I started off looking at boats in general, and quickly learned that excellent condition depends heavily on your reference point. I looked at one late 80’s center cockpit ketch
with one end of the dolphin striker completely rusted through, dangling in the water
. This was a boat that was “ready to go”!
My first big shopping
trip was to the Catamaran Company in Fort Lauderdale
. They had about a dozen boats on show for an open house. This was a great way to get a feel for what was available. Most of the boats were near new, and well over $200k. The exception was a FP Athena 38. It was a bit worn from charter service
, but still very serviceable. What struck me about this boat was the lack of storage
and two heads that required you to nearly sit on the toilet to brush your teeth. It seemed to me that a charter layout was a big compromise for cruising. I would rather have one good size head
than two small ones. The galley
had only one sink, the ice box was under insulated with no hope to add more. There were nearly no storage
cabinets in the cabins or the galley
. The nav station was very small, with little room for normal charts
or to add an SSB
and Pactor modem
. There was nowhere to store a significant number of charts
. The rigging
was only just adequate in size, but all done with swages that were not in very good condition. The sails
were limited and tired. The asking price was $160k. I felt I could get it in my budget
, but would not be able to fit it out with the money that was left. I also knew that I had seen these boats listed in the $130 range out of charter. More on this later. On the plus side, the boat had lots of open space and views. The cockpit
was great. It had twin engines as well, although they were tired, and located under each rear berth with almost no insulation
for heat and sound. I had more looking to do…
I went to look at a PDQ
36 in Sarasota
. It was listed at $170. I liked the layout for cruising. Three possible berths, good storage, a fiberglass
hardtop. The rigging
was decent. In talking with the owner I could see that he would not be interested in coming into my price range at the moment. The other down side was that it had outboards for power. This makes engine
and easy, but the lack of power and electrical
generation, along with having to live with large amounts of gasoline on board made me nervous. Although this one was out of my price range, I did keep the PDQ on my list.
A trip to Annapolis
had me looking at several PDQ’s, a couple of Prout 37s, and a FP Antigua
. Here I found PDQ 36s in my price range, Harriet’s included. I also got my first good look at the Prout 37. There were two listed with CCC, a family
plan at their docks, and an open plan they had not yet put on yacht world that was located at Herrington Harbor. Both looked interesting to me from various prospectives.
At the boat show
I had the chance to speak with several folks about both the PDQ and the Prout. These included John from 2 hulls, Chuck Kanter and a couple of lesser known people at the Multihulls magazine tent. What I learned was that the Prout 37 was not a speed demon and did not have as much space as other designs in her size range. But, she was a solid design with few bad handling properties. The Prout has been proven in several circumnavigations. Most were well rigged for owners and not for charter.
The family plan at the CCC dock
was best layout for my needs, but it was well used and needed some work. Not a lot of work mind you, but more that the $190k price tag deserved (it has since dropped to $170k). The open plan at HH was immaculate. Hardly used and it was listed with everything a cruiser might want, down to the weather
gear, numerous spares for everything, radar
, two water
steps, all dyform rigging, complete staylocks, dual electric
windlasses, great ground tackle, etc. Check it out for yourself at …
The only problem for me was the layout that had two cabins. I have a son and a daughter. Having them sharing a berth was not the best plan. There were also two listed with 2hulls in Florida
that sounded promising so I kept looking.
The FP Antigua was another example of a tired out of charter boat. The few cabinets were a pressboard material and were falling apart. The wiring
was terrible and there was not gear
to speak of. All of this for an asking price in the 130s.
At this time there were no Lagoon
37s to be found in my price range. Since then a couple have come on the market, and I would take a good look at them if I were still in the shopping. Both are owners versions listed around $170k. I think they would likely stretch my budget
a little too far.
A note on the Wildcat. I got a chance to look at a new one at the boat show
. They were selling them for $160 NEW! But, I spoke with more than one person who said that they were involved in purchases with the company and the boats delivered were done so late, and with numerous defects that needed repair. And, repairs
were nearly impossible to get from the builder
. There were three of these listed used when I was looking. Even the brokers had little good to say about them. Reading through back issues of multihulls, there were a couple of stories of Atlantic crossings where they either delaminated or cracked at the keel
. Both boats made it, but not without a great deal of concern. Practical Sailor found one with delaminated decks during their charter review issue. Finally, I spoke with a surveyor
that was involved with a claim where one had sunk at the dock
, from water entering a fitting on the rear step where the watertight bulkheads then failed. All of these problems were with new, or near new boats. No thanks!
A short time later I did a trip to 2hulls with my wife. We looked at two family plan Prout 37’s, a Prout 38, and later a PDQ 36 with another broker.
FYI, there was an Athena 38 at the dock that had just sold. I think it went for around $110k. There was a large crack in the keel
found during survey
, but the buyers still wanted it! This boat needed major work from top to bottom. I could not see paying this much for a boat that had a major structural problem and was just plain wore out. This was a boat that would take $40k easy to go cruising, if you did most of the work yourself.
The Prout 38 looked decent, but had water leaking in everywhere when it rained. It had the early style companionway
door that seems to be the root of some structural problems. There is a well-known web site that points these problems out. It was listed at $190. It had had an offer on it, but the buyers had bailed on it after the survey
One of the Prout 37s was in excellent condition, but had sold just prior to our arrival. The other was a possibility, but a very tired example. My wife decided she liked the Prout layout, but did not like the one we were looking at. She also liked the PDQ layout, but at this point we decided that we wanted a diesel engine
, and a boat capable of extended blue water sailing
. We just did not feel comfortable with the PDQ on a possible Atlantic crossing
. The hatches were a bit of a weak spot and the rigging and sails
would need upgrading.
We looked at one other Prout, an 80’s model. If my budget were lower and outfitting desires more bare bones, I would take a good look at that one. But when compared to the price I got on the ’93 model, I would have had to spend too much money to outfit it to the same standard.
With this in mind, we made an offer on the boat in Herrington Harbor and settled after considerable negotiations. It surveyed very well, and we closed the deal! Now time will tell if it was the right thing…
Sorry for the long winded post.
PS Next time I'll talk about the boat and what I like and don't like.