This buying a boat malarkey is pretty stressful. The emotional pull of a potential new home that has all the credentials to make our blue-water cruising dreams come true adds to the excitement, and to the level of impatience.
I am amazed at how quickly this boat grabbed hold of us and continues now to engage us entirely. We had looked at so many – over 30 in 3 months. There was an immaculate Ganley, a beautiful Morgan 38, run-down William Gardens, several Roberts refurb projects, Swanson 42’s, a long list of custom built steel and ferro varieties and even a selection of multihulls to balance us… we even got to placing offers on a couple which thankfully did not eventuate as, well, our hearts were definitely not in them.
And then there was Tiki, a Young Sun 43. Described by Greg in the Brokers office as “not on the market yet but nearly finished – fully refurbished just waiting for the new cushions that have been ordered”. “Let’s go take a look and see how she looks” says Rachael our Broker and we jumped in the car to add another to the long list viewed over the Xmas week.
The rain was falling and the tidal creek which cut the boatyard off from the road was rising as we pulled into Edge’s boatyard situated in the depths of the mangroves in Airlie Beach. There on the hard-ground was a beautiful double-ended canoe hull complete with full cruising keel, cutter rigged with sexy bowsprit and, well, what more do you need?!
We climbed the work ladder leading up tyro the centre cockpit to find a slightly different boat to the one we were expecting. She was nowhere near completed and our hearts sank. The timber decks had been removed and left unfinished. The teak railings had been smashed during transit in several places. There was abandoned rubbish and rusting tools everywhere we looked. Oh lordy-me what a mess.
The hatches were rotten and unsecured so it was easy to open her up and look inside. The rain was as torrential inside as it was outside due to the number of large leaks. It was like exploring a magical wet cave, with rainwater filling the bilges up to the solid teak floorboards which were all exposed. There was tropical mould everywhere and the spoils of the previous owners belongings which had succumbed to a “submerging event”, including the galley supplies so various critters had happily moved in and made the place their roach-ey new home. Nice.
This is where I re-iterate the part where a boat ‘grabs you’, as even in this terrible state I thought she felt absolutely gorgeous and I couldn’t get the smile from my face. I could see through the superficial to what was truly important to us. Her spacious sleeping areas forard and aft each with their own heads, a light and airy space to relax in the saloon, a great galley, amazing solid teak carpentry, she even had a separate workshop area crying out to store dive tanks and more.
Here is where Neil would add in the important observations about engine / sail inventory / seaworthiness etc which were duly noted as we rushed around trying to take it all in. Heavy rain and rising creeks and the realisation that this boat was nowhere near ready to be on the market meant the visit was very short. I never thought that it would be exactly one month later we would make an offer to buy her, and a month after that before she was all ours.