Janet and I have been diligently examining many of the yachts-for-sale websites in order to start winnowing the field to a few different manufacturers and models that appear worthy of a closer personal look.
We found two boats that we wanted to look at, so our broker here in Daytona made the arrangements. The downside was that both of the boats were on the west coast of Florida, and we are on the east coast, so it was going to involve an almost 6 hour round trip, not including local traffic.
One boat was a 47 foot Sealine located in Clearwater, and the other was a 40 foot Meridian berthed in South Pasadena, which is just south of St. Petersburg. We set off early Sunday morning, bound for the St. Pete area.
I’d told the broker showing the 40 footer that we planned to be there between 11:00 and noon, and when we pulled into the marina parking lot, Janet asked me what time it was…”11:03, I replied”.
So Janet, what do you think of your OCD engineer time-sensitive husband now, huh?
We found the boat, and noticed that there was a guy on board wiping things down with paper towels. Ahhh, we thought… getting it all spiffed up for us to look at.
I walked up and introduced myself, and he confirmed that he was the broker, then said the words you hardly ever want to hear. “You’re not going to believe what happened.”
We stepped aboard and found the interior of the boat completely and utterly soaked. The carpet squished underfoot, the wood floor in the galley was covered with soggy paper towels, and in the lower stateroom, water stood an inch deep on the carpet.
While I don’t know exactly what happened, his suspicion and mine is that it was related to the air conditioning system. In a boat this size, the a/c system uses the water the boat is floating in as a cooling medium. A pump in the boat pulls water into the boat and pushes it through the heat exchanger portion of the a/c system. This allows heat from the hot air in the boat to be transferred to the water, and the now-slightly-warmer water is then discharged back overboard through a variety of plumbing arrangements, depending on the manufacturer.
The best we could guess was that sometime during the night, something had plugged up the overflow drains for the air conditioning system and the pump, doing what pumps are supposed to do, just kept on pumping. Since the water stream couldn’t make its way overboard, it had to go somewhere, so it came up through the sinks. It’s entirely possible that if he hadn’t opened the boat that morning to get it ready for our visit, the back flow could have continued to the point that the boat would have sunk.
The boat was less than five years old, and was a real looker, but there’s an old adage in boating…”white side up, and water belongs on the outside”.
We saw enough of the boat to realize it would have been too small for our needs anyway, but I sure felt sorry for that broker as we were driving away. Not only did he lose a sale, he darn near lost the boat.
By this time, my son Nick had joined us, so we all drove to Gulfport a few miles away and had a very nice brunch. Then it was time to drive north a bit to Clearwater to look at the 47 footer. When we got there and stepped aboard, we quickly realized that her best days were way behind her. Everywhere I looked, I saw “projects” and I don’t want another project boat.
We plan on taking a few more boat viewing trips over the next few weeks, and we’re pretty sure we’ll be able to narrow our search to just one or two manufacturers/models, and that’s when the broker here in Daytona will start earning his keep.