I had a comment from Darrell on the previous post that helped put it all in perspective. Darrell and his family have had some tough luck in the past few years and he pointed out to me that time is very valuable and we should be thinking about sailing and exploring, not working on the boat. I have to say, Thanks Darrell, you are right!
I do believe that I am not the only influence here, and if I leave things in the hands of the almighty, I will be shown the way. I know that because it has worked out that way so many times in my life it is amazing.
The first factor was that the broker for the CR 38 became unresponsive. I asked him to set up another meeting, he still has not done that.
We took that available time to go look at another boat up in Fort Pierce. That boat was not what we wanted, but the car ride changed everything.
We spent some time talking about our plans and what we wanted to do after buying the boat. One key factor was the mast height. We need to be under 52 feet to get the boat up the rivers to Kentucky. I want a sailboat, but I also want to explore by water. The mast height on most sailboats is in direct correlation to the length. I thought I wanted a 38 foot boat as a minimum, to be a comfortable living space. As I drove, Kim was looking at smaller boats. Not a lot smaller, just stepping down to a 35 did some amazing things. Not only did the mast get shorter, the price dropped significantly. If we look at 35's we could go way up in quality and still be in the right price range with the shorter mast.
A brand that we have looked at but discounted, was the Island Packet(IP) brand. Their boats are beautiful, but they are expensive. That is the brand that we looked at when we were in Palmetto, Florida on the first day of this trip, but we only looked at 38's and they were really out of our target price range. We kept the list of available boats from that visit. Kim started to see what we could afford if we looked at 35's. The big question was: "Would there be enough space to be comfortable in a 35 foot boat". Well, there is only one way to find out. I called the broker, Mike and talked for a bit. He felt that the 35 would be fine for us. He had just had a cancellation and was available the next day. He also told us about two boats that he had that we should look at. We made an appointment for 1 the next afternoon.
Palmetto is a 4 hour drive from Miami. Yep we were going to drive 8 hours to go look at two boats. It was no big deal, we have this very comfortable rent car (part of his plan, I think so). We got up and headed out and arrived right on time.
We had two boats to look at, but Kim and I agreed that the one called Solemates 3 was our clear favorite. So, we looked at the other one first and were very impressed. The interior space was excellent and because it is the standard "Trunk Cabin" felt more roomy than the CR 38 we had been considering. We gave it a quick overview and then headed to see Solemates 3.
After an hour or so, I looked at Kim and she gave me the signal. This is it!
There is one big issue that was bothering me. There is one significant reported problem with the Island Packets. It has to do with something called a Chain Plate. This is the part that is installed in the hull of the boat that attaches to the standing rigging (the cables that hold the mast up). The broker told us the chain plates had been updated, but I went back and read the information from the current owner and we checked it out. It turns out the update has not been performed. We went back to the boat a second time to take a look and see if I could tell if they looked corroded. I could not see any sign of a problem, but I was still uncomfortable.
I wanted to move forward, but I have learned to trust Kim to be the voice of reason. We decided to go get something to eat and talk it over. We had just sat down when she said, "I am sure it will be fine. Let's buy her." My heart jumped! I could not eat fast enough. We headed back to Mikes office to fill out the paperwork to make an offer. I was asking for a concession from the buyer for the possible repair of the chain plates, but I thought it was a fair offer.
We left the office to start our 4 hour drive about 6PM, but we had to go back to the boat to get a few pictures. The gate was closed to the marina, but the security guard was awesome and let us in.
|Not a great picture, but Kim with Solemates 3.|
If you want to see more pictures of the boat we now have under contract (not ours yet) you can click on this link: Solemates 3
In my next entry, I will write about the plan going forward and explain what happens next.