Lawdawg, we went through exactly the same process last year.
We used a broker, George Coggeshall
from the Catamaran
Company in Fort Lauderdale
. and he was absolutely excellent.
Here's what we did: First we took a trip down to Fort Lauderdale
(from BC Canada) for a few days. The goal was to step on as many boats as possible. We ended up looking at at least 50 different catamarans for sale
, of various ages and brands.
By doing this we got a good feel of the different makes, their build quality, their layout and so on. For us we decided that we wanted heads of a decent size, not too crowded, but felt that the owners versions were a lot of extra money
for just a big shower
. The FP's seemed to be rather cheaply built and many of them were rather tatty in condition. The Lagoons were solid. Can't remember too well our impressions of some of the other brands. The 38's looked good, and would no doubt have suited us fine, but we kind of liked having just a little more room.
We also wanted to go for a boat that had already done most of its depreciation, so were happy to go for something a few years old, but wanted to stay on this side of the century divide (just thinking for resale that 2000 sounds way better than 1999)
Based on this, George had a good idea of what we liked and didn't like, and also our price range - looking for something under $250k
He then looked around wider and found us some other prospects. A few weeks later he called us up about a couple of Leopard
42's out in BVI and recommended that we make an offer on one, arrange a surveyor
to meet us out there, and fly out for a few days.
So we did.
The boat was exactly what we were looking for. It was ex charter (obviously! since almost all Leopards are ex Moorings), but still in good condition, and surveyed well.
Our offer was accepted after a little bit of haggling - and we had ourselves a boat! $235k for a 2002 model.
The boat was actual purchased by our company, and was put into charter for the coming season at Conch Charters in Tortola (actually where the boat was currently lying). They were excellent, and the charter income
paid for all the fixing up and maintenance
issues, plus a lot of new gear
(like new sails
This meant the boat was ready, and almost looking like new, when we took it out of charter in June this year.
So far we have been VERY happy with our choice. My girlfriend and I handle it easily, it is comfortable and roomy, and seems very solidly built (as you would expect from a charter boat). No, we haven't yet done any big crossings in it, but now that we have sailed a few hundred miles and have confidence in the gear
, we wouldn't have any concerns about that.
So, a bit of a ramble there - but bottom line was:
a) a broker was very helpful - I don't know how we could have done it otherwise.
b) seeing a LOT of boats was very helpful
You can read our early adventures on board here: http:/lifepart2.info
So I wish you well in your search - and maybe will see you afloat one day! :-)