The offshore exchange - Goodbye Mandala!

I was getting concerned as I had given our 30 day notice at the Marina on December 1st, and Christmas was only a few days away, and I still hadn't received payment for the boat. But today, on December 20th, Steve called with word that the check was in hand, and that we could proceed with the exchange.

The Offshore Exchange is a way for the buyer to avoid paying state sales and property tax. I had agreed to it as part of the initial offer. As it's name implies, it does not take place in a cozy office someplace, like my initial purchase of Mandala did, but rather requires everybody to sail the boat out to sea. The buyer must take delivery of the boat in international waters and then move the boat to another country (i.e. Mexico) before a certain time elapses in order to avoid the taxes. After the exchange takes place, I am no longer legally the owner, and so I did not get all of the details of how this would all work on the buyers end, but I was assured it was all legal and by-the-book.

My main role was that I had to sail the boat out and be there for the exchange itself, particularly to be photographed exchanging the bill of sale for the cashiers check. The entire process must be photo-documented so that the buyer can later prove that he did not buy the boat in California.

So I took Mandala, one last time, out of the slip and motored out to the bay where we put up the sails and motor sailed at a good clip out of the bay and out to bouy #1. Present were the buyer, Tom, his agent Clark, and my agent Steve Dexter. Along the way Steve took pictures showing us leaving the slip and making our way out of the bay. Tom was not allowed to take the helm, or help in any way, so I did most of the steering and Steve helped with the sails. When we got about a mile past bouy #1, well out in international waters, we hove to and proceeded with the exchange.

They photographed a GPS along with a newspaper to show our position and the date and time. Then there were several photos of Tom and I exchanging the check and bill of sale, and then it was over ... ... Tom was now the new owner and skipper of Mandala, and I was just a passenger on his boat ... ... He plans to change the name to Gypsy Chief. I wish him the best and all that and we start to make our way back in.

We sailed all the way back in to the channel by the Marina. It was a beautiful day. I couldn't help but notice how well Mandala sailed that last leg. We passed several other boats and seemed to be right in the slot for the best breeze. We put down the sails, not as nicely as I liked, all folded and neat, but rather haphazardly ... she wasn't my boat anymore and so I didn't say anything. Tom gently motored her into the slip, everyone tied her off, and Tom turned off the motor. We hooked up the shore power, put up the canvas, and I took one last look around before stepping off of Mandala for the last time.

We all went up to the Deli and had a beer to celebrate the transfer. As I was sitting there, I did not feel like this was the 2nd happiest day in my boat-owners life ... it was sad to say goodbye to Mandala. She will always remain our first boat, and we'll never forget the thrill of just sailing her in local waters for the first time. But now it's time to move on, with the saving grace that somewhere out there is another boat that will be even more magical and take us on even more wonderful adventures.

Goodbye Mandala!