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Old September 19th 03, 08:09 PM
Skip Gundlach
 
Posts: n/a
Default "The SEARCH" redux (long, as usual)

It's been a frustrating time. Those interested (and likely only those!)
have been following our quest to get a boat which we can fit in, can afford,
and can handle oceans without major changes to its setup, all with the
constraint that my wife and I (currently still living in our respective
80-miles-apart homes after dating for 7 years) will be living aboard, full
time.

With apologies to those who already know this stuff, a quick review of
what's happened so far for newer lurkers who may be in the same boat, pardon
the expression:

We started with a premise that a 30-40 foot boat which could hold me (6-4)
and my wife (night kicker, so need full queen - 60x80 - berth space,
however managed), and also have enough storage for living aboard might be
found in the ~$60k range. A lot of nice-to-have stuff was discussed/included
in our list, but not required. The preceding was cast in stone. Much
in-group and off-line discussion ensued, but the consensus was that we'd
need a bigger boat, and would more likely have to pay $100k or more. The
rationale in (all of) those thoughts can be found in prior threads from me.

We expected to be buying an older boat - 20/30 years-ish - and so did some
fourth-tier chartering to get acquainted with the realities of old boats.
The "adventures" left us undeterred :{)) [handlebars and full beard, tm]
However, our premise included that whatever boat we bought, we'd best have
about 50% of the purchase price laid back for upgrades, maintenance and
repairs, long term and immediate. That put the total budget close to $100k.
Newer, better maintained/equipped boats could be higher, with smaller
reserve. Our search modus has been that I've done as much legwork as
possible, identifying target boats, and contacting brokers/sellers to see
them, with the objective being to see as many boats in as small a geography
and time as possible. To that end, brokers have been invaluable, and we've
made several friends along the way. Yes, I know, the best way is to go dock
crawling and avoid brokers. However, we aren't near any docks, and it's
impractical to do that unless we're willing to take a potential 5 years of
driving and searching in order to get aboard/find those boats. It's
hampered by not knowing what boats would actually work for us. So, we
gladly use the expertise and reach of the brokers, even if we might pay more
in the end for a comparable boat. We'd rather cast off sooner, and time is
money, ya know :{)) Back to our modus, we've also taken a video record of
any which looked promising, or in which there was a feature we really liked,
for potential implementation in a boat without, and on any in which we had a
serious interest, we also did a very thorough checklist. Both of those
efforts were to help recall what it was we'd seen, when we were not on the
boat, later. You can see some of those discussions in earlier threads, but
sticking a video camera into spaces it's difficult to get personally is a
great revealer of how a boat's been kept...

So, our search started. First foray was in the Virgins, where we went aboard
over 30 boats, out of nearly 50 initially identified. We quickly learned
that modern design aft cockpit boats typically had plenty of headroom, and
the stern "cabin" had enough sleeping space, even in a 32' boat. However,
typically, there was not enough room to sit up in bed (read, knit,
whatever), ventilation was *very* questionable, and it wasn't really a
'cabin' such as you'd find, say, in a V space, or in a center cockpit's aft.
Since we were in the Virgins, the newer boats were typically off-charter
boats, and were not set up for live-aboard use, and the older boats were,
generally, not right for us for one or the other reason. There were several
over which we drooled, but in the end, they didn't work to our size
requirements, and in one case, the layout was just unworkable.

So, back in the USSA (United States Sailing Area) :{)) our next foray was a
circumnavigation of the FL peninsula, driving (we live in the Atlanta area),
about a 1500 mile trip in 10 days, followed by a return trip of 5 days a few
weeks later, for followup and several new listings. In those, we went
aboard another 60 or so boats out of well over 100 identified. In both this
and the Virgins, the difference in number was mostly knocking out a type
which had multiples to see, and in some cases, sold/pending and otherwise
unavailable (liveaboard not home, no showings without, out sailing, etc.).

In between the two trips, the second of which I made alone (being unemployed
has its side benefits - my wife's still slaving away, building the boat
kitty! but I get to keep looking for/at boats), we took flensing knives to
our whale of a list of what makes us happy, cutting away all the blubber and
getting down to meat and bones. Part of this was because I'd found several
boats with which I'd be happy, and some in which I was thoroughly delighted,
but which my wife walked aboard and immediately turned around and left.
Several of those in which she nearly wet her pants she was so excited, I
couldn't stand up in, and/or we couldn't sleep in, so I likewise turned on
my heel and went back topsides. We came up with some minimal requirements,
along with how I might adequately document boats I thought would work. That
seemed effective, as, on the return trip, I knocked out the two we'd come
back for, but found two, thoroughly video'd and documented, which really
wound Lydia's clock.

As to the efficacy of the video/report modus, we did *many* reviews of those
two tapes, over an hour of recording. In the end, we eliminated one of the
boats for a couple of reasons which weren't apparent on first blush. Those
reasons have now become part of our almost-gotta-have list. However, after
a *lot* of soul searching, we made a lowball offer on the one remaining
candidate. It was rejected, as expected. We may go back with more, but
it's really pushing our envelope. The reason for our even contemplating
such a lowball is knowing that the single boat in the Virgins which we kept
as our gold standard of measure of a boat sold for just a little over half
the original asking price, and we'd heard, first hand, from several people,
of deals which seemed wholly impossible, but which went down without a
hitch. Alas, this was not to be one of them, but it *is* instructive for
those who may wish to find a boat at a bargain price. Our problem, of
course is, having more than one boat type on which to offer. (Most boat
buyers will not have our challenges, and thus there's a huge world available
to you. I have a great number of boats which would fit the original premise
were we not constrained by my height and Lydia's below-decks 'feel'
requirements, should anyone like them.)

Additional fodder includes that, universally, anyone we've talked to (who is
now, or has before, done it) has had several comments about boat size (and a
couple general thoughts):

* Boats get smaller with time - buy the very biggest you can afford
* You'll need space to get away from each other
* Any place in which you can't stand (or easily fit, for maintenance) will
haunt you later
* Bigger is *way* (exponentially) more expensive than smaller
* Whatever you thought maintenance and upgrades would cost, or how long it
would take, double it and you might be close
* You'll spend way over 90% of your time at anchor, so give minimal credit
to sailing characteristics and maximum credit to livability
* Don't buy *any* upgrades not needed for structural integrity until you've
had the boat long enough that you can't stand being without it because you'd
otherwise spend a lot of money on stuff you may not care about in the end
* Any design compromise you make now you will quickly grow to hate
* There will be things of which you initially take minimal note but later
discover you'll wonder, "What could I possibly have been thinking?"

So, at the moment, we're still trying to find something which fits our
now-minimal (but still very exclusive, meaning excluding nearly any boat you
can think of at under 50 feet and 250k) requirements. There are a couple of
prospects on the horizon, but given that there are not a number (other than
"1") of boats to see in the area, I've asked brokers to visit the boat and
check out dimensions before making a trip.

For all that, for all my 58+ year life, whatever I've needed has been there,
just when I *had* to have it. I have some spiritually related stuff to tell
anyone who's interested, but suffice it to say that while Lydia's
fingernails are bitten off past the first knuckle, I remain convinced that
our boat will be there when we need it. However, I can't imagine what it
is, as I've not seen any which fit my mental sketch of the boat I wish
someone made (see separate post). Further, there's the sale of my home,
which may be easy, or it may be very long (a lake house in an area where
some houses - unless distressed - take years to sell due to their unique
nature) - and it's not now on the market, other than by word-of-mouth
future-availability/no pricing. However, I have what the sales world would
call a suspect in hand, and several other 'warm ones' on the horizon, so
perhaps that won't be a problem. More to the point, however, if my suspect
becomes a prospect, my home could sell quickly, in which case I'd be in a
frenzy of disposal (It won't go on the boat!!! Take it!!!), and, likely, the
boat search would intensify.

So, we're sort of ready to go, but have some 'details' to work out beyond
the boat. At the moment, the only boat we've been aboard (well,
technically, only *I've* been aboard) which works for us is a Gulfstar
44MkII,
with "playpen" aft (not inline) berth, of which, most are beyond our budget,
not to mention we wish it were smaller. We may revisit the Gulfstar 41s, as
there's enough headroom, and other characteristics, particularly including
affordability, but Lydia's not happy with the feeling of space (or, more
properly, the lack thereof) below from the narrow coach roof and
(relatively) narrow beam.

Cash in hand, we scan the horizon. No boats currently appear :{()...

L8R

Skip and Lydia




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Old September 19th 03, 09:37 PM
Geoffrey W. Schultz
 
Posts: n/a
Default "The SEARCH" redux (long, as usual)

Skip,

First off, good luck! Sounds like you're doing your homework. I would
add, storage, storage, and more storage to your list of must-haves. You
might also try looking at boats in Guatemala. Lots of people seem to get
there and don't want to keep going. Check out rec.boats.marketplace if you
haven't already.

-- Geoff, whose boat is currently sitting in the Rio Dulce in Guatemala
awaiting my return.
  #3   Report Post  
Old September 22nd 03, 03:30 PM
Skip Gundlach
 
Posts: n/a
Default "The SEARCH" redux (long, as usual)

From: "Skip Gundlach"
Subject: WORMS!!!
Date: Monday, September 22, 2003 10:28 AM

Howdy...

You'll note that my 'mailto' and reply addresses are a uga address. That's
a forwarding from my first account, which people going back into the early
80s have, so I've kept it alive as a destination, and as a means of knowing
when a usenet communication is coming (via the account to which it's
posted). However...

Any of you desiring to communicate with me off-list should do so at (my
name, all one word) @earthlink.net. That's because...

One or more of the newsgroups in which I participate has one or more who
have been infected with the current MS worm, and it's overloading my mailbox
with 150k messages at the rate of a couple hundred an hour.

So, I've blocked the engr.uga address, which will bounce all mail coming to
me through that address...

Yes, I'm protected, and no, it didn't come from me (or it wouldn't be going
to uga, as all my mail goes through either the mindspring or earthlink
servers). I do daily virus definition and other updates, and dump the
infected file automatically, so it never even gets opened in my local
computer - but it's overwhelmed my ISP server, and I'm perpetually over
quota!

We'll return you to your normal programming shortly :{))

L8R

Skip





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