Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How To Buy a Boat

  Sea Turtle

Back in time, I was looking for a sailboat to go cruising in.  You know, just sell everything, hop on the boat and get out of the States for an unknown time frame.  Destination – Caribbean!

We went to a large yacht sales office in St Petersburg, Florida and one of the salesmen started showing us some used sailboats, about 35’.  We spent a good part of a day looking at all kinds of boats.  The only thing that caught my eye was a 35’ Morgan with a centerboard and an aft cockpit.  It seemed solid and the layout was pretty good, although I grew to hate the fact that the galley was along the starboard side of the boat instead of being a little U or L shaped area near the companionway. 

We were going through the storage lockers, looking under the cushions and generally poking through things.  My partner found the cable that brings up the centerboard or lowers it and started playing with it and checking the little winch for it.  He jiggled things around for a while, then left the cabin to talk to the salesman on the dock. 

I sat down and looked around, just soaking up the atmosphere – it really didn’t have a bad closed-up-boat smell.  Then, I realized I heard an alien noise, there was water gurgling and it wasn’t the waves lapping the hull on the outside.  This was inside the boat!   Not a good sign! 

I called up to the guys on the dock – “Hey, I hear water running in, you better check it out!”  I heard the salesman make a comment to my partner, “She’s just hearing the waves on the hull.”  Furious, I stuck my head out the companionway and said “You can think that or you can stop this boat from sinking, it’s up to you.”  And I climbed out and got on the dock with them. 

Something about my attitude worried the salesman and he decided to check below and see what was going on.  Sure enough, when my partner was checking out the cable for the centerboard, something snapped and allowed the water to leak in the bilge from the tube encasing the cable.  It was the last touch that it needed to break apart from age and use.

We left the salesman there dealing with the problem and went home.  I did like the boat and it was the only one I liked that was in my price range.  The next weekend, we called the salesman to see if the boat had been saved and what the story was.  The problem had been fixed and the boat was still available. 

We went to see it again and decided to make a low offer, figuring the owner would be glad to get rid of it because it was just costing him money at this point.  The offer was accepted and in a short time, the boat was ours and would take us from Sarasota, Florida and on to the Bahamas, through to the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and then to the Virgin Islands and down the island chain to Grenada.  And that’s where I found another boat I liked…….

Betty Karl


  1. I've been wanting to buy a boat for a long time now. I need to score a deal like yours, though. The budget is a little tight at the moment. Would you happen to know of any place I could find boats for sale in Alberta?? Or do you have any references of people who might know?

    1. Try - it's the largest site I know. Other than that, I'm way out of your neighborhood, so I have no knowledge of what's available up there. Good luck!