We have just returned from a weekend in Portugal where we went in search of a sailing boat that may be suitable to become our home for the foreseeable.
We were very excited to arrive in Faro and spent a lovely evening sampling tapas in a small bar near the sea front and then wandered back through the old quarter to our Air BnB accommodation.
Next day, we set off in a hire car to Vila Real de Santo Antonio which is an impressive sea front resort with beautiful, tall villas overlooking the sea, although they are less smart and polished than perhaps they once were.
We parked easily on the wide boulevard and continued on foot to our assignation with Pim, the owner of the boat, whom we were meeting in the Cacarole Restaurant near the Marina.
After introductions and a quick coffee (Euros 0.60) we were off down to the pontoon where Linea was parked. A Dutch registered Bavaria Lagoon 430, built in 1992, at a time when Bavaria built enviably solid and hefty boats. As we approached, we could see that she was incredibly well equipped, with all manner of items to make the cruising life more comfortable and safe. A wind turbine, solar panels, full sun screens, tender with large outboard engine were immediately visible.
We had a careful look at everything on deck, from the lockers to the port lights, the winches to the windlass, the cleats to the rigging and everything in between, at last it was time to go below. Over the raised access to the companionway, negotiating the bimini cover and crouching down to swivel was easier than we expected. We were deposited directly into the saloon which comprised of a curved settee, and bench seat and a linear galley sitting along the port side of the boat. Despite being full of the present owners belongs we were struck by a sense of space, in that there was plenty of head room and an overwhelming feeling of solidness and security.
There was heaps of locker space down here; somewhere for absolutely everything. We were surprised to find a huge freezer compartment hiding within the bench seat. Also numerous updates and additions from LED lights that were touch sensitive, fans plugged into USB ports, RADAR, Toughbook, remote control davit hoist, anchor windlass, auto-pilot and media centre.
The fore cabin seemed large and light with space to stand and dress and even had a seat on the port side. The bunk cabin, though compact, and full of gear, was fine and again had plenty of storage.
The aft cabin had an island bed which needed a bit of ingenuity to work out how to comfortably get in and out of, but was huge and comfy. There were seats on either side and an ensuite shower room to hand.
So far so good.
We continued to quiz Pim and were kindly asked to go sailing with him on Sunday morning.
It soon came round and we headed out of the marina to go up river to try her out. Ian was at the helm and was grinning from ear to ear. It was pretty clear that he was more and more keen. After initial negotiations on Friday, we were delighted to finally reach an agreement with Pim as to price, and shook hands warmly. Although we didn’t realise this at the time, a handshake under Dutch law is as binding as is a handshake to buy a house under Scottish Law!
As I write, Ian is flying back to Portugal to attend the boat whilst the survey is completed. Pim has given us a detailed account of all works that have been completed, all works that are still required and a comprehensive inventory of all the items on board.
So, I am happy to report that we are now proud owners of a sailing yacht.
‘Linea’ and may God bless her and all who sail in her!