Charleston Update

If you've been following along, you know we went to Charleston yesterday to check out a Beneteau 445.  She was a little rough, but the space on board is amazing.  We both loved the layout and roominess.  Absolutely a space we could both imagine living in.  This is the biggest boat we've looked at thus far.

We met up with a broker we'd not met before.  We've been through a few. One guy in St. Augustine we really like, but the rest - let's just say they are really lacking in skill with "newbie" sailors.  One local broker guy even told us the boat we wanted to look at one day was "too much boat" for us and to "come back and see him in a couple of years when we have more experience".  Hmmpf.  I don't take very well to condescension.  We are buying a boat.  If that man does not want our money, then so be it.   The guy in Charleston, however, was amazing.  I think we learned more about sailing (without even going out on the water) than we've learned in all of our research so far.  Sure, the repetition of hearing/reading the same info over and over is making things soak in faster, but he was also very skilled at sharing information.  And he was not the typical slimy salesman broker that we've been running into for the past couple of years.

We ended up looking at approx 10 boats yesterday at 2 different marinas.  I don't know if we found "our" boat yet, but we definitely made some headway.  We learned a few things that we don't want to compromise on (I DO NOT want a V-berth as my Master, I want a queen.  And we NEED a swim platform/sugar scoop for diving), some brands that we love and a brand or two that we want to avoid like the plague (I, in particular, do not love the lack of attention to detail on the Hunters).  I absolutely loved the layout of an Endeavor center cockpit (42'?) that we saw.  I'd be all over that boat if the price wasn't higher than we want to pay for a monohull.  It was gorgeous and roomy and would be ready to sail.  We both like the Island Packets, but also disliked their price tags.  They are gorgeous boats with amazing craftsmanship - in relation to the other boats we've seen, but we found some middle of the road boats as well that would allow us to set sail sooner.  The less money we spend on the boat, the faster we can be ready to take her out.  Sure, we could pay 50% more, but how much longer would we have to stay on land to pay for that?  Not worth the sacrifice.

That leads us to Catalina's.  Nice craftsmanship.  Really good layout.  Plenty of space on even the 35' model.  We'd pretty much ruled out anything under a 38' monohull and were looking at 40'ers.  Now we see how much difference a good layout can make.  I think we'll still shoot for a 38' or bigger, but if we find a good deal on a 350, we certainly will snatch it off the market!

We also picked up some good ideas on upgrades/modifications that other people have done to their boats.  Those will come in handy if we find a boat that needs some cosmetic work/layout adjustment etc.

Mark made a great point yesterday, as we kept looking at boats in higher and higher $ ranges:  we always look for a bargain in real estate.  We find a house with good bones and bad skin.  We fix it.  We make it pretty, save money on the purchase, then make money on the rental.  Why not apply that to our boat?  We have access to amazing craftsmen here in Savannah.  Why not buy sturdy but rough and make her shine?

So much to think about.  And I didn't take a single picture.  I was too engrossed in all the information coming from the broker.  And now the boats are all running together in my brain.  We've found a couple of other boats to check out in Charleston, so we'll need to plan another road trip.  One is an older, less sparkly version of the wonderful Endeavor center cockpit we looked at yesterday.  And I think we'll revisit that 44' *Beneteau that was our original draw to Charleston.

Surely it goes without saying that we hung out in Charleston for some delicious lunch, people watching and gelato before heading back to Savannah.  It's such a gorgeous city.  Looking forward to visiting from the boat one day in the near future!

*Beneteau:  they've all seemed a bit rough around the edges.  Can't decide if the ones we're checking out in our price range just happen to be from people that don't care for their boats, or if poor workmanship is leading to the early/common destruction of the gel coat.  Any thoughts here?

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