After a bit of research, I’ve determined that the number of stars in the universe, and the number of different types of boats there are to choose from are approximately equal.
There are also a vast number of attributes that boats can have, such as passenger capacity, cruising speed, piloting arrangements, power, age, ad nauseam.
For each attribute of course, there are several permutations…single cabin, double cabin, triple cabin, one, two or three heads, slow boat, fast boat, lower helm only, upper helm only, lower helm AND upper helm, single engine, twin engine, straight shaft, pod drive, new boat, old boat…the list is endless.
So, now that Magic Carpet, our 1990 Ocean Yachts 56′ Cockpit Motor Yacht has been sold, and we are in the market for our next boat, where do we start?
I think we’ll start with age. When we bought Magic Carpet, she was twenty years old. That isn’t much if you’re a human, but for a boat, a lot can happen in twenty years. With Magic Carpet, some things were found during the survey, but others were found once we took possession. In both cases, the infusion of Boat Bucks was the solution. (For the nautically uninformed, a single Boat Buck equates to one thousand terrestrial dollars.)
There’s an old saying in the boating community that a boat is simply a large hole in the water into which the owner throws money. While that’s pretty accurate for a boat of any vintage, it seems that generally, the older the boat, the more frequently that hole needs filling. Having sent far too many Boat Bucks to their watery grave, we want something several years younger this time, hoping to slow the hemorrhaging of cash.
So how new is new enough? Good question. Our first thought was new. As in brand new. As in, nobody else has owned it yet. Then we looked at our bank statement, laughed heartily and immediately scrapped that idea.
So we said “OK, 10 years old or newer is what we’ll look for.” That would mean boats manufactured during or after 2007 would be in the hunt.
And then Janet discovered something while perusing Yachtworld.com, a website that is to boaters, as crystal meth is to tweakers. Once you’re on it, you just can’t get off. What she found is that the number of selections for the years 2008 through about 2011, depending on the manufacturer, are pretty slim compared to years before and after that range. To our untrained eyes, it looks like the result of a slowdown of production during those dark years of the Great Recession. Not as many produced equates to not as many available on the used boat market, ergo, a three or four year stretch has been effectively removed from our selection pool.
The problem with that is, for a boat with some of the other attributes we think we want, which I will disclose and discuss in future essays, as their vintage creeps closer to the current day, the asking price creeps upward. In some cases, it skyrockets upward.
So it looks like we may have to go back a couple years further than we would have liked in order to find the volume of boats to choose from that we need. That just means that if we find one we like, and decide to go see it “in the flesh”, we’ll have to be particularly diligent in our inspection. Having gone through so many changes and improvements with Magic Carpet, we have a much better idea this time what to look for, what we can deal with, and what to run from.
I’ll be back soon with further discussion of our thought process as we look for our next aquatic adventure ride.