Our Boat Buying Adventure

Catamarans are the way to go. Catamarans are steady and they have way more room than monohulls. Each of the boys can have their own cabin and they’ll be one for guests and one for us. They can have a galley up by the cockpit and not down with the bilge. They kind of remind me of a condo on the water.  Which is great but also makes me feel a bit guilty that I really don’t want the true sailing vessel – the monohull.

Fast forward a year…

We’ve bought a monohull!  Yeah!  I think!

Both Brian and I were set on a catamaran.  We filled our inboxes with news of the latest and greatest catamarans for sale. We checked out different makes and models and picked our favourites.  We did not agree on this. But we agreed on a catamaran in general. But when it came to looking for a catamaran in our budget range….crickets…. Sure there were a number of catamarans which met our budget but they needed a lot of work.  Brian was working in Alabama back in July and he made a trip to go see a catamaran in Florida.  It was the right price, needed some work and once fixed up would be beautiful.  She had the right bones as they say. He came away from that visit and sent me an email.  “We can buy this catamaran and put about $40,000 into it and go over our budget and spend months fixing her up, or we can buy this…”

This, was a 1987 50′ Gulfstar sloop. A monohull.  She was beautiful, had enough cabins for all of us, would need little to no work to get off the dock, and was currently being sailed by a family of 5. Not to mention the price was way lower than the catamaran and actually below our budget. I had been looking at the odd sailboat here and there but hadn’t seen many I could imagine living on. This one I could. It was bright and airy and had a large cockpit which was super important on my list of criteria. She was currently located in Aruba so we called up the owner.  It was a reality check when he said “I’m just on the beach, hold on a sec while I get out of the sun.” LOL. We chatted about details and there would be a few more conversations. Then we got an email asking any interested parties to meet them in Cancun to view the boat. We were concerned about bidding wars and such so when the boat neared Panama we threw it out there and asked if they would consider meeting us in Panama so we could see the boat.

To back up a little, we have friends in Panama.  One of our friends lives in Panama City and the other friend is a fellow sailor who had sailed for years with his wife and was usually moored in the San Blas Islands in the Caribbean Sea. So Panama was on our radar and it made it easier to take the risk of flying down to see the boat.  We set up a survey before we, or rather, I, left for Panama at the end of October. Brian was working and wouldn’t be able to join me until a few days later. I arrived at the marina for the survey which all went well.  I loved the boat and Brian was reassured about the mechanical aspects and so thus began a week of finalizing details, transferring money and getting our first taste of Caribbean Cruiser life.

We flew home. Brian was home for two days and then headed back to work. He’s been there ever since. We’ve been working on boat insurance, medical insurance, rental insurance, boat registration, and 107 other things to be exact. We are down to the wire at 16 days and counting, before we leave to head back to Panama and our boat. We have 42 items left on the list. Brian won’t be back for another week and I am losing my mind…but that’s another post.


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