Thoughts on the First Part

The First 6 Months post.

Nate, 

A great site and inspiration!

I am on the same path; actively searching for a used Lagoon 380 or Leopard 38.  

Just some questions:

If you were starting your adventure would you stay a few months US stateside for the refit?

With your refit time/expenses would you purchase a newer more equipped boat?

How’s the sailing learning curve?

Any words of advice? 

—————

In order:

A great site and inspiration!

I am on the same path; actively searching for a used Lagoon 380 or Leopard 38.  

  • Awesome!  Boat buying isn’t easy.  I literally got an email from a friend the other day that said:  Buying a boat is a big pain in the ass.  Sellers don’t respond, brokers don’t call back, no one gives a shit about the buyer.  I F*CKING HATE IT  The best advice, which I didn’t take, was that a successful purchase depends on your ability to visit a ton of boats and pass on many – before even making an offer.  In hindsight, I agree entirely with that sentiment – though I’m not convinced that I could have done too much better.   That said, I would have went into this with my eyes a bit more open.  Both of those models you mention will do the job – find one you like and that has been well-maintained and well-loved. If there isn’t a long list of recent upgrades, don’t waste your time (unless you get a big discount, of course).

If you were starting your adventure would you stay a few months US stateside for the refit?

  • Absolutely.  If I bought the boat in the US (or it was in reasonable sailing range) I would certainly stay there for the refit.  The ideal place for a refit is the US, most likely Florida.  I’ve heard arguments for Puerto Rico as well.  The access to knowledge (internet and boat-people), the access to high-quality parts, and the access to a high-quality postal service in the US will benefit you immensely.

With your refit time/expenses would you purchase a newer more equipped boat?

  • Maybe.  This is tough.  Every cent spent was a learning experience.  That said, there were a couple of better-maintained and equally well-equipped Lagoons that came onto the market a couple of months after I purchased mine.  Of course they were more money.  Significantly more money, actually – but there’s an argument that my sanity and time are worth money too.  That’s an unsubstantiated argument, presently, though.  It depends on how hard your budget is, me thinks.  If I were to say I’d purchase a boat that was X– it would be a better maintained boat (newer and better equipped pale in comparison), but of course, I wouldn’t want to pay any more 🙂

How’s the sailing learning curve?

  • Steep, but sailing is the easy part.  It’s fun and you’ll probably like it.  Especially on a smaller catamaran that is a) stable b) comfortable c) fast d) manageable to sail solo.  The boats you’re looking at really nail that – though I would personally give a bit of an edge to the Lagoon 380. Obviously I’m biased.  I personally struggle more with boat maintenance, troubleshooting, etc than with sailing.

Any words of advice? 

  • I’ll try…
    • Join the owners group of any make of catamaran you are looking at and don’t be afraid to ask them for advice. Understand that they’re clearly biased in favor of that make.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and opinions, but take all of them with a grain of salt.  Sailors are, by nature: stubborn, sure they are right, and deeply opinionated.  For proof of that – start a conversation in a sailing bar with “I really like my CQR/Fortress/Rochna anchor, it’s the best.”  Guys who drag anchor in 15 knots of wind quickly find themselves anchor-experts.
    • This (cruising) really is one of those things that you have to do to understand.  Some coastal sailing can help give you a feel for it.  If you’ve been sailing for 20 years, you’ll have a grasp as well.  But dealing with boat maintenance, red tape, and general living in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language – while you’re trying to learn this lifestyle – isn’t for the faint of heart.  But you can do it.  Anyone can, with the proper mindset.  I knew nothing, I still know very little – but I can get from place to place and solve most major problems.
    • That’s the key to the whole thing – mindset and problem solving.  It’s definitely not easy, it’s definitely not a cakewalk, but it can be done and the rewards can be remarkable.
    • When you’re boat shopping, you’re in the driver’s seat.  Don’t let your boat broker, the boat seller, or anyone else make you feel otherwise.  You have the cash, and cash is king.  The broker wants to make a deal so he gets paid.  The seller wants to offload a rapidly depreciating asset that is a maintenance headache.  Be patient, don’t feel pressured, and if you don’t feel like you’re getting the right service – look elsewhere.  YOU have cash.  YOU are in the driver’s seat, end of story.
    • Take a look at the boats one level up (in the range of the Lagoon 410), if they interest you.  The space isn’t as well used, but they have dramatically more, and with a bit of practice they aren’t much harder to sail.  Of course, budget becomes a real factor here.
    • Get everything you want in the contract.  Don’t take anyone’s word for anything.  “It all comes with the boat” is a great way to end up with a stripped boat, if it’s not line-itemed in the contract.  Send the most qualified inspector you can find (get recommendations and previous copies of their inspection reports).  If you ask for repairs, send the inspector back to validate those repairs.  Never, ever expect something to be finished after the money changes hands.
    • Everything boat related takes 5X as long and costs 3X as much as you suspect.  Count on that, and you won’t blow budgets or set yourself up for schedule-stress.
    • When in doubt, reef.  Weather is king.  Schedules are for suckers. I failed on all of those counts, but it helps to say it 🙂
    • Finally – there will be days when you wonder if you’re doing the right thing, but that’s proof that you’re living.  Without that occasional feeling of nagging doubt – you’re just not pushing yourself out of your comfort zone enough.  The vast majority of men live in that comfort zone, and they’ll never do anything that really inspires people. Once you’ve done something like this, the conversations about interest rates at cocktail parties seem remarkably dull.

Most importantly – good luck, and I genuinely hope to bump into you out here.  “Out here” is a great place to be.

Thoughts on the First Part

Killing Time

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