While sitting in a high school parking lot waiting to pick our daughter up from the SAT exams, my husband was scrolling through Yachtworld and saw a great looking boat on the very last page. He called the broker, who happened to be there and had just shown it to another couple. He said he could wait another couple of hours for us to get there.
My husband said, “You want to go look at it?”
We had been looking at boats for about eight months. We previously owned a sailboat in Maine, but trawlers (and the waters of the Pacific Northwest) were new to us, so these first few months of searching were purely educational. We had never really seen or been on a trawler, so had no idea what we wanted until we started touring the boats, and also figured we wouldn’t really be in a position to buy a boat for 3-5 more years, as we still had 2 kids at home and college tuitions looming.
So we walked the docks. A lot. Went through a lot of boats, all of which were starting to look alike to me. Steven would ask, remember “this that and the other thing about that boat we saw”? I couldn’t recall. That said, we asked a lot of questions, and came up with the list of wants:
- True pilothouse
- Around 40′
- No cored hulls
- Either a single with “get home” something & bow thruster or a twin (we bought a twin)
- Steps over ladders (for our aging parents who we hoped would visit and cruise with us)
- Portuguese Bridge
- Front and back staircase (so anyone can wake up and make coffee without moving through someone else’s cabin).
- Room to sleep up to six (ourselves, our 3 kids and a friend) but more often just us.
- Midship master stateroom
- One Head
- Separate Shower
- PNW tankage (1200 nm, 300 gal of water)
- Well appointed (teak, galley, genset, etc.)
- Mechnically maintained and in decent shape with DIY upgrades we can handle ourselves.
There are a lot of options out there and we found the winnowing process to be a challenge that took a lot of time and discussion as most boats with our list of wants were in the 50′ and $250K + range, which exceeded our budget and size needs.
While the entire list was important, in our case finding a Pilothouse at 40′ was one of the most limiting factors as there aren’t many brands out there in this configuration at that length. KK42 was the next closest contender but typically exceeded the budget.
So when we walked into the boathouse in Olympia to see the boat we had just found a couple hours earlier on Yachtworld, it took all of about 5 minutes to know we had found our boat.
It was like finding a classic old car that had been in someones garage for decades – really well maintained and low mileage. In this case, only 1100 hours on the engines. It was everything we had been looking for and checked off nearly everything on our list (still don’t have those bow thrusters though!). There was work to be done for sure – it was a 30 year old boat, but we hadn’t seen a single boat yet that didn’t need work. We knew we wouldn’t see another boat like it, in the condition she was in at the price they were asking. So we put down a deposit and scheduled a sea trial.
The sea trial went well – there were no surprises or deal breakers, nothing that scared off my very DIY handy husband that knows how to fix anything and everything. We were able to come down a bit on the price, and that was it – we were suddenly boat owners, about 5 years earlier than planned.
There were a few sleepless nights between that day we saw the boat, the sea trial and delivery – wondering about whether what we had just done was really a good idea. But as with anything in life; buying a house, having a kid, having another kid, moving across the country, there is never a good time for any of these things. You’re never fully prepared. But somehow – it all works out. You just figure shit out and make it work. So far, do not at all regret accidentally buying this boat. It’s just opened up a whole new adventure to add to our lives.
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