The sailing journey continues with the revelation that Naiad – our home-built sailing boat and home – isn’t big enough. Gonna need a bigger boat!
Taking 9.5 years to build Naiad (a Bruce Roberts 28′ Motor Sailor), launching, setting sail across 2 Australian eastern States, extending Naiad to 34′, more sailing, and living full-time on Naiad, the time has finally come…
Need to apologise in advance for the quality of some of these 35mm film photos from a lifetime ago. Life aboard a boat is not a great environment in which to store film. I’m not great at scanning negatives either.
By 2005, Naiad has been our home for around 18 years.
Enjoying coastal cruising up and down Australia’s east coast while picking up work along the way, slowly the realisation creeps in. Perhaps it’s time for a bigger and faster boat – we’ve outgrown Naiad. She’s been very good to us and always got us out of sticky situations.
But, the desire to sail further afield beckons and so, a new dream is born. A new era. The search for a bigger boat.
No, not building a boat this time, going to buy one. A production boat. A plastic boat. My nickname for a boat built from fibreglass. This nickname is after building and living on a steel boat for almost 2 decades.
Perhaps this never crossed your mind. But, if you hit a reef or run aground in a steel boat it’s a little more forgiving than fibreglass, wood, or Ferro cement.
I’ve had this conversation with other yachties over the years, and everyone has their own view. Although for me, steel is a little more comforting.
After the blood, sweat, and tears that went into building Naiad, this new venture of buying a boat seems both scary and quite daunting. Not to mention also very expensive. Naiad also needs to be sold at some point.
I’m sharing a few extra photos with you of the Australian east coast for your delectation.
Researching a boat
While sailing in the Whitsunday Islands over 2005/2006, we take the liberty to check out as many different sailing boat designs as possible.
This is a great way to learn the pros and cons of different designs, so approach charter companies as there are loads in the Whitsundays.
Owners of charter boats are always eager to discuss their fleet and openly discuss what they do and don’t like about each design. Talk to an owner long enough and eventually, you’re welcomed aboard – as long as they’re not busy. It’s a great way to see internal designs without the pressure of purchasing or listening to a salesman.
Deciding on a design
More research. Checking out loads of designs in the flesh. Dragging ourselves to a couple of boat shows. Listening to the painful sales spiel of why a boat is excellent for our needs, not what we want from a boat. And after 18 months, we find The One.
No, I don’t mean the actual boat. Just choose the design to concentrate our efforts on. It’s an American design and built Catalina 400 Mk II, but decide that it can’t be older than 10 years. The Catalina is such a beautiful boat…
…and a Catalina have a very good reputation as strong-built cruising boat. This roomy lovely-looking boat ticks all the boxes and then some, but there is just one small hitch…
Searching the globe
A Catalina of any size is not an easy boat to find in Australia.
If such an animal exists, typically, the price tag is hideously expensive and much higher than what we can afford. The couple of Catalinas that are available in Australia are ridiculously expensive. So, starts the search for a boat overseas.
You need to remember that at this point, we have some sailing miles under our belt. Albeit coastal and not blue water passages. If you throw in also living on Naiad for such a long time, then we already know exactly what we want in the next boat. What works and what doesn’t for us…
Remember, all boats are compromises and there are always drawbacks. There’s no such thing as the perfect boat.
Whether it’s a steel boat that rusts, a fibreglass boat that gets osmosis, a timber boat that experiences worm, or a Ferro cement boat that rusts from the inside out – all materials have their problems.
Let’s face it when something is constantly submerged in an unfriendly watery environment drenched in salt, this definitely creates loads of issues.
How do you narrow an overseas market?
With the world as our oyster now and thousands of available boats, all of this can be quite overwhelming.
So, how do you narrow down the search for a boat around the world?
Easy. Pick a design and stick to it. Don’t deviate. Otherwise, you’ll never full-fill your dream. You’ll find yourself 5 years down the track still looking for the perfect boat.
Decide on whether you’re going to sail it back to your home country immediately, ship it back (very expensive), or cruise for several years. And, eventually return to your home country slowly – across the Pacific in our instance.
After an extensive search, we find 8 boats around New York and also another couple in other areas of the US. With numerous emails back and forth to brokers a month before leaving Australia, we are sure we’ll be buying another boat.
Throughout email communication, US-brokers seem very eager to help and also to take our money. Maybe it’s because we’re cash buyers.
I’m hoping that we don’t have any hassles after landing in New York and meeting these thirsty brokers. After all, we’ll be a long way from home and at the mercy of salespeople…