|Our next boat? Not likely. I took this in Simpson Bay, St. Maarten. It's the biggest sloop in the world!|
When Scott and I bought Rasmus we were total, utter newbies when it came to boat ownership. Fast forward to now - two years and 5,500 nautical miles later - we have a literal boat load of experience to draw from and boat buying has morphed into whole different beast. How? It's a heck of a lot harder.
Then it hit me. Buying a boat is not unlike dating...
When you buy your first boat, you're buying what you *think* you want. You look at boats with wide, excited eyes, and often underestimate the amount of work that needs to be done. You, more than likely, will look at a pretty boat and imagine yourself sailing off into the sunset on her; trimming her sails on a nice broad reach as you glide effortlessly across the fine blue waters of the Bahamas or Caribbean. Her glossy teak deck accents will bring out the romantic in you, the nice and cozy interior will make you swoon. Her electronic suite will be a bonus, her rigging will be an afterthought and her newly painted hull will shine with perfection in the sunlight...you will be smitten and, despite what the experts tell you, you will fall in love...
When you buy your second boat, you buy what you *know* you want. You'll look at that same pretty boat with skepticism. Sure, she looks nice on the outside... But you know what? It's what's inside that counts. You'll imagine sailing away on her all right, but you're going to want to look at those sails and find out how old they are and if they need to be replaced. You'll visualize how that very boat will treat you in a nasty squall and you'll picture how that cozy interior will react in eight to ten foot seas. That exterior teak? It will make you cringe as you imagine the many, many hours of maintenance you know it will require to maintain. Those electronics are going to actually matter and you'll want to see if wires are zip-tied properly behind the electric panel. You'll go through an old survey with a fine-toothed comb and you will inspect the rigging, engine and hoses with the precision of a CSI detective. You'll look at that glossy, freshly painted hull and wonder "What are they hiding?"
You see, boat buying gets progressively more difficult with each and every boat as you start to really learn what works best for your situation and you discover what you really want. You become more specific, more picky, and you learn to see past the slick exteriors and broker B.S. You don't want to waste time and rush into anything that isn't going to last, you want to make sure you make the right choice for the long haul. After all, you put your heart and soul (and a lot of blood, sweat and tears) into your first boat and when the time comes to buy your second, you just want to go sailing in something that will treat you well and keep you safe. You're not interested in a fixer-upper any more.
As most of you know - Scott and I spent over a year refitting Rasmus. She got new sails, new electronics, a new engine, a new watermaker, new rigging, new boom and the list goes on...she went from a great weekend boat to a tried and true blue water cruiser that we put a ton of TLC into. We had a blast doing all the work we did to her and wouldn't trade the time we spent with her for the world. After all, she is our first love and she'll always hold a special spot in our hearts. But you know what? We don't want to do it again. Plain and simple. Sure, some work here and there on our next boat is inevitable - but a total refit is not something we are interested in. We're smarter, more mature and a lot more experienced this time around.
Like any first true love, Rasmus is going to be a very hard act to follow, we know that. But our next boat is out there, we can feel it. We've still got a lot to learn and I'm sure we'll fall in love again, but we're going to court for a good long while before we do and - until we find the right one - we know there will always be more ships in the sea.