Its been an eventful and stressful fall; after talking about it for years, we decided to buy a new boat. And while it seems like 10 months should be lots of time to make this happen, we are currently the proud owners of two boats so as to eliminate any possibility of being boatless next summer. Ouch.
Buying a boat is a complicated task. You’d think that experience would make the task easier, but after spending so much time out on the water our list of necessary features in a boat has grown incredibly unwieldy. This means that just choosing a suitable boat is hard, never mind actually finding one. It’s all such a royal pain that Lori has always said she’d refuse to participate in a next boat search until I’d done a bunch of weeding through options – not because she doesn’t have any opinions on the matter, but because it was so hard to find something we liked last time. Countless hours poring over listings on yachtworld.com and specs on sailboatdata.com looking for something that met our expectations didn’t make the process any less daunting. At any given time, there just aren’t many candidates that feature the look, layout, performance and build quality that we want at a price that we can swing. Even with a continent wide search, they are few and far between.
Then there is selling Palomita; we love our boat. She’s been amazing, teaching us and taking care of us every summer since 2004. Our family has grown up onboard, and many of our social connections have their root in our beautiful boat. We can’t imagine having done everything we’ve done over the last 13 years on any other boat.
Still, we both agreed that we wanted more space and performance, and the only way to get that was to buy a new boat. Last spring we found a candidate, and she was local. We weren’t really seriously looking at the time, but the boat did strike a chord with both of us. Finding her in BC made her especially intriguing.
Indemnity (don’t worry, the name isn’t staying) is a a 87 Sabre 42CB. Her layout, performance and reputation fit the bill, but the cored hull and centerboard raised serious concerns about the possibility of a compromised core and insufficient stability. The lack of alternatives forced me to look deeper. Simply put, there are lots of boats out there, and they are all compromises. Short of building a custom boat to suit our individual quirks, we’ll all have to pick our boat buying poisons. After some research, we decided that a centerboard and a cored hull are ours. After some digging, I’m not even sure they’re compromises.
Palomita draws 5 feet, and this has always been a double edged sword. We’ve appreciated the freedom of having shallow draft and bemoaned the leeway while beating . Indemnity also draws 5 feet, except for when she doesn’t. Put the board down and she draws up to 8’6″. Yes, its a pain to crank the board up and down, but the deep draft with the board down should make her point fairly high and with a 42% ballast ratio compared to Palomita’s 35%, it is unlikely that stability is an issue. We’ll see.
To my mind, the cored hull is a little bit more straight forward. Well done, it allows builders to build stiffer, lighter boats. For someone interested in performance, these are both desirable attributes. Sabres have been building cored hulls for a long time and have a long reputation for quality glass work. On top of that, the survey was great, so we’re pretty confident that she’ll be fine.
But this is all just a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo. While it’s really important to get right, it turns out that it’s not the hardest part of getting a deal done. It really shouldn’t be a surprise that the toughest part is the people part. Buying a boat isn’t the fun it should be considering the cash involved. Negotiations, schedules, emotions and the unknowns of purchasing something as complex as a 30 year old boat make the process fraught with tension. Dealing with vastly different ideas of what seaworthy maintenance looks like only adds to the frustration. On second thought, maybe it’s not fun because of the cash involved.
So here we go. Selling a big part of the last 13 years of our lives, and starting again on a new boat is a major undertaking full of challenges. And once the buying and selling is all done, the real work of making the new boat ours will begin. It’ll start with a new name.