Once we had decided to sail off into the Blue Yonder, much of the planning, surely, had to involve the buying of a boat?
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a couple in possession of a quarter of their pension, must be in want of a boat.” to paraphrase Jane Austin.
Who would have thought it would be so tricky? After my initial forays into the delights of websites like Yachtworld and Apollo Duck! (I kid you not!) I soon realised there was more to it. MUCH more.
This was clearly going to need greater effort, and, much to Ian’s joy, it would need a spreadsheet. No, wait a mo, a number of spread sheets!
One comparing our favourites and scoring them according to their various attributes and our requirements; one listing all the main facts and figures about each boat; one listing our favourites in order of their total scores; one with the motion comfort scores; one with specific data for each boat.
Who would have thought I’d have to get my head round terminology that was so completely alien as to involve actual physics! Dr Chew, my physics teacher at SGHS would be surprised to hear that I was labouring to understand baffling terms such as the angle of vanishing stability and the ballast ratio.
Not only that, I have had to read up on and work out the benefits of skeg hung rudders over balanced rudders, bulb keels over fin keels; in-mast furling over slab reefing!
As time went on, and I became more knowledgeable, it gradually began to dawn on me that finding the right boat, in the right place at the right price was all about compromise.
Together, Ian and I have tussled with weighing up old and strong, against newer and lighter; slightly scruffy but built to cross oceans, with clean, fresh and open accommodation; heavy and comfortable in waves against lighter and faster in less wind; solid and dependable against extra expense when things break or need replacing; newer and less expensive against a good angle of vanishing stability and ballast ratio.
One of the other problems is that these boats that we have spent hours pouring over on the internet are often in marinas far from Yorkshire. Just as when you are buying a house, it is important to be able to see, feel, touch and, most importantly, smell the boat before deciding to buy.
Our latest strategy is to say that we’re interested and then put an offer in. If the owners are open to the offer, only at that stage can we begin to appoint a marine surveyor and think about booking flights.
So far, we have looked at hundreds, short-listed a few, visited a handful, offered on a couple and wished we had more to spend on every occasion!
Softly, softly, catchy monkey! The right one will come along in due course and with a fair wind!
We will keep you posted.