so we bought a boat … or did we ?

Sometimes things really move fast , don’t they ?

As per my usual routine, browsing the internet through google for ‘new to market’ yachts  on the 30th of July 2016 , I stumbled across this one Which seemed to be a really nice Beneteau Oceanis 473 that was on its way back to Europe after having cruised the Carib.

A few things that set my wheels in motion were ‘its crossed from Europe to the Carib’ ‘its on its way back from the Carib to Europe’ ‘VAT has been paid’ ‘look at all the extra’s it has that I want to have and don’t have to install now’ ‘so clearly its a capable cruising yacht having crossed the atlantic twice already’  ‘it has loads of goodies (ie watermaker , solar panels, wind generator , diesel generator etc etc)’ and ‘its pretty in the pictures !’

(I wont talk about the downsides as I always said ‘I’d prefer not to have a teak deck or a blue hull because of maintenance issues’ .. well guess what ? .. yup.. she has a blue hull and a teak deck !!)

So after having thought this through for a few days , and after having shown ‘Blue Pearl’ to Joline, I started doing some searches as I would much rather deal with the owner personally than trying to go through a silly broker. Furthermore in the yacht broker world it seems that everyone tries to sell the same yacht ? so I wanted to deal with the owner directly OR the broker that the owner listed the yacht with. Not some broker who has a computer program running , picking up newly listed boats and puts it in his/her website trying to sell it and make a few easy $$’s

So my searches went as follows :

  1. try to figure out who the original owner is and approach him directly
    1. this turned out to be somewhat of a dead-end. I found 1 mention of the owner in relation to the yacht , I reached out to whoever published that info and I actually got a response ‘we’ll contact the owner and fwd your email’ but I never received a reply
  2. search the Internet , search all broker listings, websites, sales lists , (EYB , Yachtworld, Theyachtmarket, etc)  and see who has the most comprehensive info and more pics than anyone else
    1. I figured that the original listing broker had direct contact with the seller and had more info than other brokers just C/P’ing info , borrowing a few pics , and sticking it on their website

#2 yielded the best results and I narrowed it down to 2 brokers who had more pics than anyone else , strangely enough they both had different pics ? , and they had more info on the boat than anyone else as well. After carefully examining all the info I concluded that 1 of them ( had to be the original listing Broker. And guess what ? I was correct ! . After writing a short email to Monika from Caribbean yachtbroker I received a quick response , a few initial Q’s were answered but then she said ‘why don’t you contact the owner directly , I am currently in Spain and he is in Portugal with the ‘Blue Pearl’ …  Bingo ! not only did I find the correct broker but the owner was there to ask Q’s !!.

So after a few more emails back and forth , and getting a good feeling from the seller , Joline and I jumped on a plane on the 12th of August. When we arrived we met the owner and his lovely wife at the airport (!) and they took us to our Hotel. The next morning they picked us up and off we went, to see Blue Pearl . And when we finally arrived it just clicked. The outside needed to be polished as she just crossed an ocean , but topsides and inside was absolutely immaculate ! No unfinished repairs , ever scratch that ever happened was taken care off , inside was cleaned , didn’t smell, no tears in any upholstery , it was dry inside , no mold .. nothing .. If I didn’t know any better , and someone told me this was a lightly used yacht from 2014 , I would have believed it as well !

After being given ‘The Grand Tour’ both inside and outside , we went to lunch . During lunch Joline and I took a few minutes away from the owner and his wife to discuss where we stood with Blue Pearl. Joline’s answer ‘I like it… a lot’ was enough for me , we hummed and hawed over a few things but generally we both had a really good feeling about Blue Pearl.

Before I forget , during the ride to the lunch restaurant , the owner asked us ‘So , do you want to take Blue Pearl out for a sail this afternoon ?’ This question surprised me , a lot !. The normal buying process , as I understand it , is 1) you view a boat/yacht/trawler etc. 2) you like it and make an offer pending survey/sea trail 3) negotiate back and forth on the price until agreement is reached 4) you hire a surveyor who checks the boat and then.. and only then , as part of the survey , you get to actually untie the lines and go for a quick sail and motor session.. Not this time ! .. the owner actually offered us a sail on the river before even talking money ! . When I mentioned the (as I understand) normal process to the owner he replied ‘Yes , I know , but I would never even make an offer if I was not given the chance to sail her around’ .. so here we were , having lunch and knowing we’d be out on the water after lunch 🙂 What a great day .

So after the afternoon sail we returned to the Marina , tied Blue Pearl up and we were given a ride back to our hotel . During the ride back to the hotel we invited the owner and his wife for dinner in a restaurant somewhere in Lisbon and we found a fantastic one, great food , great wine, great conversation and before I knew it the evening had passed and we were back at our hotel .

And now the heart needed to be turned off and the head needed to be turned on. $$$ time ! We knew Blue Pearl had been on the market for awhile , while they were sailing back to Europe , we knew the owners bought a new yacht . But we also knew it was a fantastic Yacht that ticked all our boxes , and the asking price was even (much) lower than what I budgeted for ! So what would our 1st strategic be ? . We’ve all heard stories about offering 30-40% below the asking price , but Blue Pearl was already priced to sell .. and definitely not the highest on the market , and taking all the extra’s (and VAT paid) into consideration she was probably one of the cheapest ones out there . Then given the condition she was in , it was definitely not too expensive , more to the bargain price side. Still , Dutch as we are , every price is ‘asking price’ and should be open to negotiation , so thats what we did .. out opening offer was almost 20% below asking . We received a counter offer from the seller which was a little higher (about 3000 more than we expected) .

So we discussed ‘should we negotiate the price down even further , squeezing every last euro out of this deal, or .. big or , do we accept his counter offer ‘as is’ and keep both side happy with the deal ? 2 happy sides has definite advantages , someone you know , knows Blue Pearl, has offered to receive parts , mail , packages , can and most likely will answer Q’s about his previous yacht etc , or do we really put the thumb screws on and squeeze out those last 3000 euro’s as well and be completely on our own as there is 1 unhappy side.

We choose door number 1 , 2 happy sides , 2 parties with a good feeling and 2 parties that will probably meet somewhere in future , sit down , have a few cold ones , share a few stories and still be able to look each other in the eye . If anything , I have a good feeling about the whole deal

So , here we are , offer accepted .. time to do ..  yeah, time to do what exactly ? Luckily the broker contacted me with an initial ‘intent to purchase contract’ with some timelines

  1. 5% down payment in 5 days
  2. survey within 10 days
  3. if survey is positive and completed pay rest into broker account (if not positive re-negotiate or get out of the deal)
  4. deregister Blue Pearl from current registry (by current owner)
  5. register Blue Pearl under the Dutch flag
  6. Insurance
  7. Telecom registration (MMSI for epirb , DSC VHF, SART , AIS )
  8. contacting marinas for next season
  9. taking over current marina winter contract
  10. etc etc etc

So now the survey is done. The survey was done last friday (20th august 2016) and saturday (21sth august 2016) and the initial quick report is good with no major issues and I am waiting for the official final detailed report which I should receive during the day today ..august 24th 2016

If all goes well we finalize the sale as soon as she gets a clean bill of health , and we own her


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