Friday, May 31, 2013

Offer made and accepted!

It looks like we are going to boat owners!!!!  After a little negotiation back and forth, we came to agreement with the owners of the 2008 Lagoon 380 in the Bahamas!  It was a hard decision, as I really liked the Leopard, but the ease of access to the boat and the much lower cost helped me make the final decision.  I believe that we will truly enjoy this boat!  I will fly out to look at the boat the week after next, so this will confirm my decision. 
The boat will then go through a survey and a Sunsail refit, so we should get a boat that is ready to cruise.  I understand that the Moorings and Sunsail do an excellent job with the refit, so we have high expectations to get a like new boat during the hand over!  I have been working closely with Gary, and he has been very helpful in our decisions.  Thank you Gary!!!! 
Gary Fretz
Founder and CEO - Yacht International

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Boat Update

Well, I am on vacation again this week, or at least I am not at work.  I have been very busy installing a new engineered hardwood floor in our house.  We have worked two days, moving furniture, pulling carpet, laying tile around the door way, and have yet to lay one board of hardwood!  Tomorrow hopefully will be the day. 

I also have my Mastercraft up for sale, which is a little sad, as I really like that boat.  I guess I am not too sad, as I will be replacing it with a much larger boat!  Monday I de-winterized it, and dropped it in the water!  It was all waxed and looked great!  As normal, it started right up!

2002 Mastercraft Prostar 209 for sale!

On the boat front, we finally received an official counter offer from the owners of the Belize based Leopard 40.  It was only $5000 away from my last offer, but the complications of trying to get the boat to Guatemala for a haul-out, plus the higher cost made me step back and reconsider other boats.  It is still my favorite boat that is in my price range.  The owner finally agreed to sail it down to Guatemala at his cost, so this could be an option in the future. 
Today we made an offer for a Lagoon 380 coming out of Sunsail charter.  It is in the Bahamas, so if we get this boat, it will be easier to bring it back to Florida for provisioning.  We can also drive to Florida with all of our stuff, including our dive equipment and kayak, which is a huge deal!  My mom also is excited about this option as she can take her black cat.  We received a counter offer, but it seemed very high, so we are considering our options.  The only negative thing about this boat is that it is a 4 cabin charter version, instead of the owner version that the Leopard was. The best thing about this boat was that it was $30,000 to $40,000 cheaper than the Leopard.  I was a little disappointed that the counter offer was so high, but I guess that is part of the negotiation!  I will probably make one more offer and then move on to another boat. 
2008 Lagoon 380
Some of the factors in buying a charter boat are below:
  • Pro - If you agree to purchase the boat before the refit, you can be involved in the refit from the charter company.  This is something that is usually done by each charter company at the end of the contract.  The Moorings and Sunsail have a good reputation for a quality refit.
  • Pro - Price - Usually you can get a decent price on an ex-charter, if you look around.
  • Con - There usually is no dinghy included in the sale, so you will need to buy one, once you take possession of the boat.  This isn't a big deal if you are in Florida or BVI, but in Belize, they are expensive and hard to fine. 
  • Con - Engine hours and wear and tear.  You try to find a boat with lower hours, if possible.  Most of the boats in BVI that we have looked at had 3500 hours or more on the engines.  The boat in Belize only had 1700 hours, so it was more attractive.  They Lagoon that we are looking at has 2700 hours, which I would consider 'low hours'.
  • Con - There is usually no solar panels or other gear needed for cruising on the charters.  Figure that you will spend $10,000 to $30,000 more on these items, depending on what you want. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

The negotiations continue......

It has been a very interesting week in boat buying.  I am now into my third and last offer on the boat in Belize, so today I should hear something.  It seems that a similar boat sold for a higher price somewhere in the world, so they are sticking to this higher price. The higher price is too much over my budget, so either they will come down to my last offer, or I find another boat. 
The other boat that I am looking at is a Lagoon 3800 Owners version in BVI.  It has a few more hours on the engines and it is a 2007 instead of a 2008.  The price is almost $30,000 lower and includes a dinghy and motor, so it may be a good second option.  The Lagoon 3800s can have some hobbyhorse motion, so that is the only negative about those boats.  They are the most popular cruising boats with over 700 of them floating around.  So I believe it would make a good option, if the Leopard falls through.

On the home front things are hectic!  I have a couple more weeks worth of remodeling work on the house that we are living in.  We will either sell it or rent it before we leave.  I am also selling my Mastercraft ski boat and one of our trucks.  So life is a little crazy right now!  Also, retiring from work in 5 weeks, the clock is ticking.  There are many details, such as 401K rollovers, insurance, and legal concerns like wills and retirement documents.  It seems that the list goes on!  It's a good thing that I will have a couple of months after retirement to finalize these things before we head to the boat.  To add to this, the purchase of the boat takes time too!  I may be heading to Belize next week, if my offer is accepted.  Wow, things are a little out of control!!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Offer Made!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, I have been working with Gary Fretz in Fort Lauderdale in trying to locate and assist in purchasing a catamaran.  He has been extremely helpful, with many years in the industry and many contacts.  He started the Moorings Brokerage in BVI back 20 years ago, and knows the end and outs of this business.  We focused on two models of boats, Robertson and Caine Leopard 40' and a Lagoon 410/3800.  I had noticed a 2008 Leopard 40' in charter in Belize that was coming out of contact in July and it looked very nice.  It was an owner's version (rare for Charter companies), and had extremely low engine hours (+-1700).  So today I made an offer on it!!!!!!  So the wait begins!!!!
2008 Robertson and Caine Leopard 40

Monday, May 20, 2013

Retirement???? Sabbatical?????

Well today I turned in my retirement from Walmart!  My last day will be June 28th.  This seems strange to me, as I have been working at Walmart for most of my adult life.  This year would be my 29th year in December, but it looks like it will be 28 years and 6 months.  I get to walk away with a lifetime discount card and my 401K account...and a huge amount of memories and friends over the years.  I have visited over 12 countries and lived in Costa Rica for two years as an expat, while working for Walmart.  I have friends in many countries, and I hope that I can meet them as I cruise around the Caribbean!  Walmart has been a good company to work for, even though they didn't approve my 12 month LOA :(.  The Low Cost Everyday mentality has been ingrained in me for many years, so it will help me in my cruising life too!  I am sure that the next 6 weeks will go by fast, as I have many things to do to prepare to leave work. 

The Verdict, Decsions, and Options

Well it has been an action packed couple of weeks.  I was on vacation last week laying tile in the house that we are currently living in.  Something about being on vacation and laying tile that doesn't seem to compute, but that is what happened!  It was a hard week of manual labor, but it looked excellent when finished.  On Monday of that week, the VP over HR of our division called me and explained that Walmart could not approve my 12 month leave of absence, but could approve a 3 month one.  I explained to her that 3 months would not help me too much.  So I was sad about the fact that I will now have to leave Walmart permanently.  So it was a good thing that I had a lot of busy work to do to keep my mind off this new development.  To top this off, my oldest son, Dustin, decided to go in with one of his buddies and start a delivery sandwich shop in Ft. Smith Arkansas.  This was a complete surprise to me, as he had been on board with sailing with me for the last 6 months.  I drove down and visited the restaurant and it was very nice.  I am happy that he has found something that he is excited about, but sad that he will probably not go sailing with me.

Ustin's Sandwich Delivery Shop
Ft. Smith, Arkansas
To get bad news from Walmart and Dustin on two consecutive days was really a let down.  Now what do I do about cruising, do I give up the dream, and just go back to work?  Well, I was discussing this with my mom, and she said that she would love to go with me!  She is selling her RV and other things and the timing would be perfect for her to go cruising!  This will also allow Dustin to catch up with us if his restaurant doesn't fly. 
So I am back on track, and hunting for boats!  Since I am leaving Walmart, I realised that I now have more time to cruise, since I am not limited by the 12 month LOA.  I also have access to some of my original Walmart profit sharing, so my boat budget can grow a little.
So it was an exciting week, and I finished the tile work, and made it to the lake cabin for a couple of days of recuperation.
Fishing Beaver Lake with Pepper