1980s into the 90s, always attracting quite a bit of TV and newspaper coverage, out of Alameda, then Brisbane Marina, where it is now. Sadly, we had to move away for work.

The boat is extremely comfortable and roomy for living — also a great boat for a party.
It’s not a single-hander, but is very satisfying and exciting to sail.
* It’s 91′ overall; 57′ on deck.
* Built 1979 – 1985. Ferro cement hull. Composite overall — ferro cement, steel, wood.
* 9 sails in new condition (full set)
* From aft to forward: Large saloon. Then, dining area to port and full bar to starboard. Two steps down and Galley to port, head (w/shower) to starboard. Then, two double-bunked staterooms, both port and starboard. Next, Captain’s quarters, with sitting room on port side and queen bed starboard. Lastly, the forecastle.
* 3″-thick mahogany dining table seats 8 or 9.
* Aft saloon includes a player piano.

# Displacement approx. 60 tons.
# Beam approx. 20 feet.
# Groco head, should be replaced.
# 2 refrigerators, 1 freezer.
# Engine is GM diesel (needs to be replaced, as does rudder.)
# Elaborate carvings (some visible in photographs), wood figurehead, wormed, parceled and served rigging to replicate the original style. Needs some new ratlines and lanyards, and some general renewal.

If you would like notoriety and attention, this ship will supply it. Just cleaning the deck on an afternoon, you will be inundated by passers by and interested parties.

Asking $50,000 but will consider all offers.

(Was advised to add the word “Sailboat,” and so there it is!)

And here’s some pictures:

Here’s a scan with the Structure Sensor:

Interesting anecdote: met the now-mid-20s lady who lived on the ship until she was 6. Said she wasn’t aware that other families didn’t live on boats until much later. Lucky!

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3 Responses to Piracy Attempted to Save Dubloons; Deemed Infeasible

  1. Jeff says:

    Classic Dustin. Attempts to save money by purchasing pirate ship; 3D scans pirate ship instead.

  2. I considered purchasing this boat to live aboard as well… that’s how I found your blog, I was trying to see what has come of the ship. Anyway, the day we were going to go see it, the woman showing it couldn’t get there due to the road being washed out from a landslide. What a world! Thanks for posting the pictures, I was very curious. I am simultaneously relieved and sad that I now don’t own a pirate ship.

  3. Phil Loarie says:

    I stumbled upon the “Sultana” today, September 7th, 2015, at a dry dock in Richmond, California, hence feeding my curiosity to Google it and find your blog.
    She appears to be under restoration efforts with scaffolding and a William Randolph Hoist on each side of her midships. She is located just East of the Point San Pablo Yacht Club on Cutting Blvd. Wow, even in her somewhat distressed state, she would provide exceptional production value to any Pirate movie. Looking forward to seeing her sail again.

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