Hobie cat liveaboard for $1000
After three years ashore, living in an apartment, the itch to sail overwhelmed fingernails and medication. Money or the lack thereof was an issue so I set a budget of one thousand dollars with the idea that I could find a Sunfish, Laser, or similar small dinghy sailboat.
As my thoughts developed, I thought hey - I've always wanted to play with a catamaran. Could I find a cat for $1000?
I began the quest on Craigslist.
Now you may wonder why I was so darn anxious to return to sailing. Here's an abbreviated history of the past twenty some years.
In December 1986, I purchased my second sailboat in Annapolis, MD. Sun Po, a Pearson 35, became my home until late 2005 when I listed her with a Honolulu broker and flew back to the mainland.
Charleston, South Carolina is a wonderful, historic, friendly city. My apartment was within walking distance of the historic peninsula but the call of the sea was strong.
I began my quest for the Hobie. A friend who has sailed, raced, and owned every model of Hobie ever built provided me with a checklist for used boats. He suggested a Hobie 16.
Charleston has an active sailing community but it isn't large so I expanded by search to all of the Craigslist sites in SC hoping to find something between Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head.
In mid-March, I had the proverbial "ah ha" moment. I noticed that old 30 foot sailboats were being offered for less than ten thousand. I could live aboard a thirty footer!
My search shifted focus and I expanded my Craigslist reach from New Jersey to Florida. Google Reader (or any good RSS feed follower) is invaluable for this task.
As the days marched by, I narrowed the acceptable boats to what some call the plastic classics. These were the early plastic sailboats built beginning around 1960 continuing through the mid-70s. Unlike modern boats, they were heavy often with full or modified keel, narrow of beam and with long overhangs. I always tell the unitiated that my 35 foot Sun Po had less than half of the interior space of a modern 35.
Pearson Vanguards and Tritons, Bristol 30, Tartan 30, Cal and Albergs became my sought after boat. Now that I had narrowed the list, I searched the web for specific boats, i.e. Alberg 30. This led me to the various boat listing sites, such as, SailboatTraderOnline, SailboatListings.com, YachtWorld.com, and others. Also, I discovered class associations for some National Triton Association, The Alberg 30 Site, Pearson Vanguard, etc.
Note: Most brokers won't list boats under $10k. The boats that I found on Craigslist, listing sites, and association sites are offered by individuals of which there are at least three types.
- Not for sale: The boat is listed because the significant others says "it goes or I go". Because the sailor doesn't really want to sell, the boat is overpriced.
- The clueless: this individual lists the boat, promises to post photos but doesn't, and seldom responds to phone calls or e-mails. He/she posts a price based upon what they paid for the boat plus upgrades. Boats ALWAYS depreciate. Should the boat actually sell, this person will not remove the listings. I found boats listings on some sites that were over five years old!
- The seller: This is the one you need to find. She/he responds quickly with addtitional information and understands how to price the boat in today's marked (struggling economy).
In fairness to the sellers, the buyer needs to recognize that he/she is not buying a new boat. The boats meeting my criteria ranged from 25 to 40 years old.
(to be continued...)