We drove down to New Bern to look at a 36-foot Mariner. She looked good with nice traditional lines. We boarded her and headed below to take in what she had to offer and to get out of the cold wind. The layout was nice and you could tell the owners keep her clean. I pulled up a deck plate and saw more water than I would like to see in a bilge. The broker was quick to point out that all boats have water in the bilge. Tereasa and I just looked at each other and continued to look around. When Tereasa first found the boat on line she emailed the broker and asked how many hours were on the motor and the response was, "the boat originally did not come with an hour meter so it's irrelevant." I called him a couple days later to set up a time to see the boat and asked what the motor hours were and got the same response. I bring this up because as we were looking around the boat Tereasa must have asked him five times how many hours were on the meter and all he would say is "I don't know I will check the file." Tereasa eventually asked where the meter was located so she could see the reading. He finally went down and found the meter, which only took him two minutes, and gave us the reading. This is not the first broker we have met that has treated us as if we were wasting their time. I don't have an answer to why this is but feel like telling them, if you don't like showing boats find another job. We finished looking over the topside and made our way back to the parking lot, I shook the man’s hand and thanked him for his time. Tereasa and I just sat in the car for several minutes trying to discuss our thoughts about the boat but the topic of how unhelpful the broker was seamed to stay in the forefront. He did not offer up any additional information and his response to every question was "I will have to check the file." We passed on this boat not due to what it had to offer but more on who was doing the offering.
We found ourselves back searching for another contestant and debating what to see next. The forever liveaboard boat or a smaller coastal cruiser to play around on and build more experience. This is a topic of much debate and this time we were both leaning towards the smaller boat for now. Before one of us could change our minds Tereasa found a 30 foot Catalina in Edenton. I got in touch with the broker and set and appointment for the following weekend. We drove up to Edenton on Friday the 11th, met the broker and looked over the boat. The hull looked good from the water up and the topside was in good condition with a few minor spots that needed some attention. Down below was fairly clean and somewhat organized. I lifted a deck plate and the bilge was clean and dry, the motor was clean as well. We looked her over inside and out a few more times and thanked the broker for his time. Who by the way was extremely nice and very helpful. As I drove off we both knew that this was the right boat for us at this time. It was time to grab some lunch and we found a place in the quaint little town of Edenton. Then we walk around taking in the sights before heading back home. I called the broker on Sunday the 13th and made the offer, he got back to us on Monday and we agreed on the price.
Tereasa researched surveyors in our general location and narrowed the list to three. A call was made to the guy first on the list. Only to find out his schedule would not work for our time frame. Up next, number two on the list. Rob’s schedule would work for us plus he had experience with Catalinas. I spent the next few days working out the details for the survey with Frank, the broker.
The day had arrived. Time for the survey. Everyone met at the boat in the morning. She was now at the marina hanging in the lift slings. The owners had moved her over the day before and the yard decided to lift her out that evening. Rob started looking the hull over as the yard guys worked on setting up the power washer. As the power washing started Rob went aboard to check the decks, I followed behind. The deck looked good. Only a few small areas noted. We then entered thecabin. Nothing much noted here either. Time to look over the engine. The belt was worn and need to be replaced before the sea trail could begin. There was a spare belt behind the port setee. Frank rounded up some tools and he and I replaced the belt. With Rob satisfied and the power washing finally complete, it was back to the hull inspection. The hull looked good. Shaft and prop was in good shape. Time to set her back in the water and put her to the test.
AL, the owner, maneuvered her out of the marina and into the channel. He then looked at me and told me to take the helm. Not being familiar with the channel, I relied on Al’s knowledge to get us out of the creek and into the Sound. Now before I go any further about this adventure let me list the crew. Captain and owner was AL, an older gentleman; First mate and owner was Ester, AL’s wife; Surveyor was Rob; Potential buyers of course Tereasa and I. Now back to the adventure, uh sea trail. I am still at the helm as we enter the Sound. Winds are now kicking at 18 to 20 knots. The shallow Sound has chop with heights around 4 feet and about 20 feet apart. I am holding her in the wind and taking the chop head on. Al and Ester are sitting on the starboard cockpit holding on. Tereasa is doing the same on the portside. Rob is running around on deck putting the sails out. I fall off the wind to starboard, the sails fill with wind and we shut down the engine. Now I’m hitting the chop at about a 45-degree angle and we have some good pitch and role action. I’m thinking this is some fun sailing but you would not have believed it by the looks on the faces of the three hunkered down in the cockpit. I am braced in at the helm and Rob is bouncing around on deck trying to check everything out. Suddenly the genoa is flopping in the wind. Rob shouts “starboard sheet came loose, tack to port.” Tereasa takes the port sheet as I start the tack to port. This became an exciting, edge of your seat, few minutes. Rob was able to reattach the starboard sheet, almost falling overboard in the process. With the sheet secured we continued on. A few minutes later Rob came back to the cockpit and told me he was finished and we could head back. Heading back with the winds on the stern was a more comfortable ride. Rob said “that was a little too much sail out for these conditions.” Al said “yes, I just assumed you guys knew what you were doing.” We all laughed.
A few days later, with the survey in hand, we finished negotiations and became the proud owners of a Catalina 30.