This book is probably only for die-hard nautical fans like myself who love Max Hardberger's books. You have to be really weird like me to enjoy the arcane twists and turns of the shipping industry. If you do, and you enjoy sardonic writing, you'll love this book.
Robert Fairchild is a New York hedge fund owner/manager who becomes intrigued by the possibility of making money in the shipping industry. He's a total neophyte, completely unaware of the hazards and complications of an industry ostensibly stateless but subject to a myriad of regulations, all of which cost money and time.
Succumbing to the desire to be a ship owner and against his better instincts, he decides to buy an old freighter from a Greek broker and that's where his troubles begin. ("The truth was stark; Robert had willingly gotten drunk and made a very costly mistake for which he could blame no one but himself. This was one of the few downsides of having a one man investment committee.")
The market for charters, thanks to fires in Russia, seems to be moving his way so, greed taking over, he uses his personal funds, well maybe a few dollars, too, from the fund, to creatively finance the purchase of the ship. Then things get really hairy. "“Yeah, that figures,” he laughed condescendingly and shook his head back and forth. “Look, Mr. Fairchild, I hate to spoil your quaint little illusion, but in the shipping business everything is negotiable all the time. A word is only a man’s bond if the market is moving in his direction. And just so you know, you haven’t earned the freight until you’ve been paid the freight – and the demurrage. . . Now it appeared as if he were the ATM machine, spitting cash at the ship. In fact, the only difference between him and the lanky Indian guys in the orange jumpsuits smoking cigarettes directly beneath the massive NO SMOKING sign painted on the rust-streaked accommodation building was that they were making money. He was spending money."
Robert's travails will lighten your day. Guaranteed. And convince you NEVER to buy a ship.
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