Finding the right boat, not the perfect boat

Yep, you read it right,,,,we’re off and running again trying to buy another sailboat….read on: 

After selling Tulum IV in November and looking at sailboats in earnest since then, we narrowed the search to finding the right boat,,,,,not the perfect boat.  After looking at a number of boats, we narrowed the search to three sailboats,,,,before really narrowing the search to two sailboats in the end of December.  I’ve written some of my thoughts and out-loud comments on both of these boats over the last couple months: the Aleutian 51 and the Wauquiez 43.  We like the design of both boats, but several obstacles have come up to be worked through,,,,like blowing out two eardrums at one time!  On the Wauquiez 43, we really, really like the inside design of the boat and the deck space, but it’s obvious that the original Perkins Engine will need to be replaced sooner than later.  This is a giant cash outlay looking us in the face if we bought the boat,,,,,and will need to get done soon.  I researched the actual engine and labor costs of putting a new engine and the time and trouble to simple rebuild the existing engine,,,,but someone could certainly consider a rebuilt used engine or alternative power.  Here’s one of my posts about her, below.

We’ve also heavily considered the 1976 Aleutian 51 and have received plenty of advice from experienced sailors about her, her draft and other things to consider when buying a boat of this age.  Surprisingly, after I put out this post: I heard back from now less than four (4) former or current Aleutian Owners.  These owners were from places like Spain, New Zealand/Australia and the US.   Three of these owners have bluewater experience on the Aleutian and have nothing but great things to say about its seaworthiness and ability to sail just about anywhere.  This is one of the things that has impressed us the most so far in researching the Aleutian; actual owners who have found this blog and commented so positively on a small brand of boat built over 40 years ago.  According to one source, there were only 11 total Aleutians built, selling for approx $500k in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  I can’t imagine what that cost would be today, but I know we couldn’t afford it at all.

So, late last week or earlier this week we made an offer on the Aleutian 51 and did the usual haggle back and forth over price for several days.  Only bummer about this boat is that it doesn’t come with a dinghy or outboard engine (the car of the boating world), so we’ll have to put out pure cash to take care of that mandatory equipment.  This weekend we were able to go back on the boat again prior to survey and take a more detailed look at some of the things we want the surveyor to look over and assure ourselves this will be a good home for the family.  Coming off that boat yesterday, I was able to tell myself positively that it will be a great family home and a safe boat.   We’re going to survey tomorrow (today) and we’re having a separate rig and engine survey done by specialists who will be able to give us specific recommendations for improvements or disasters waiting to happen.  After getting all three survey’s back in writing, we’ll proceed to play the finance game with the bank, especially on a 40+-year-old boat with no comparables (comps).  If you want to take a look at her, here’s the link: Aleutian 51.

Wow,,,,yep we made an offer on another sailboat and we’re already going to survey,,,,today.


3 Responses

    1. Mike, so sorry it’s taken so long for a response. Having some challenges that I’ll discuss by post with the Aleutian, can’t really discuss right now as we’re actively working on possible solutions, but have not even applied for financing yet, work in progress.

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