The used boat buying process is very cumbersome especially if you have a high standard for boat condition. Most seller's subjective assessments of their boats are wildly inaccurate. Just since August Lisa and I have looked at over 100 boats online, considered about 25 of those, and actually looked at 7 in-person. We drove up and down the East Coast from Maryland to Florida. Every single one of the 7 boats we visited were either listed as "very well maintained" or "immaculately maintained". Five of those boats were nowhere close to that. I would judge them as barely maintained. They were floating, yes, so I guess that says something. One of the boats we drove 20 hours round trip to see was in a sad dilapidated state. I would have been embarrassed to even list that boat as anything close to immaculately maintained. Lisa and I had to chuckle out loud because the owner actually posted signs stating that his boat was "immaculately maintained" and worked "perfect" so DO NOT turn anything on or touch anything. Only two of the seven prospects were maintained to our standard to even consider purchasing.
It is a struggle for a prospective boat owner to sort through all the listings with pictures from 10 years ago, and no subjective assessment of the condition until you spend time and money to drive who knows how far to see it. Then if you decide to actually take it to the next step, you're in $1000 for a survey to only find out that the boat is barely staying afloat. All of this is of course on an "immaculately maintained" listed boat. We were even considering flying to Spain to look at another potential floating home before we finally had an accepted offer for YOLO, our soon to be retirement boat.
Now about YOLO. We made an offer on YOLO as soon as the listing came open. It is a 42' PDQ/Antares. This builder has been our gold standard for catamarans since we first started looking. We have been following them for about 10 years and were hooked when we first saw the "Barefeet" videos. While YOLO has a few years on her we couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a look. Lisa and I stopped by on our way to Cincinnati over Labor Day weekend. After just looking at the outside in person and the current online photos we made an offer. The sellers, being the shrewd owners they are, decided to reject us until the Annapolis Boat Show was complete in October. They were hoping for a higher offer to come in while Lisa and I were hoping for the opposite. Luckily for us, after the show was over we were able to come to an agreed price. Lisa and I drove 4 hours up to Deltaville, VA for the survey. Our Surveyor, Mike Grame from True Blue Marine, was fantastic. He showed up and got right to work. Since YOLO was already on the hard he started tapping the hull looking for delaminating fiberglass and wet spots. Everything was good except a small wet spot on the port rudder. We had to wait for the travel lift to put the boat in the water so he continued going through all the systems he could while the boat was on the hard. Once in the water the engines were ran up and we had a short sail around the bay.
Jason and Karen have been living aboard YOLO for the past decade and it shows. They have a smooth rhythm sailing the 42' cat around that can only be attained through years of experience. The sails, lines, and rigging all seem to be as well kept as the rest of the boat. When Mike has his list all checked off, we turn back towards Stingray Point Marina. Mike ran the list of deficiencies by us. There were a few things of note that will need to be repaired or replaced soon after we take ownership, but no deal breakers. We'll wait for the official survey report so we can forward that to our banker and insurance agent, get everything lined up and be sailing YOLO south towards Oriental by our 19th wedding anniversary.
It was great meeting the owners Jason and Karen and to hear how they have kept the boat going through 88 different countries on their circumnavigation. Hopefully Lisa and I will keep YOLO going for at least another 10 years if not longer.