It's hard to know what the "perfect" boat might be. And it's hard to know what price to put on that boat. Pricing is almost impossible unless you buy and sell boats on a regular basis. For mere civilians like us, how can we know what to offer?
Who do you trust? How do you know?
It gets worse, of course. The number 1 and number 2 decision criteria appear to be these.
Can you afford it? Well, that depends on the price, and we still don't know enough.
Do you like it?
After that, everything else is negotiable. Are there problems that are too expensive (or risky) to remediate?
Some problems — like a fundamentally unsuitable design — can't be remediated. A lightweight racing boat isn't suitable for ocean crossings because the design is focused on speed rather than stability.
Other problems, however, are easily solved. The real question is one of budget and risk involved in the solution. Osmotic blistering, for example, can be pervasive and expensive to repair. Cosmetic damage to the transom is easily fixed with some paint or gelcoat.
Fundamentally, you need to know what to offer and what to save for fixing things up. How do you find that reasonable offering price?
CA's buddy Wayne had lauded the Whitby. Long before we moved down here. Long before we started looking. We were told that center-cockpit ketches in the "heavy cruiser" weight-class were the ideal sort of boat.
Great sailing. Great for entertaining.
Wayne's no slouch. His avocation is rebuilding sailboats. He has a track record. Several boats. Much insight. A salty, trustworthy source. That's karma connection 1.
Back in "What do you Value?" I looked at a number of decision criteria and a variety of boat models.
I used YachtWorld to go through my short list and find some boats available locally. Just to look at.
So last weekend, we just hopped in the car and drove up to see a Peterson 44 that's on the hard nearby.
I dropped an email to a big-name firm, Annapolis Yacht Sales, which has a branch office in Deltaville, VA, just an hour and a half north of here. We hopped in the car and drove off, hoping that -- perhaps -- they could fit us in.
Here's the karma connection. We arrive at the boatyard where the office is. We wander into the little yacht brokerage building. We're standing in the hallway looking at some nice photos of some boats. The phone rings. It's some guy from Annapolis Yacht Sales South. In the office we're standing in front of. The timing was amazingly, coincidentally perfect. Or karmic.
Okay, so that worked out really well.
We had a great chat with Ann and Jonathan about boats and dreams and aspirations, and crossing the Atlantic Ocean. All that stuff.
He showed us the Peterson we had come to look at. But before he would show us what we said we wanted to see, he showed us what we really wanted to see.
First, he shows us the Whitby. He showed it to us without us saying a word about it. It's a big, heavy, forgiving, roomy boat. He -- perhaps -- saw the karma connection.
Okay, we're connected, what now?
What's karma, but coincidence lifted up and examined closely?
Is karma a good basis for buying a boat?
Jonathan gave us hints as to what a good offer might entail. He gave us good reasons for moving quickly rather than slowly. Was it "pressure"? Was he trying to close the deal quickly?
I don't think it was pressure. I think it was simple advice. Offer this. Offer soon. Don't nickel-and-dime.
The Art of the Deal
Our first house (and third house) involved some negotiating over prices, terms and conditions. Our middle house was a simpler deal bought from the owner directly.
We had no idea what level of negotiation would be involved. The worst case would be a lot of back and forth. For example, we could have started at 75%, split the 25% difference and settled for 87% of the listed price. Or, we could simply offer 80-something-percent -- adjusted for problems that need to be solved -- and be done with it. If it's right, it's right.
We're done with it. We offered. It was accepted. Done.
All that's left is Survey, Sea Trials and Take Possession.
Followed by ownership: winterizing, repairs, painting, and some upgrades. Then comes spring commissioning and launch. It's all new. Much to learn. Much to do.