For those of you who have never had the pleasure to shop for a sailboat, we thought we’d fill you in on a bit of the process we’ve been going through for the last six months. While it consists, admittedly, of much oohing and aahing, and ogling beautiful boats, there are other more tedious steps in the procedure.
1. Searching: Since every boat we’re looking at is far, far away from where we type away in Montana, this necessitates extensive online research of boat vendors. Here are a few of our bookmarked sites: Yachtworld, Sailboat Listings, Craigslist via Search Tempest (allows you to search many locations of Craigslist at once), Texas Sailboats, etc. We’ve also actively pursued owners’ groups of the boats on our shortlist. We send out a WTB post and describe what we’re looking for and our price range. This has proven to be extremely useful, with lots of people replying with boats that aren’t for sale on any other site (remember, EVERY boat is for sale).
2. Inquiring via Email: When we get interested in a boat, we’ll send a preliminary email to the owner or broker. We’ve sent out 40-50 email inquiries since October, asking standard questions such as:
a) Condition of engine, sails, rigging, deck, etc.
b) What is the reason for sale?
c) What gadgets, gizmos and electronics come with the boat? Some of these we see as necessary, like a GPS, and others we would consider a luxurious bonus, like an autohelm.
3. Plugging the above into ‘The Spreadsheet’: Mark has put together a rather impressive list of attributes for our ‘ideal’ boat, the permanent structures of the boat, the gizmos and gadgets we want, and the safety equipment we need. We know we’ll never get all of these in one boat, but this lets us see what the current vessel is lacking and, more importantly, what those items would cost if we chose to buy them.
4. Surveying: If the numbers add up, we still feel the boat tugging at our heart strings, and it’s floating in the right place, then we call the owner and set up a survey. We’ve never crossed this bridge before..until today. We’ll let you know if she passes muster.
For those interested in learning more…notice we’ve updated the ‘Boat of the Week‘!)