The logical approach to buying a boat in the Caribbean would have been to hire a marine surveyor with expertise in multihulls to meet us down at the boat so that we could make an intelligent purchasing decision. We could inspect and test-sail the boat while the surveyor checked the various systems and the structural integrity. But operating on a limited budget, we were hesitant to spend a lot of money without knowing we would definitely benefit from the experience.
When it comes to major decisions, Nan and I most often operate on instinct rather than logic, especially those decisions having to do with travel. Our sense of adventure and insatiable travel lust, combined with the fact that our children's education and my employment aren't tied to a school or office schedule, has encouraged us to take a low-budget family trip each year. Instinct told us that there was another way of looking at this situation. Why not combine the opportunity to buy a boat with our annual family sojourn?
Early in February, we took a charter flight to Puerta Plata, spent the night in what surely was a brothel, then hired a taxi the next day to take us down the coast to the port of Saman. On our arrival, we scanned the harbor for a Prout cat, and finally spotted her among the cruising fleet. Most of the boats were either wintering over in Saman or waiting for favorable winds before heading east. We shouted and waved until Ray, the boat's owner, saw us and began to make his way toward the inflatable dinghy trailing astern.
As Ray began rowing toward us we had a chance to take in our surroundings. A broad, main boulevard in a serious state of decay was the result of an inspired but poorly executed government project to make Saman a first-class tourist haven. Nonetheless the natural beauty of the setting told us we could happily spend time exploring this area.
When we finally made it to the boat we found her to be structurally sound, but neglected in many ways, partly due to Ray's bachelor lifestyle his laissez-faire philosophy on things like boat maintenance. The boat's bottom was thick with barnacles and the interior messy and cluttered. Nan, who doesn't wear her emotions on her sleeve, took one look around and burst into tears. Had we made a horrible mistake flying here with our twin sons without knowing more about the boat and her owner?
After a rather frightful first impression, we began to warm up to the boat and to our situation. We had a short family conference and decided that we would go ahead with the offer if Ray was willing to make a few concessions. Somewhere during our negotiations we told Ray that our plan was to find a partner to share expenses and time on the boat. Ray confided that ultimately he didn't want to sell the boat, and before we knew it we were talking about co-owning this boat.
Suggested Reading List
- Buying a Catamaran by Kevin Jeffrey
- Affordable Multihulls by Kevin Jeffrey
- Catamaran or Trimaran by Kevin Jeffrey
- SailNet Buying Guide - Roller Furlers
|Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)|