Buying a boat – it’s all about compromise

We have come to learn that buying a boat is all about compromise. A centre cockpit boat generally has a large aft cabin with a queen size bed you can get out of either side, but the cockpit tends to be smaller; mass production boats such as Beneteau are lighter therefore better in the light winds of the Med and Caribbean but less than optimal in big seas; longer boats, more living space but higher marina fees and bigger sail area to handle when short-handed; and so it goes on. Of course, for us, price was also a big consideration. 

For us a live aboard boat had to have a bed that didn’t require advanced yoga to get out of and 1.9m of headroom if Ian wasn’t to develop a permanent crick in his neck. 43 to 45 foot seemed to be the optimal length and boats with an asking price around £85k were the target.

A quick side note on asking price, our logic (Ian’s logic) was there are lots of boats on the market, most of them sitting around costing money, so somebody will be open to a cheeky offer. After all anything is only worth what people are willing to pay, and in the case of these boats it would seem nobody was willing to pay what the owner or broker thought they were worth. It would seem not.  We put offers in on several boats,  all of which were politely declined.  However, twelve months later, the majority of those we offered on, are still for sale. Perhaps having a boat is more than just owning an asset; certainly in the case of one gentlemen selling a very nice Moody 44, it is clear from the outset that he didn’t really want to sell.

When looking for a solid live aboard yacht several names are going to turn-up; Halberg Rassy, Oyster, Swan, Contest, and Moody. We looked at a couple of Halberg’s, an Oyster and a Swan. They are very solid boats, but they are also expensive. Our budget pushed us towards these manufacturers 1980’s boats and the designs of the times didn’t seem to provide the living space we felt we needed. A very nice Contest 43 ticked all the boxes, had been on the market for over two years but our offer was declined (as I write it’s still for sale!). As we eliminated various boats it looked like a Moody was the way forward. We started with the 419, a bulkhead restricted the berth length to 1.9m – reject; on paper we were very excited about the 425 but there was no storage, it seemed like every locker had a tank in it – reject; onto the 44, we viewed a great example but it was silly money, tracked down a nice looking boat in Lefkas but it is impossible to get there in the winter to view and the broker was as helpful as a not very helpful thing.

As winter 2015 approached it was time for a review of the plan. Beneteau produce a centre cockpit range, the Oceanis CC. Now many forums are less than complimentary about what they refer to as Average White Boats (AWB), but Beneteau have mastered mass production which is good on price and whilst they are light boats, plenty successfully complete the ARC each year and the Southern Ocean isn’t on our plan. The Oceanis 44CC, on paper, looked like a contender. We also brought older Bavaria’s into the search. Having chartered several new Bavaria’s we were of the opinion they are built to a price and that price was targeting the bottom end of the charter market. They felt flimsy so were definitely not an option. However, our good friends William and Suzanne had recently purchased a 2001 Bavaria, SY Buccaneero. She is a solid boat with quality fittings. This called for further investigation and we discovered through the 90’s Bavaria built solid boats with ambitions to compete with the Swedish manufacturers (Halberg et al). Bavaria were now on the list which lead us, through Sarah’s persistent Googling, to a private sale of a Bavaria 430 Lagoon, SY Linea. Along with the 430 Atlantic this looks to have been a short production run from the early 90’s, presumably Bavaria’s ambition to compete with the Swedes didn’t extend to them being as profitable. The vendor, Pim, had owned Linea for over twelve years and lived aboard for ten of them. Prior to that she had spent much of her life cruising the Med in the summer and on the hard for the winter. She is well equipped for live aboard and clearly has been loved. On a cold December day we departed England for a boat viewing in Portugal. We also took the opportunity to view an Oceanis 44CC which happened to be for sale in the same marina, she was fine boat but set-up for occasional cruising, Linea was kitted out for living aboard. The deal was done, and money started to pour out of our account. As we confirmed the deal over a cold beer we shared with Pim the adage, “The two happiest days of a yacht owner’s life are the day they buy the boat and the day the sell it.” Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to be the happiest day of Pim’s life, he had tears in his eyes.  He is going to miss life afloat.

Bavaria 430 Lagoon interior layout
So what are the compromises on Linea?

She has a centre line bed, so no yoga, but she also has an aft cockpit so the head height above the bed is restricted, no sitting up in bed for morning tea. To create the full width aft cabin the designers have incorporated a high bridge in the companion way which is great for preventing water getting down below but may turn out to be annoying for access down below.

Ocean going, we shall see. She has a fin keel so in big seas she won’t be as sea kindly as a long keel, but our keel is winged which apparently dampens the rise and fall of the hull.

Name, it’s a Bavaria, and without a doubt if Linea carried a different manufacturers badge the price would have been higher. We shall see how this effects when it comes time to sell, assuming we ever do!

More boat details here.

7 thoughts on “Buying a boat – it’s all about compromise”

  1. Wow awesome …. great update….I am so excited for you. It sounds like the trip is on. I love traveling stories, blogs, and novels. Like travels with Charley by Steinbeck…which I read while hitchhiking to Alaska. Can’t wait to here about your itinerary. I’m on the edge of my seat. I think I may be a little nervous for you. Wonderful!!!

    1. Thanks Mark. I think I’m a little nervous for us too, but that should be a good thing to help keep us on our toes. So glad that you’re enjoying the read. I loved Paul Theroux books and bill Bryson and remember being enthral led by Eric Newby’s Walk in the Hindu Kush which I read years ago. Love to all the family. Please would you point Heather in the direction of our blog? Cheers Sx

  2. Sarah you sound like a proper harden sailor already, not to mention a budding travel writer! Are alreadyll plans still on track?

    1. Enjoying the writing, thanks Claire. Into Phase Three so far and it’s going according to plan! Soon be actually on Linea. Missing The Shire and quiz nights!

  3. We will all be thinking of you both. I am assuming that it all begins in earnest next week, no turning back!!!

  4. Hi,

    We are looking at purchasing a Bavaria lagoon 430. Wonder if I can email you direct to ask some questions.

    Many thanks,

Leave a Reply