Our first venture into really looking at a boat the second time around was on a long layover Paula had in San Diego. Although we knew we really wanted a boat on the east coast, we had a broker show us a few boats. Tom had a Grand Banks 42 in mind as the “right” boat. But once we got on one, we quickly saw that this was not our boat. While a GB is a very nice boat, it just did not seem to meet our desires. We also looked at a couple of other boats, but nothing really seemed to shout, “Pick me; I’m the right boat for you!”
Tom talked with Bud, the river passenger, a little more and he suggested including the DeFever 44 in our shopping. Just looking at them on the Internet was enough to tell us this was more our style and we were eager to see one in person, which happened soon in Florida. We are not really sure if it was a good thing or not, but the first one we stepped on was, as Paula called it, the “Good Housekeeping” boat. The boat was immaculate, fairly well-equipped and extremely well-maintained. It was also way over-priced.
It was at lunch after looking at the “Good Housekeeping” boat (named for its owners), that we came up with the names for the boat and dinghy, all designed out on a napkin in a little coffee shop…and we didn’t even have a boat yet!
Well, that first boat became the standard as we looked at other boats. We saw one we really liked, but it was sold before we could act. At Bud’s suggestion, we joined the DeFever Cruisers Forum which turned out to be a great resource, and hooked up with a Florida boat broker. The broker showed us several boats over the next year or so, but we did not ultimately buy through him because a private seller approached us.
At one point, we thought we had found “our” boat. It was nice, well-equipped, and was going to be available in about 6 months. But 6 months turned to 9, which turned to 12, and finally, the owner decided he just could not part with it. We don’t blame him – it’s a nice boat with some nice personal custom additions and he is allowing us to steal some of his ideas! But, we were disappointed as we started the search from square one again.
One lesson all this boat shopping taught us, though, was to keep a folder of pictures of each boat considered because they will all quickly run together. You will end up asking, “Did boat A have the nice whatchamacallit, or was that boat B?” We also kept a folder of ideas we liked from different boats – either pictures we took personally, or ones we clipped from the Internet. For example, on one boat we toured, the normally very steep steps into the main stateroom had been rebuilt to make them easier to navigate. With the help of a picture, we were able to figure out how to do a similar modification to our boat.
After setting up another trip to Florida to look at a couple more Defevers with the broker, an individual approached us through the Defever Forum. On December 29, 2013 we received an email that said:
The pictures looked nice and the equipment list was impressive, so we decided it bore a trip to take a look. Due to Paula’s work schedule, Tom had to go look at it by himself. He was not on the boat for 15 minutes when he texted Paula, “I think we have found our boat!” So then the focus changed from finding a boat to buying a boat. To hear that part of the story, check out Buying a Boat.