“Bouncing cement really captures it.” I love that line. Because it does. It just does. “Each time water trapped between the two hulls rumbled, thundered and finally bashed its way out, I had to convince myself that we had not just hit a whale.” So true. And, yes, yes, I know that is just the offshore-on-a-catamaran experience which Phillip and I became very familiar with during our Atlantic crossing last year on Yannick’s prized 46’ Soubise Freydis, Andanza. Island hopping and on the hook, multihulls are a total floating condo, spacious and stable. But, with boats, there are always trade-offs. When Phillip and I announced last year that we would be crossing an ocean on a catamaran, many followers told us that we would “be converted.” I can assure you we were not. There’s just something about monohulls and the way they feel (and heel) under sail that we have fallen in love with. Like the fiesty little French gal we met in the Azores put it: “They dance with the ocean.” Real treat for you here followers! Many of you have often asked me and Phillip our opinion on monohulls versus multihulls. Now you can read our thoughts on the matter in my latest article in SAIL Magazine. Many thanks to Peter Nielsen and the hardworking crew at SAIL for publishing another article of mine. It means a great deal! Go grab a copy and let us know your own thoughts on mono versus multi in a comment below. Enjoy!
“It should! It should be a fun experience,” she said. “Not a frustrating one.”
Pam Wall told me this, just recently when I was speaking to her over the phone to get her contribution for the Gift of Cruising announcement video. We’re getting so close I knew I had to get my ducks in order! And, Pam said this sort of off-the-cuff, but it stuck with me:
“Boat shopping should be fun.”
Many of you out there may be boat shopping now or will be soon and maybe you’ve found the whole experience stressful, overwhelming, aggravating. I’m here to say: “Don’t!” The shopping is a fundamental part of the whole cruising experience. You are finding your boat, your vessel, your ticket to world travel. She will carry you, protect you, enlighten you. Once you begin to sail her, learn her finicky ways, crack open her chest, her ribs and start working on all the tiny little wires and hoses inside, you will see she has a soul. She will become the most integral part of your cruising plan. If it takes time to find her, then it takes time. Don’t rush it. Savor every bit of the journey.
Looking back on mine and Phillip’s initial boat-shopping days, I realize it’s a good thing I was so blissfully ignorant about the whole cruising experience then. It freed me from over-analyzing the boats we stepped aboard and worrying too much about whether I would want a drop-down table or a permanent one, whether a separate shower stall was “a must” or whether we simply had to have a generator. Because it was all so new to me and because I really didn’t know what life on a boat was going to be like, I just went with the flow and soaked it all in. Phillip was saddled with the task of worrying about everything, but he really didn’t. He had a few key features he knew he wanted. Aside from that, all that was required was an affordable, well-maintained seaworthy yet fun-to-sail boat that “felt right” when he stepped aboard. Those were his very words. So, that was my only indicator: which boat “felt right” to me. It eliminated all stress from the equation.
This one certainly “felt right” to me. The interior of our Niagara 35 before she was gutted at the yard.
With that factor gone, our boat-shopping experience turned into an adventure. In fact, it was so much fun, the story that came out of the first boat we looked at─you may recall the tale of my very first sail, HookMouth and “I’m buried to port!”─still stands as my first post on this blog: February 16, 2013 ─ My First Sail. It was also my first article published in Cruising Outpost and even made its way into my first Amazon best-selling book, Salt of a Sailor. If a story that good can come out of it, surely it’s an experience worth savoring.
Pam Wall inspired me to write this post as I worried many of you who are boat-shopping now may be cursing the whole endeavor. Maybe you’re finding it frustrating, irritating, stressful and my goal is to turn that around. “Boat-shopping should be fun,” she said. Try to treat each new boat you look at as worthy of being “The One,” assuming it─as it must─”feels right” when you step aboard. If it doesn’t, give it the opportunity to at least become a great story to tell some day:
“Remember that boat we looked at in Tarpon Springs?”
“Oh Lord … and the owner. What was his name?”
“Oh yeah. Sammy the self-proclaimed snake-handling expert.”
You never know what can come out of it. Savor it all. Your boat is out there waiting for you. I can assure you. And, you want to find her, not a “she’ll-do” filler because you grew weary of looking. Be patient.
You can’t hurry love.
WHOA. Only $10 more to go. This is happening kids! Who wants the last opportunity to say you were part of it when it all started?
We’ve all had it happen to a friend at one point or another. They see you’ve got a boat. They come and hang out a time or two on said boat. They start asking you questions about maintenance, where you keep it, how much this costs, how much that costs. Then it happens. It’s inevitable. They get bit. They want to a sailboat too.
Then they drive you crazy. It’s all they can think about. All they can talk about. They drive their spouses mad. They spend every free minute, even to the early hours of the morning, poring over listings on craigslist, yachtworld, broker sites, even eBay─trolling their fair share of ”boat porn.” They should have a support group for the addicts. The hunt is consuming.
Now usually these friends don’t actually take the plunge. It’s easy to shop, compare, research, ask hundreds of questions but when it comes time to actually choose a boat and put in an offer, most of these “bitten” friends find the urge is not quite strong enough. They talk a big game, but when it comes time to actually sign up with a broker and put in an offer, well … But, while they are “seriously shopping,” I’m curious─what do YOU like to do? Encourage these poor boating newbies because you want to watch the show? “Of course you should get one, Jim. Sailboats are awesome. They’re fun 100% of the time and they never give you problems,” you say through a slick, devilish smile.
Or, do you really try to help them? Wise them to the realities of boat ownership? “Now, it’s a lot of hard work, Jim. It’s going to be very costly in the beginning and will continue to always cost you more than you expected. It also requires a lot of time and labor. It needs to be your biggest time and money commitment. Are you sure you’re ready for that?” You might do the latter because you’re a good person and you really care about poor Jim and his continued financial and marital stability. Or you might do it because you know if he does get a boat and it does in fact give him problems─shocker!─the first person he’s going to bring those problems to is you. You’ve got your own boat, remember? Your own daily host of boat problems. You don’t need his too. But, sometimes, no matter how hard you try to talk Jim out of it─ease him back from that ledge─he takes the plunge anyway. He’s getting a boat dammit! If that’s the case, you might as well jump on the bandwagon and help him. You know, at the very least, it’s going to be one hell of a show.
That’s where we were. After Phillip, Mitch and I made the initial epic Gulf crossing bringing our Niagara 35 from Punta Gorda, FL where we bought her to her home port in Pensacola, Mitch really did swear he would never get back on the boat with us to cross anything. And he didn’t. Never again for a passage. But, he did get on our boat again a time or two when we invited he and his family out for the occasional weekend to enjoy the brighter side of cruising─life on the hook. Hourly dives off the bow into warm crystal-green waters, grilling burgers in the cockpit, eating dinner under a smattering of stars, falling asleep to the sound of the wind and water lapping at your hull. Then it happened. Then it really was inevitable.
Mitch got bit. He wanted a sailboat too.
Look at him, all kicked back, Havana day-dreaming. He was a goner.
Oh boy. At first, Phillip and I kind of scoffed at the idea and laughed it off. While Mitch is a good sailor, he is still─as I outlined in critical detail in Salt of a Sailor─a screamer, a slapper and certainly a big person to fit on a little boat. We didn’t think it would really come to fruition. But he proved us wrong by going out and buying a boat all on his very own─a very small boat, however, for his not-small stature. It was a Sea Pearl 21─a trailerable open day sailer. A very cute little boat and one that he picked up for a helluva “I’ll-pay-cash-now” deal but it was a tiny little rocky, rolley thing for he and his family.
I even struggled to keep that thing from tipping and Mitch’s lovely lady, Michelle, reportedly wedged herself in a far corner like a wet cat pretty much every time they sailed. In fact, the story we heard was the last time she went out with him on the Pearl, they darn near tipped over and she’d vowed to never set foot on that boat again. With that ultimatum, I guess Mitch really didn’t have any other choice if he was going to bring his lovely lady out with him on the water.
The Pearl was just the wrong boat for them, but Phillip and I were not yet convinced any boat would be.
Mitch, however, was still succumb to the delirium. He sold the cute little rocky-rolley boat and did what those bitten do. He started scouring listings, shopping online at midnight, looking at boats in marinas around town. It was all he could think about. All he could talk about. Phillip and I tried, initially, to talk him back from the ledge. “It’s a lot of work buddy. A LOT of work.” Every time he talked about getting a boat we would warn him again about how much it would cost, how much time it would take to maintain it, how hard it would be, how tough sometimes, how much it would cost (yes, again). But none of it stuck. He waved us off time and again. Our words seemed to strike him like little pebbles and clatter uselessly to the floor. No matter what we said Mitch persisted. Until finally his persistence won us over. It became clear Mitch was going─hell or high water─to get himself a boat. It was kind of inspiring. Even in the face of stern advice, it was like he knew he wanted this. It seemed he needed it. We couldn’t stop him. So we joined him.
“We might as well help him get a good one,” Phillip finally conceded and we were officially enlisted as Mitch’s trusted boat counsel.
Mitch’s number-one concern was a boat he could easily single-hand. While his significant other is a fun, bubbly, attractive lady, a sailor she is not and does not desire to be─which is fine. It’s not for everyone. And, at ten years old, Mitch’s son─while he may someday become a great sailor─doesn’t yet have the knowledge or strength to truly help Mitch handle a boat.
Initially, it would be Mitch manning the entire vessel, so his primary concern was a boat that was large enough to fit them all comfortably, including his sizeable 6’4”, but that he could also handle and sail alone.
He also wanted a boat that was essentially “turn-key”─just toss the lines and she’s ready to go. Mitch did not have the time, knowledge and money to dump into a fixer-upper. Oh, and he had a very tight budget─as we all do. Mitch is a savvy businessman and wisely frugal. In all, it was a bit of a tall order but the man is irritatingly lucky.
One of the first boats Mitch considered was a Nonsuch. It’s a cat rig boat with a very simple set-up. Think one big sail. Seriously, that’s it. Once you hoist the sail, there is nothing more to do than trim it. How do you tack? You turn the wheel. That’s all. The boat handles the rest. It was a great idea for a single-handed sailor. And, it was a Hinterhoeller─the same make as our boat─so of course Phillip and I gave him a thumbs-up there. And, it was Hinterhoeller’s flagship model. Compared to the number of Nonsuches they produced, the Niagaras were a mere fraction. But, it’s not a very common boat. I had never seen one before. And the first sight of it from the pictures Mitch sent made me do a double take. It looks awfully funny─with that big tree-trunk mast at the very, very front of the boat and no stays. Not a one. That huge, hulky mast stands of its own accord, like a pine in the wind.
I’d be curious if many of you have seen a Nonsuch sailing around in your parts. We certainly hadn’t, which made it a bit hard for Mitch to find one close to home to set foot on. Most of the ones he did find that were even worth a look were hundreds of miles away. So, he honed in the hunt to boats closer.
Mitch sought the trusted advice of our Broker-Turned-Boat-Buddy, Kevin with Edwards Yacht Sales, to run a few seemingly potentials by him that Mitch had found himself among the numerous local listings. Because Mitch was working on a tight-belt budget, Kevin offered to help give him a little guidance and insight at no cost. I’ve said it before, but─I don’t care, it’s my blog─Kevin is a fantastic broker. Thankfully, he was able to steer Mitch away from some real dogs─boats that needed a ton of work or had real problems (termites, deck rot, you name it) perhaps not visible to the novice sailor’s eye. Then Mitch stumbled upon a late-eighties Hunter 34 located in Pensacola. Kevin’s colleague actually had the listing so he was able to coordinate a look-see for Mitch. (Real technical term in sailing─you look at the boat and see what you find.) Phillip signed on for the look-see and what he and Mitch found was that Mitch didn’t fit. It was a good boat, in good condition for its age─as Kevin had said it would be─but Mitch literally hung head-and-shoulders off of the vberth bed. While this alone was a tell-tell sign (no sail pun intended), overall the boat just didn’t feel right. You just know when you step on a boat if it “feels right” to you.
For whatever reason, all roads kept leading Mitch back to the Nonsuch. There’s just none such like it. (Don’t worry, that will not be my last Nonsuch joke. Get ready.)
Seeing as how it’s a Hinterhoeller, Phillip and I highly approved. We knew, at the very least, the boat would be good build quality and a dependable boat for our insatiable new sailboat buddy. Once he’d set his sights on it, it was a done deal. I mentioned the savvy part. Mitch searched high and low and finally found one within suitable range. There was a Nonsuch down in Ft. Myers that had been on the market for quite some time. It was a 1985 like ours. (I know, kind of eerie.) And it appeared to be in good condition. The man who owned it sailed it often. Reportedly all systems worked. No big repairs, overhauls or major modifications were needed. The selling broker told Mitch the boat was just as it appeared in the photos which─minus a little elbow grease and Simply Green─it appeared pretty effin fantastic. He also told Mitch the owner was motivated.
“If you put in an offer half the asking price, I think he’ll go for it,” he told Mitch.
Half?! I was annoyed at the thought of it. I mentioned the irritatingly-lucky part. But, it made us all skeptical. To be such a good boat in such great condition for such a great price? It sounded too good to be true. On Phillip’s recommendation, Mitch made the offer contingent on a satisfactory survey/sea trial to be sure, and that way he would find out if the owner was serious. It was a smart move but still a little bit of a crazy one in my opinion. An old Nonsuch sitting down in Ft. Myers, and Mitch While-You’re-Down-There Roberts puts in an offer. Sight unseen.
Unfortunately, finding a boat is different than buying a boat. Although we had a good feeling about the Hinterhoeller, we still had to strike a deal with Jack. And, there are about 800 other things you’ve got to start thinking about when you really get serious about buying a boat: financing, insurance, registering it, docking it, etc. It’s very stressful, I can assure you. To deal, Phillip and I, naturally, decided we needed a break in the form of a trip down south to Miami. (Okay, it was really a work conference, but far more play than work).
I recommend you let this play (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9HUQT9HdPc) in another window to really set the mood and join us for a glimpse of the world’s finest silicone and tequila hard at work. I will say, first off, the good thing about Miami is that no matter what you wear (really, no matter), you will never look as skanky as any random girl you will pass on the street. Never. There were some scantily-clad ladies in Miami, my friends. Here are just a few I captured:
(I think these chicks were headed to the grocery store or to pick their kids up from soccer practice. Just another day in South Beach – nothing to see here.)
(Note the blonde in the mirror feigning a text while actually snapping her picture – brilliant!).
We encountered this high-waisted style everywhere, even the stone-washed, Wrangler cut-offs variety that pairs well with boots (or boot-like slippers – whatever those are):
We even came across Miami’s very own Jersey Shore couple:
We actually had some friends run across this couple independently and they (just as we did, being our friends, of course, and always prepared to do the classy thing) snapped a pic too! Here’s the backside:
(Perhaps she accidentally glued her hand to her head while applying her Lee press-ons. I don’t pretend to know these things.)
After we got used to the sight of skin and hair gel, we then suffered from sticker shock at the price of drinks. $20 a piece. I am not kidding. A congenial offer of “Let us get this round” translated to $182.00 one night. After that, it was “Sure, thanks. We’ll get the next one” with absolutely no intent to follow through. Shameful, I know, but we had a boat to think about! They’re expensive!
The Tayana. The last of the road trip boats. Recall Tayanas are Taiwanese-built boats, hand-crafted, so each one is unique, with a reputation of being sturdy as hell, built to survive the Apocalypse. This one certainly met that mark.
Her size and stature were definitely impressive but the remainder I would have to describe only as interesting. Kind of like when your blind date is described to you not as a smoking hot number but, rather, as “really interesting.” (But I guess that’s better than “Well, her size and stature are definitely impressive.”). There were so many things on the boat that the seller had rigged just for him that we just couldn’t see ourselves on it. For example, the helm. My God. That thing had more instruments and gadgets on it than a NASA spacecraft. You couldn’t even really see beyond it to look out on the waves or water.
(Yes, that’s the helm, I promise, look closely).
Another was the nav station. There were panels upon panels of buttons, levers, toggles, etc. It looked like you could conduct nuclear fission right there on the boat.
And, the seller was left handed, but the nav station was starboard, so he had rigged a special pullout slat for his elbow so he could write left-handed. He had also installed a swivel stool for the nav station because it had no seat. And, the nav station was all the way forward almost to the V-berth. Definitely not ideal if you’re in the cockpit and need to get quickly to the radio or electronics or your charts. And, the couple had been cruising on it for about ten years, so the thing was bogged down with buckets, bottles, straps and jerry cans.
Just a lot of little things that made her not quite right. Plus, I feel sorry for the Tayana, anyway, having to follow the Hinterhoeller. She just didn’t stand a chance.
Phillip and I had our minds made up. We clamored back in the car to make the drive home, only to find we had stumbled onto Daytona Beach during the famed Biker Week. We saw more leather and chaps in that one drive than I’ve seen in a lifetime (and I grew up a cowgirl), but the leather hydes were more human than bovine. These women were weathered!
But we finally made it out of the Biker debacle and back onto the interstate and got our broker on the horn to put in an offer on the Hinterhoeller. It was a long haul home but we were about as giddy as kids on Christmas morning. We had found our boat!
Feeling refreshed from the coconut drinks in St. Pete, we headed down to Punta Gorda to check out the Hinterhoeller.
Hinterhoellers are Canadian-built with a reputation as solid, sea-worthy vessels. We were looking at a 1985 Niagara that was primarily a one-owner. The seller, Jack, had owned it since 1989 and you could just tell he loved that boat. It was extremely well-cared for. Polished and clean, organized and tidy. She was most definitely Jack’s baby. And, for good reason. Jack had sailed the boat several times in the Mackinac race (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Huron_to_Mackinac_Boat_Race) from Lake Huron to Mackinac Island, MI (a 290-mile freshwater course) single-handedly. As a result, just about every system on the boat was streamlined and rigged for quick, easy, single-handed use. He and his wife were now retired and and, as tough as it was for them, after decades of wonderful sails on the boat (from quick weekend trips to month-long voyages) they were ready to retire from the cruising as well. Jack greeted us with a bright smile and big paw handshakes and jumped right on the boat with us to tinker around.
The Hinterhoeller had a spacious cockpit with plenty of room to kickback and stretch out at the helm. To use the old cockpit/living room analogy – where the others had felt like the stuffy, formal “sitting” room you keep at the front of the house for show, this one felt like the comfy den in the back with the old, grungy couches where everyone piles in on Saturdays to watch the game. It was just so damn comfortable.
We felt the same about the galley and saloon down below.
(And, a fun little boat fact for those useless knowledge junkies out there – much to my surprise, turns out the word saloon originates not from the old swinging doors, whiskey-busting joints you see in old westerns, but from boats!! It’s true – it has to be – it’s on the internet: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/saloon).
It also came with a hard bottom dinghy and a 15 horse-power, 2 stroke outboard. A rare find, and a bonus that had our broker salivating like a kid in a candy store.
Phillip and I felt the same (minus the salivating). We were like teenagers with a crush, secretly doodling pictures of the boat in our Five Star spiral notebooks with little squiggles and hearts all around it. It was all we could think about. It was all we could talk about. Looking back on it, it’s probably a good thing no one else made that trip with us, because they probably would have jumped right out of the Prius and hitchhiked home. Phillip and I were enamored. Images of the two of us with our hands on the wheel while the boat glided through crystal green waters filled our heads all the way to Daytona.
We still had one more boat to check out on this trip, the Tayana – a beast of a boat, but we both had a sneaking feeling we had already found ours.
Let’s see … where was I? (With all the yard-selling, hog-tying and other Naan-sailing events I’ve been throwing in here, it’s easier than you think to forget). Ahh, yes. Day two of the Road Trip. It was Saturday morning and we woke refreshed in St. Pete, ready to look at two old boats. The 1990 Pacific Seacraft in St. Pete and the Hinterhoeller in Punta Gorda (another hour and a half haul).
So, the 1990 Pacific Seacraft. We were looking at this one to compare it to the 2000 model we had taken out for my first sail a few weeks back. It must be true what they say – you always hold a bit of a soft spot for your first (that or a blissfully-skewed image at least) – because if the 2000 Seacraft was akin to my hot, high school boyfriend, the 1990 was the pot-bellied, balding version of him at the 20-year reunion. Just not the same spark. The 1990 also had not been well-maintained (think hair loss and weight gain for a boat), and it was all wood below so it felt very dark and constricted.
We were interested but certainly not enamored. Thankfully, we had a couple more to look at. We also had a few hours to kill before we had to meet the broker in Punta Gorda, so we wandered around St. Pete a bit and stumbled onto a quaint little Farmer’s Market (http://www.saturdaymorningmarket.com/). You’ll be thrilled to know I found it a complete happenstance that they called it the ‘Saturday Morning Market’ and we were there on a Saturday morning. “Phillip, can you believe that? What a coincidence!” Phillip winced a bit from my wicked intelligence. It is scary sometimes how smart I am. Just scary.
But, we had a fantastic time toodling around that appropriately-named little place. There was great art:
Great food (we split a mouth-watering Margherita pizza):
And great drink (cocunut water right out of a coconut!):
(Yes, that’s Phillip and I. We look that good. It’s the coconut water.)
But, we had to pack it up and get back on the road. The Hinterhoeller had certainly wooed our broker, and we were eager to lay eyes on her. So, it was off to Punta Gorda for round two of the road trip boats.
A lot of people have asked me: “A sailboat? Really? Nights and days on end, stuck together on a tiny, little boat? Annie, are you sure?” And, I can tell you, the best way to find out if you can spend hours cramped in a tiny space with someone without beginning to plot their slow, painful death, is to jump in the car and cover 1,200 miles in one weekend. That will tell you real quick. And tell us it did. Phillip and I, despite all odds, had a fantastic time. Road trip!!
We had three boats to look at in three days:
1. A 1990 Pacific Seacraft (same model as the “Mercedes” we had previously considered but ten years older and about half the price): St. Petersburg, FL.
2. A 1985 Hinterhoeller Niagra (Canadian built, a new one for us, but one our broker repeatedly said he had a “really good feeling about”): Punta Gorda, FL.
3. A 1989 Tayana 37 (recall this is the “tank with sails” builder and this boat reportedly had “all the bells and whistles”): Daytona Beach, FL.
It was going to be quite the haul (know that I debated saying “quite the hull” to really capitalize on a cheesy joke, but I decided to forego it):
We left on a Friday afternoon, right after my first visit to the knee doctor. Good news it was not a torn ACL like I thought (I had been down that road before with a gymnastic’s injury to the left knee in high school and knew what an ordeal that would be – not to mention, an appalling hindrance to my sailing endeavors!) but I did sprain just about every ligament in there, particularly my MCL.
My knee was filled with fluid and had a range of only about zero to thirty degrees. Yeah, exactly … not much. But, he drained that puppy and it felt like he sucked the spawn of Satan out of my knee. (Yes, through a syringe. Spawn are small. But, word to the wise, don’t ever Google “spawn of Satan” looking for an image … just don’t). Then he slapped a brace on me and sent me packing. So, Phillip and I, and the newly-engaged torture rack on my leg, hit the road.
We made it down to Ocala, Florida around 9:00 p.m. and stopped at Amrit Palace, a tucked-away little gem of an Indian restaurant (http://amritpalace.com/), to gorge on some incredible chicken tiki masala (recipe for the foodies out there: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/chicken-tikka-masala) and piles of soft, warm Naan bread. We finally made it to the hotel in St. Pete around 11:00 p.m. that night, exhausted from the trip but eager to get up the next day and poke around on some beautiful boats! The morning would begin with a visit to the 1990 Pacific Seacraft in St. Pete, with the Hinterhoeller in Punta Gorda slated for the afternoon. We crashed hard, without any meds, while visions of sailboats danced in our heads …
While the Pacific Seacraft was undoubtedly a quality boat, we were still struggling to justify the price. It was going to require some serious penny-pinching for us just to get the boat and another disheartening sum to get it in cruising condition. Instead of “Yes, I’ll have the veal scallopini, please,” we were going to be that embarrassing couple that brings their own PB&Js to the restaurant and then cleans out the table condiments and the mint bowl on the way out. You really don’t get invited back much after a scene like that plays out, trust me. So, after some thought and a smart nudge from our broker (thanks Kevin!), we decided to take a look at some “Toyotas,” i.e., older, more affordable boats that boasted the same cruising capability for half the price.
One of the first boats that fit this bill was a Morgan 382 that had just come in from a circumnavigation. Yes, that means exactly what you think it means. All the way around the world. Not only is that just awesome. Period. But the fact that the boat had been used, really used, and had proven itself, was definitely a confidence-builder, and it was priced well.
But, others had the same idea and were chomping at the bit to see this boat too, so we had to move quick. Luckily, Phillip already had a trip on the books down to Panama City where they were docked so he squeezed in a detour to the marina to check it out. Sadly, though, it had two major downfalls. The cockpit benches were cut out on each side to allow maneuverability around the massive (a.k.a. big, honking) steering wheel.
Meaning, you could not stretch out in the cockpit. This was a deal-breaker for us. As Phillip explained it to me: “The cockpit is like your living room. It’s where you’ll spend most of your time. It’s got to be comfortable.” So, the T-shape cutout in the cockpit was a big downer, but that wasn’t the only thing. Phillip also found, while it was beautiful, the galley and salon felt tight and cramped, even for a 38-foot boat.
Like I said in the beginning, you just know when you step on the boat, and Phillip knew when he stepped on this one that it wasn’t right for us.
So, the Morgan was a no-go. But, to optimize Phillip’s time in PC, our trusty broker had lined up a viewing for him of a Tayana 37 that had already sold but was still in the marina and available for some good poking around. Tayanas are built in Taiwan and are hand-crafted, each one of them, which makes each one unique, and the woodwork is exquisite. Think carvings and shapings worthy of an old Spanish chapel. They’re also sturdy as hell. It’s like a tank … on the water … with sails on it.
Phillip really liked the build of the Tayanas so we decided to add them to the list. In all, we knew we were pleased with the quality and performance of the older boats, not to mention the affordability, so a Toyota it was going to be. We were now squarely on the hunt for a good ‘ole (emphasis on ‘ole) boat!