Patience Is A Virtue


Howe Sound, British Columbia, Canada

What do you need to know to buy a sailboat? The difference between port and starboard? How to sail? Or maybe just how to find sailboats for sale?

Well whatever you may think, I promise it’s something else entirely!

After two months of shopping, talking to brokers and boat owners, and driving from marina to marina including crossing international borders I can tell you that the thing you need the most is PATIENCE.

Buying a boat is a long process. It starts with knowing what you want to look for and ends with a leap of faith.

Those of you who have been following along know that we have been through several ups and downs including panic attacks. We also looked at over 20 sailboats throughout Washington and Vancouver and created an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all them. We even loaded it with formulas to determine speed and displacement. In the end we found three boats that we liked but only one that we loved-Naphtali in Vancouver. It even has most of what we thought we wanted.

Several years ago when we started thinking about living on a sailboat in earnest we made a list of what we wanted the ideal boat to have:

  • 6’4” headroom — check

  • Storage — check

  • Oven — check

  • Air Compressor — nope

  • Roomy cockpit — check

  • Upgraded electronics — nope

  • Big bed — check

  • Big bathroom — check

  • U-shaped Kitchen — check

  • Well-maintained Engine — check

  • Water Maker — nope

  • Solar Panels — nope

  • Microwave — nope

  • Tankage for 2 Weeks Off-Shore Sailing — check

  • Character — in spades!

Not bad! The things it doesn’t have we can always add.

After we found her we still wanted to do our due diligence and poke around "under the hood" and "kick the tires". To do that we hired a marine surveyor with a reputation for being thorough and finding problems. We also hired a marine mechanic to check out the engine.

Much to Rob’s chagrin I’m going to brag on him for a minute. With each surveyor that came on board we were told to give them space and not badger them with questions. However, within minutes Rob won them all over and they genuinely seemed happy to talk through things with someone like Rob who was willing to get in and get dirty with them.

Rob power washing the hull to remove mussels and other marine growth

So far both professionals have been impressed with the boat and whereas they find small things they haven’t found any red flags. We are still waiting for their final reports and for the lab to complete analysis on the engine oil but we are hopeful that all come back with green lights across the board.

Even with all of that we still have to find patience. The boat was under the ownership of a woman who died but whom left it to her husband who is selling it. However, the estate is going through probate court so we have wait for that to be resolved and title to be put in the husband’s name before he can technically sell it to us. That could take weeks or months.

Meanwhile we are working with a title agent and a customs broker to bring the boat into the States and get it registered with all the appropriate agencies. (OMG it is ridiculously complicated!!!) Anyway, as part of that process we have to find the boat’s Hull Identification Number (HIN) which is M.I.A. so that is another thing to be sorted out.

And, because the Canadian tax rate is substantially higher than in the States, we will wait to take custody of the boat in American waters which means it has to be sailed down to Washington state before it is really, truly ours.

Patience is a virtue--and we need a vat of it!

Thankfully Navi isn't worried. :-)

Navi chillin' on the sailboat in Vancouver