Signs of spring are everywhere. Swallows are back in the sky, the sun finally shines, big storms are a a thing of the (not-so-distant) past. It’s time for us to get moving. But how?
Obviously the #1 thing we need is… a boat. We considered ourselves veterans of the process of searching for a suitable boat from afar. Everything is on the internet, and once we find a target, it’s simple enough to get in touch with the listing broker. And with a little anticipation, it’s easy to set up a series of viewings organized into a nice time schedule, fly over, hit the road, and hopefully make an offer for dream boat.
Not so with the Pacific Northwest! This is definitely not Annapolis or Fort Lauderdale. They have comparatively very few boats there. Besides, after our Loop with our catamaran Magic, we were looking for a nice and slow traditional trawler, with a single engine that would be simple to maintain, and save on fuel. But all the trawlers we could find had teak decks – which I hate – and the more modern boats looked like plastic cigars and had 2 huge engines for planning at high speed – and at high cost.
In the last couple of months, we’ve spent countless hours exploring all the sources we could dig up, boats listed with brokers as well as privately traded ones. We did find a few that we liked, but by the time we thought we had enough leads in store to organize our visit to Seattle and Vancouver, several of them were off the market, under offer, or sold!
A slight panic set in. Could we accumulate enough contacts before flying over? Or did we have to take the risk to travel with very little guarantee that we would find a nice boat?
We decided to improve on our tactics and, through recommendations, we retained a buyer’s broker in Washington State, and another one in British Columbia, to expand our search, and shorten our contacts with the selling brokers. I worked… to a point: they were helpful in pre-screening our targets, but like us, they were helpless seeing boats for sale moving so fast that the best ones were gone within a few days of their public listing.
So? The cruising season has already started, sellers and buyers have been active for weeks now, and we’re late. We cannot sit still and wait another month just to stick to our provisional planning. It’s time to move. It’s time to book flights, to find hotels, to rent cars, to print business cards, to communicate our schedule and cell phone numbers… And so, we’re flying over tomorrow, with a few viewings already booked, and the perspective of visiting a boatshow in Vancouver, where many used boats are on display for 3 days, next week.
We’ll keep searching, day after day, as we move from broker to broker, from marina to marina, hoping to hit the jackpot. But to be on the road again, how exciting!