Finding The Right Boat

There’s a saying that you have to kiss a lot of toads before you find your prince. Well, we thought we were exempt from that. We had heard stories of people looking weeks and months for a boat, putting in offers and not getting the boat and so many disappointments.

We had been searching the internet for almost a year for a boat while we waited for our house to sell. I can’t tell you the hundreds of hours I have spent on yacht world looking at all kinds of boats trying to decided what we wanted and what was important. Our list was pretty simple, we wanted at least 4 cabins, something that was safe and would be able to cross oceans. Finding one in our price range was also a little tricky. As the housing market rose, so did the boat market. I had heard of people selling their boats they had for just a few years for more than what they bought it for (which usually doesn’t happen in the boat industry).

Once we had our house under contract we got serious about finding the right boat. We had been looking at Lagoon 500’s, I really liked the interior layout. They all had flybridges, which means the steering was on top of the boat. I didn’t love that and some of them weren’t very protected or protected at all, but the living area was awesome. The other thing was there was a lot of them for sale. When I say a lot I mean like 8. There was one in particular that had a lot of the upgrades that we were planning on doing, solar, batteries, electronics, etc. We had seen it for sale for a few months and they had just dropped their price. We called our broker and decided to put in an offer, then fly to Florida to check it out. Ben and I were both excited and super nervous. We had been planning this moment for so long and it was finally happening.

When we first saw the boat we could tell it needed a lot of TLC. The family had dogs and it was covered in dog hair. The few things that we looked at, like the running rigging needed to be replaced and a few other things. We weighed our options, even though we knew it needed work we were ok with that. The expensive things like batteries and solar had already been done. So we decided to move to the next step which was to do a survey and a sea trial.

A week later we were back in Florida for the survey and sea trial. It was fun to learn the process of what it’s like to buy a boat since we had never done this before. We had an amazing surveyor that was very thorough. He checked the engines, the hulls, the sails, all the systems in the boat and everything! We were able to take her out for a quick little sail, just to make sure that the sails were in good shape. The whole process took about 8 hours, which made for a really long day. As we were going through the process our surveyor let us know things that he was finding. The list kept getting longer and longer. The standing rigging needed to be replaced, the engines were not in great shape and he recommended them being replaced. Only 2 of the 4 toilets on board actually worked, the list goes on and on (it ended up being a 37 page report!)

The owner of the boat wasn’t very easy to work with. He thought his boat was fine and in great shape. This was a huge red flag for us because we knew he probably wouldn’t want to budge on price when we knew it was going to cost a lot to get the boat into good shape. When we debriefed at the end of the day the surveyor told us that he was guessing it would take at least $80,000 to get it to a place that would be safe to sail. He was amazing the current owner made it to the haul out marina safely.

That night we had a lot to think about. We talked about the pros and cons, and decided to see how we felt in the morning. That next morning I was praying what we should do and the spirit answered, “walk away”. I asked Ben what he thought and he felt the same way. It was hard because we had now come to Florida twice and paid for a survey and haul out which isn’t cheap, but we knew it was the best thing we should do.

While we were at the airport waiting to come home we talked to our broker and told him we were going to pass on the boat. I told him I was making a list of all the boats that we may be interested in. Again, I went to Yacht World and started looking at all the boats that were for sale. I made my list, sent it over to our broker and we started to board the plane. Our broker then texted me a link to a boat for us to check out. He had said that it was big, but it was the best deal on the market right now.

Once Ben and I found our seats we looked at the listing. We had seen the boat before, but we wrote it off because it was in South Africa! The more and more we looked through the pictures and read the description, the more it felt right. Our plane was about to take off, but I let our broker know we were at least interested. We had a lot of questions about logistics, how do we get the boat, what kind of deal could we get, so many questions.

I had free messaging on the flight so we continued our conversation and Ben and I kept talking about what we thought. I kept scrolling through all the pictures and this overwhelming feeling came over me. I knew that was our boat!! Our broker said that someone else was working on an offer so if we wanted it we needed to act fast. I paid for internet on the flight and we put an offer in on the boat somewhere over Arkansas. We continued to talk and look at the pictures over and over. The seller then countered our offer over Denver and when we landed in Utah we signed on our new boat!

So crazy that we left Utah thinking we were getting a boat in Florida and came home getting a boat in South Africa!

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