|Midnight Sun II - at home in her slip|
New Boat or Not?Midnight Sun II, our current boat is a 1997 Hunter 42 Passage. She has been a great boat to us and IS still a great boat. But every once in a while you get the itch for a new boat....shopping on YachtWorld...or "boat porn" as Larry calls it. And somehow, I've had a feeling that I probably have one more sailboat left in me before age will force me to the dark side (trawler or even a pontoon boat!).
Over the last several months we have toiled with the idea of a new or different boat, but each time we have come back to a couple of issues: (i) what would we really need to buy to have something significantly better than Midnight Sun II?; and (ii) cost-benefit, i.e., how much money are we prepared to put into a boat and will that increase our enjoyment or use? Difficult questions! Midnight Sun II gets used most weeks and we just spent 6 months on her - so hard to think how we would use a boat more.
Item (i) became a very difficult question. I have always been intrigued with the Southerly - a monohull with a retractable keel. A very well built British boat which is featured on a sailing/travel show called "Distant Shores"see Distant Shores TV. I have been watching the used market for a couple of years, but frankly they are over-priced and rare. I guess its a case of supply and demand - not too many of them around, especially in the US and those that are looking for them, know what they want. So going back to questions (i) and (ii) above - very hard to justify. Equipment, size, and comfort would be very similar to Midnight Sun II. Yes, it may sail a little better, particularly in heavier seas or to weather, but would it really be a significantly different boat? As to cost-benefit - well prices were about high $300's to $400k. Same size boat, newer, but not really a stepwise improvement as we have all the bells and whistles on Midnight Sun II. Hmm.
|Caliber 47 LRC|
Now that was a nice boat. 47 ft Long gave it some added interior features and comforts, but it had a large bowsprit giving it a LOA of at least 54-55 ft. Price $430k, but I know they would come down a lot. The boat was like new, but still a 2008. It had been stored for most of its life.......so that would involve some projects as things start to break when coming out of hibernation! Still, if it could be purchased at the right price, it started to fit some of the criteria. It was even shoal draft (5'2") and ICW friendly. One big downside - it would not really fit in our slip behind the house due to the bowsprit.....so that would not work.
So, thinking about our slip - this now becomes criteria (iii)....we can't really go longer, can't go deeper (Midnight Sun II draws 4'11", and about 5'6" is the max draft for our canal). So we are limited to a shoal draft or retractable keel boat at 42-45 ft max length. To be honest, I was finding it hard to find a monohull that fit these criteria and really excited me more than Midnight Sun II. Have I mentioned - she is a great boat!
But how about a "double-wide"? [aka "full boat" - Dean French; aka "boat with training wheels" - Larry Cost]. Well our slip is inset from the canal, so it may stick out a bit, but no more than some other boats? It might work. The bigger question was the entrance to the canal, which is quite narrow - and would the sail drives on a cat have sufficient depth at that width? The solution was to borrow a cat and try it. As it happened, we were able to find someone with a Lagoon 440 that needed to be moved - long story, but that's the gist of it. They also wanted to sell it - but man what a project, and a floating reef! Nevertheless, I volunteered to help, if we could take a slight detour down the canal. It worked out - the 440 made it in no problem and did a 360 turn adjacent to our slip. So a cat was becoming a possibility. Maybe something a little smaller than the 440 as that has a 72 ft mast height and as such was not ICW friendly!
The used catamaran market is very active at the moment, with not too many real bargains to be found. Several reason have been put forward, including: they are just more attractive to charterers due to size and space; many of the cats in charter fleets were lost in recent hurricanes - particularly in the BVIs (affecting the supply/demand situation); many people like the stability and space; and they are just "in vogue" at the moment.
|Nautitech open 40|
We looked at new boats, but they were just "almost affordable" at best and criteria (ii) above kept raising its head. But after talking to Dream Yacht Charters and looking at their programs, we stumbled on a situation that would work for us this year. A program that would give us a substantial tax break and some income potential if we placed a boat into charter for one to two years. So "almost affordable" became "about affordable" and due to a personal financial situation, could work for us this year only. So after some considerable thought, discussion with CPAs, price negotiations, etc., we jumped in and ordered a new 2018 Lagoon 40.
New Boat! Lagoon 40We are very excited about the prospect and the beginning of a new adventure - with a full boat! lol. Yes, one with two hulls!
|Lagoon 40 - stock photo|
The delivery will be our next big adventure in itself and will satisfy a "bucket list" item of mine - to sail across the Atlantic Ocean. Stay tuned as I try to document the process of buying the boat, planning the maiden voyage, and hopefully document it on video. Already the details of the preparations are building into a daunting task.