Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Boat Shopping 101, Part 1: Making the Case for the Wrong Boat

Over at Dock Six, Brian has a bit of advice that I think every potential boat buyer should read. I think it is important enough that I include it here, even tho it is not a project. Read on:

     "Another season passes by you..."
                          -Big Country

....  and you are one more season lost, another season spent dock-walking, fender kicking, online ad surfing,  ladder climbing, grinning, nodding, and doing everything but the very thing you need to be doing:

Pulling the trigger on buying a boat.

    If you're still standing on the dirt wishing you were feet-wet, and this condition has persisted more than 26 weeks, do not consult a physician.

   You're simply doing it wrong.

   Those of you who are thinking about buying a boat, a bigger boat, a different boat?

   Quit looking for the right boat.
   Find the boat, right now.

   See, here's the deal:

   There IS no "right boat."

   There is, however, a right TIME.


   Look, you can spend the rest of your dirt-bound life thinking, wishing, planning, hoping, dreaming, conniving, scheming, fantasizing, about loosening the ties that bind...

   And all of that strategizing still leaves you on the dirt.
   Gazing longingly out to sea.

   Which is wrong.  Way wrong.

   I'll let you in on a secret:

   Most of us are sailing on the wrong. Damn. Boat.

   That's cool.

   We're sailing.

   *Cue the music*

   Right now.

   Why is "sailing right now" so important, my friends?

   Because no one knows what tomorrow may bring,

   There is a proverb which, in Yiddish, is written:

         דער מענטש טראַכט און גאָט לאַכט

   Loosely translated, "Man plans, God laughs."

   What has worked for me and for other Docksters may work for you...
... Or  may not,

   ....  and I accept no liability, nor any congratulations, nor any damn thing, incurred along the way.

  But, having said that,
  We are on the water, and you are on the dirt.
  How's that working out for you?   

   Friends of the Dock (henceforth known, anonymously, as FODs) are looking for a boat. 

   9 months ago they were looking seriously at a Bayfield 25.

     They asked me for my advice.

     I offered it:  

      (Come on, you think I am gonna keep my piehole shut?

       A Bayfield 25  is a good, solid, capable, full-keeled, well-equipped, comfortable, small cruising boat.  Under $10 K.

      Want a cheap, solid $ 4 figure cruiser? 

      The Bayfield 25 is a good bet.

      A boat that would be the queen of Dock Six.

      If it suits them, they should buy it.  

      Others offered the same advice.

      It was the first boat they crawled aboard; conventional wisdom says no one should ever buy the first boat they inspect.

      So, they didn't.

      It sold.

      No problem. 

      It's fall.  Other boats will come along before spring.

      Then, I screwed up.

      I suggested they attend the Toronto Boat Show .

      The FODs climbed all over the big shiny new boats on display.

      They talked to brokers. 
      Some good brokers. 
      Brokers I trust.  

      Brokers from whom I would buy a boat.

      Brokers who happily and patiently  listened to their needs and wants, and decided that the boat in which they were originally interested, a Bayfield 25, was...

      Too small, too slow, too spartan, too under-equipped.

      The Boat Show consensus was, and the shoppers involved agreed, that they needed a newer, more equipped,  big body, big dollar boat...

      ... like walk-through transom Catalina over 30 feet LOA, starting over $80 000.00

     10-15 times as much as the Bayfield 25 that was in their budget and their dreams last season.

      Those brokers who recommended expanding their budget and getting a bigger, plusher, newer, better equipped, more expensive boat aren't wrong...

      If their customer can comfortably write a mid- five- figure cheque for the purchase price...

      ....And if the broker and the customer are 100% sure of the customer's needs....

      ...  And if an example  of that "right" boat is available on the market.

      If not?

      Another season lost. 

      I argue that the perfect boat for you, (for anybody, for that matter,) is smaller, older, cheaper, slower and uglier than you think it is.


      See these folks?

      Marco  and Dee are less than $3K into their boat.

      Is it perfect?

      Is it their "ideal" boat?


      Are they out on the water, grinning?  

      Hell, yeah.

      Meanwhile,  waaayy too many other would-be sailors are burning off another season searching for the "right " boat.

      Those of you stupid enough to still be reading, here's what I want you to do:

      Figure out how much you can comfortably write a cheque for, today, right now. 

     Find a boat in 80% of that price range.

     Buy it.


     Next post I will explain why.

     Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Great article! Thanks for posting. I kinda just jumped into the wrong boat, but at the right time. Even though I'm not sailing, I am having a blast making Windsong into the beauty she deserves to be.



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