Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Boat Buying in a Virtual World

After going to sailing school, where I was able to live on a 42 foot Fountaine Pajot Catamaran for a week, I have been searching for boats!  There are tons of websites with catamarans for sale, as well as Craigslist.  After drooling over the ads for boats that were out of my price range, I am finally narrowing it down to a couple of boat models.  My budget currently is around $150,000.  This will leave me with enough savings to keep the lights on at home, and finance my cruising costs.  So below is the list of boats that I am looking at:
  • PDQ - 36 - 1993-2005 - I like the diesels, but most have 9.9 outboards in a recessed compartment.  The galley is down, not my preference, but the quality of the boats is very high.  It would be a good boat for the Bahamas and the Caribbean, but not necessarily a world circumnavigate boat (not that I plan on that).  The other nice thing is most have never been chartered, and owners normally have taken good care of them.  Currently there are bout 3 or 4 that I have been looking at that are in my budget.
  • Lagoon 38 - This is my favorite boat, but I can't find one on this side of the Atlantic that is in my price range.  Still looking.
  • Fountaine Pajot - 35-42 - I also like these boats, as they are similar to what I trained on last fall. They are also a little pricey, and short of traveling to France or Greece, I haven't found any on this side of the Atlantic that is in my price range either.  There are some that are older, but they have been driven hard in the charter industry, and it shows.
  • Leopard 38 (Robertson and Caine) - 35 - 42 - These are excellent boats, and I am keeping my eye out for one in my price range.

So, that is my list.  I have purposely left out the Gemini catamarans, although I can find a newer one in my price range.  I haven't seen one first hand, but what I have read and discussed with others that have owned them, is that they are better coastal boat, and are a little light weight for liveaboards.  There are people that have taken them on long cruises, as s/v Slapdash circumnavigated on a Gemini 105MC, but it would take some customisation to make it safe.  The main reason for me, was that they only have a single diesel engine, while the other boats on my list have two.  Coming from a world of IT, redundancy is ingrained in my DNA, so having two engines in a requirement for me. 

Currently, I am bookmarking some boats that I have found, but haven't scheduled any trips to see them.  My plan is to wait until May, and then take some 'boat shopping' trips to get serious about finding and purchasing a boat. 

One experience in my virtual buying experience was that I found a nice Fountain Pajot 42 in Indiana.  It was a 2002 and close to my budget!  I was excited, and sent an email to the seller.  I also had to look on the map to see how I would get a catamaran from Indiana to the Bahamas.  It looked like Indiana was on the bank of Lake Michigan, so no problem!  Well, the guy replied back the next day, and let me know that the boat was actually in Indonesia, not Indiana, and he asked if that were a problem!  That boat dropped off of my radar very fast!  I guess the website that had the boat listed probably had the abbreviation for Indiana as 'IN', and this guy thought that it meant Indonesia.  This could be a long search process!

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