We’re not going all the way Down East, but we are heading east to Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts with a goal of viewing boats. The stronger likelihood is we’ll spend hours in sweltering traffic jams, but if you want to buy a boat there’s an order of magnitude more of ’em along the mid-Atlantic seaboard than there are out here in God’s country. Good news? And there is good news. The good news is that we’ve narrowed our list down to 43 possible alternatives ranging in price from $95,000 to $389,000. Given that any of these boats are likely to ‘get us there’ it’s remarkable that there’s an almost 4X cost spread from top to bottom. The differences aren’t all build quality and can only, I guess, be ascribed to successful marketing.
After all the reading, and the short-listing, and the opinionated reassurances gleaned from legions of sailing forum dwellers (who have, frankly, no experience with your particular boat) our decision will be some mystical reckoning of the surveyor’s report, refit costs, negotiated price, and the sort of energy given off by the boat herself. Because, after all, boats speak to you – and as a sailor you should listen. To those with dreams of sailing deep waters with the big fish, boats content with living at the dock will be distant and aloof. The livelier types will call to you. Eagerly pulling at their painters so they can head off to the ends of the earth. As a buyer you have to feel and read these energies and distinguish between caution and fear, competence and desire, youth and experience. And whether, despite all the right vibes, the poor vessel is really just too damn old for the trip. (Cue metaphor police.)
At its heart sailing is a kinetic, omni-dimensional balance of natural forces and spiritual exploration. Your boat is an active partner to whom you have to open your heart and your mind so you can make the best decision you can within your constraints. As Buckeroo Banzai might have said, don’t embarrass us – your lives depend on it.