Thursday, September 26, 2013

Boat Shopping - The Videos

In my last post, I asked if anyone would be interested in seeing some of the videos I took of various boats during our shopping trips.  There were more than a couple people that replied to either the post or via email that they would like to see anything I had.

So, fair warning...these are not the greatest quality, just shaky cell phone videos with some rather abrupt cuts.  This is also my first experiment with YouTube. I tried using some of the YouTube tools to stabilize a couple of them, but that left other artifacts in the video so I only did that with a couple of them. Please keep in mind that these are completely unstaged.

Lagoon 37

This first set is of the Lagoon 37 that I put an offer in on back in the spring.  The galley layout is not the standard for this boat. The interior video starts with the head located at the rear of the starboard hull, moves through the galley to the Starboard berth, across the bridge deck salon and on to the port forward berth, finally backtracking to the rear port berth.

PDQ 36

This starts in the starboard forward berth, moves down the starboard hull to the head in the rear of that hull.  Then across the bridge deck to the galley in the port hull.  From there it moves forward into the port berth and then back to the port rear quarter berth/storage area.

Fountaine Pajot Tobago 35

I started breaking up the videos here to make them easier to review. So you'll have one for each hull and one for the bridge deck between them. The first one starts in the head in the rear of the port hull and goes to the master berth port forward.

Then a quick pass thru the salon and galley on the bridgedeck from port to starboard.

This one starts in the starboard forward berth.

So, there you have it.  A quick video tour of 3 of the boats we've seen during some of our shopping trips.  I've got one more boat to show you...but six videos in one post seems like a lot so we'll save the other for another post.

Let me know what you think.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lessons Learned - Shopping and Video

Continuing with the idea of occasionally posting "things we've learned thus far" here is a tip we figured out while looking at a bunch of boats.

After our first boat shopping trip, one of the things we quickly discovered was that we had a hard time remembering details about the boats we saw one after another.  So, after our first trip, we decided that we need some better means of remembering.  I thought perhaps it would be helpful to start taking videos.

I started using my cell phone to take video of the interior and exterior of the boats we thought we were more interested in.  T hese were far from professional grade cinematography, just shaky panning around rooms and wandering through the boats.  But it did what we wanted and found it helped jog memories about details.

I also found it did a bit more.  We've been able to go back to the videos to answer questions that we had later.  It's very handy when you are no longer near the boat in question.

So, if you go shopping for a boat, try taking a video that pans around to explore the space.  It doesn't have to be excessively slow or a long filming, but anything captured you may find handy when you have that lingering question in the back of your mind.

I also have a question to ask of you. Would you be interested in seeing the videos I've taken of some of the boats?  As I've said, they are just shaky cell phone videos, but if there is enough interest I'd be willing to annotate them and remove/replace the audio tracks so they could be posted.  Leave a comment and let me know if you would be interested in seeing them.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Here We Go Again

The offer has been accepted!  So, for the second time in my life I'm under contract on a sailing yacht.  Now, as I've learned, the fun begins.  Have to get everyone scheduled for the survey, haul-out and sea trial.

For the survey, I'll be using Jonathan Sands from Atlantic Marine Group again.  With our last experience using him, this was a no-brainer decision and I have confidence in his abilities. Since that first inspection, I've seen his name mentioned several times and it seems I do not stand alone in thinking he is a pretty good catamaran surveyor.

I still need to do a bit of research on the Leopard 38 as well.  I've typically done a lot of research prior to going to look at boats, but this time I was not as prepared as I was with the Lagoon or the Fountaine Pajot boats.

Amazing how the boat buying process seems to toggle between dead stop to full-speed ahead.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Another Shopping Trip (Part 3)

Part 1 can be found here, part 2 is here.

So as we ate an overpriced lunch at the marina in Miami (remind me not to hang out much in Miami...not that I was planning to...but it definitely isn't cruiser budget friendly), we decided to put in an offer on...the Leopard 38.

As I mentioned, it needs a bit of work. The Leopard can use some cosmetic and minor repairs but nothing like the Lagoon 37 we were under contract on back in the spring. Of course back then we didn't think there was too much work on that one but I trust my surveyor will find anything that may be amiss. So we came up with a number we feel is fair based on our initial impression of the condition and sent it in that afternoon. Now the wait for a response begins.

Earlier today, even though we submitted an offer on the Leopard (it hasn't been accepted yet and if I've learned anything from this experience, it is that anything can happen up until closing with a deal), we took a look at a Privelege 41 (which our broker says is very similar to a 39 that we might be interested in but didn't have time to drive all the way from the Keys to Pennsicola to see).

These boats are well appointed and have an absolutely huge cockpit. The thing I don't like is the location of the helm. It is positioned over the hull and almost all the way back against the transom. It is exposed and seems to me to be a bad place to be in all but the calmest of seas. The idea of standing or sitting on the very back of the boat on a night watch in rough seas scares me a bit.

One thing I apparently haven't completely learned is how to do a thorough initial inspection of a boat. And that is why we are currently on the Palmetto Expressway heading back to the Keys. It seems a day later we always come up with one or two things we wished we had looked at but for some reason did not. Guess I need to come up with a checklist if we need to do any more shopping.

Going back to the boat with a more critical eye helped though. It solidified that we think this is a nice, well laid out boat that would make a good live-aboard. It also reminded us of a couple issues with the boat and gave us a second/better chance for inspection. I opened up a couple of the access panels that I missed the last time (and thankfully found nothing bad of note), we talked a bit more with the selling agent about Leopards, and verified that the electronics are working.

Here are a couple additional pictures from the Leopard:

So, now we wait to hear back on our offer.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Another Shopping Trip (Part 2)

Picking up where I left off in the first post on this trip...

After spending some time on the Leopard, we then worked our way back up the Keys to Key Largo to see a Lagoon 37 that has been for sale for a little while.

We had actually put an offer in on this boat, sight unseen, a couple months ago. The owner countered and we decided that we should see it before going any further. We are glad we did as I think it saved us from an offer higher than it should have been. We really like the design of these boats, it is a shame there aren't more around in better condition and I'm increasingly feeling that we don't want too much of a project for our first big boat. I guess what we really want is a brand new Lagoon 37...with the shoal draft option...but I checked with my broker and he doesn't have a time machine so we appear to be out of luck.  So, at the end of day one we have one contender and one scratched off the list.

The next day, we continued our migration north where we looked at a Fountaine Pajot Tobago 35 in Miami.

This was a nice and obviously well cared for boat. Of the Tobagos that are currently available, this is probably the pick of the litter. This was the three berth, one head version. Inside this boat was about as close to immaculate as any we have seen...a far cry from the other Tobago that had a rotting orange left in the sink when we saw it (not that the other boat was bad...just not cleaned up). Since I've covered the model before I won't go through the whole description and will only note the differences between the first one and this one.  As the 3 berth layout, the second head was replaced by a less than queen width third berth that sits down in the aft hull. One nice feature this boat had was a roller furling screecher (light wind sail) on a bowsprit.

Since our broker did not accompany us to see the Tobago in Texas, this was his first time looking at a Tobago in person. One thing he noted that we didn't think of was that the sink appeared a bit small to wash a full sized plate in. Now why hadn't we noticed that. He did admit the boat had more room than he had expected.

While driving to Miami to see the Tobago, my wife and I discussed the difficulties we've been having finding a Lagoon 37 in reasonable shape. I know that there are some nice Lagoon 37s out there, but the ones that have been on the market recently seem to be overpriced or, in many cases, in rough shape for the price. After seeing the Tobago we came to the realization that there are nice boats out there in our price range that we believe we could easily live on and that trying to hold out for a Lagoon 37 that is in decent shape and properly priced is probably not worth the time lost waiting or our perceived minor advantages of that design over some of the others.

So, what do we do?  Find out in part 3.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Another Shopping Trip And Trying Something New

Sorry about the lack of posts lately but sailing/cruising related subject matter has been in short supply. We've been waiting (hoping) for new boats to come on the market and then with the passing of my father-in-law a lot of additional work has resulted (if you want to hear about Colorado probate, updating an old home to sell, etc. let me know).

While you won't see this until I'm back home, I figured I'd try something new and at least start writing the post using my tablet while on the road. Yes, we are currently missing all the flooding in Colorado because we are in Florida boat shopping again. In fact the pilot on our plane when we departed said the airport closed just a little while after we took off from Denver. I do hope everyone is ok there. Unless the "news" is exaggerating (I'm sure that never happens), it sounds like we may be able to sail a boat back there after all.

Right now we are driving down the Palmetto expressway heading for the Keys for the second time in three days to take a second look at a boat we just put an offer in on. Glad this rental car has unlimited miles. Guess I should back up a couple of days here...

We arrived in Ft Lauderdale on a red-eye flight late Tuesday...or was it very early Wednesday. After a few hours of sleep at a hotel near the airport, we drove down to Marathon to meet our broker Pete and start our current boat shopping trip. A bit sleep deprived, our first contestant was a Leopard 38/Moorings 3800. I was looking forward to seeing this boat as we had yet to see one.

The Leopard is a South African design and for the length is a bit beamier than the competition of similar length. I've been a bit worried about bridge deck height but it seemed ok to me at 18"(at the escape hatch in the rear of the salon...more as it moves forward)...but what do I really know. Designed primarily for the charter market, this boat has three berths and two heads...all within the 38 (or is it 37) feet of length as well as a galley up design.

Starting outside, the Leopard 38 has a good size cockpit with a standard "al fresco" dining table. There is a small companionway that leads to a nice swim platform that stretches between the transoms. Moving forward there is good (wide) access to the foredeck on either side of the salon roof. Trampolines up front with pulpit seats on each hull. The anchor drops from a locker situated behind the trampolines and I wonder if access would be an issue if the ground tackle were ever fouled.

Stepping inside, there is a nice U shaped settee and U shaped galley in the salon. While galley up designs all seem significantly smaller than galley down designs, we were pleasantly surprised with the apparent usability of the space in the galley here. I guess the added beam of the South African designs does have some creature comfort advantages. The fabric patterns on the upholstery would not be my first choice, but were in reasonable condition.

The starboard hull contains two almost queen sized berths with a small wet head (bathroom is the shower) amidships. The bunks in both berths lie perpendicular to the hull and seem to have reasonable storage space. The forward bridge deck height makes for a bit of a climb to get in the forward bunk. The head reminds me of the Fountaine Pajot Athena's midship heads...workable but small. The port hull contains a forward berth that includes a private half-bath, midship is a mostly useless dressing table, and a nice large separate shower stall in the back. According to the selling agent, the owners berth is actually the rear berth in the starboard hull instead of the berth forward in the port hull. A bit strange but that rear berth is slightly larger than the two forward ones.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that this boat has straight shafts instead of sail drives (a feature I particularly like in the Lagoon 37). While it does place the engine further forward in the living space (which has pros and cons itself), my understanding is that continuing maintenance will likely be much cheaper with the straight shaft. It also has skeg mounted rudders which I prefer to a less protected configuration. Overall, we liked the boat but it does need a bit of work.

Wow, this is getting to be long and that is only the first boat...guess I'll need to continue this in a part 2.  How's that for a cliff hanger?

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Blog Is More

When I started this blog, the primary goal was to document our quest to become full-time cruisers so we could explain and answer questions for our families.  I also thought it would be fun to have a journal so some time in the future I could look back at my naive thoughts and theories. I had also hoped that perhaps some of the information would be helpful to anyone else considering this lifestyle change in the future.  You know...learn from the mistakes of others because you don't have enough time to make them all yourself.

Found on the internet.  Might originally be from
Well, over the past year and a half ('s really been that long...where does the time go) I've actually met some pretty interesting people thanks to blogging.  Thanks to other blogs, I've met some neat people and I've increased my knowledge level (I hope) and certainly my reading library, and thanks to a couple mentions in other blogs have apparently reached a larger audience.  While I don't post as often as I would really like (only so much cruising-related subject matter while I'm land-locked), I do get page views daily from people around the world.  I interact with several other bloggers who I consider "virtual" friends...having never met them in person (yet). All in all, pretty cool.

One particularly interesting thing that has happened is that this blog has helped introduce me to others in my area that share similar goals. Who would have thought there would be a fair number of people in Colorado that either dream of, or are working toward, a cruising lifestyle.  I mean, after all, we are about 1000 miles from the nearest ocean.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised though, Coloradans do tend to be a pretty active lot.  When we were learning to scuba dive in St. Croix, I can't even remember how many times we were told "Did you know that Colorado has more certified divers per capita than any other U.S. state?"* Truth is we probably drag down any rating more than bring it up.

Anyway, getting back to my point.  I've had a few folks from Colorado reach out to me and tell me they are interested in cruising.  I've had dinner or drinks with a couple of them and have found another who periodically needs "crew" when he goes sailing out on the local reservoir. It's been fun to meet folks with similar interests and swap stories. Not a perk I expected from having a blog, but welcome nonetheless.

If you've thought of saying hi, please feel free to drop us a line.  You can send us email at by using the blog name, ThisRatSailed, as the user name.

*I have no idea if this statistic is true, but I do periodically hear on the local news that several cities and perhaps the state is ranked among the most active on a pretty regular basis.