Living Aboard a Boat Ramblings From the Dockside

Getting Started

Friday, February 24, 2017S.V. CAMBRIA


I really like Mark Twain, particularly his quotes. Maybe it’s his mid-western sensibilities: The simple, straightforward way he writes. His common sense outlook on life. The strong work ethic embodied in his words. All of which are qualities I find appealing. So, it’s not surprising I look to his writing for inspiration every once in a while. And now just happens to be one of those times.

We knew that selling Cambria was going to be a long and difficult process, one full of stops and starts, disappointments and feelings of being overwhelmed. Selling a boat isn’t an easy process. They’re expensive and considered luxury items, so the market is much smaller than it is for a house or a car. If that isn’t enough, there’s a substantial emotional side to the equation. Sailors form a strong bond with their vessels and letting go is hard, especially with one that’s been your home for over 13 years. D and I have made a lot of incredible memories aboard Cambria. She’s kept us safe and taken us to some of the most beautiful places in the world. Walking away from that isn’t easy, no matter how much we’re looking forward to our next adventure.

One step forward, two steps back.

But we have to start somewhere. David left Kansas a few weeks ago and has been back aboard tackling some of the jobs below decks that we wanted to do before officially putting Cambria on the market. It’s going well but, like with most things on a boat, it hasn’t been without its fair share of setbacks.

He sat down with our yacht broker of choice which turned out to be a little disappointing. We wanted her for a couple of reasons: Last year, she won an award for being one of the top brokers in the country and she has a lot of offshore sailing experience (something we think is a real plus when selling a cruising yacht). After speaking with David, the price range she laid out fit our needs (even with the 10% fee). But after she consulted with the owner of the company she works for, we were left with the impression that his main focus is selling Beneteaus (both new and used) and that Cambria might not receive the level of commitment we expect from a brokerage. So, we’re back to square one and our original plan which is searching for someone overseas where we think Cambria will have a stronger appeal – Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

As luck would have it, one of our friends who recently crossed the Pacific and sailed back to Australia with his wife and daughter is friends with a broker who is in search of good, solid cruising boats to sell. David’s been corresponding via email but that process has been slowed thanks to a laptop that keeps crashing because I started it up when a corroded external hard drive was plugged into it (in my defense, I didn’t know it was corroded but I do have a real talent for breaking things).

Dreams don’t always come true.

Before listing Cambria with a broker, we wanted to offer her to someone we’d met at the marina a couple of months ago. He came in with a yacht club from Seattle one weekend and saw the boat. Owning a Westerly Ocean 43 is a dream of his, so we invited him over for a look around. Unfortunately, the timing isn’t right . . . and neither is the price. But both David and I wanted to touch base again and give him our rock-bottom number before committing to a broker – they only made 17 of these boats, so they’re hard to come by, after all. He came over last week and spent about five hours going through all of the systems and having a good look around. But, like I said, the timing isn’t right and we don’t expect anything to come from it.

The most important thing though is that we’re taking steps to sell the boat, even if we’ve had to take one or two backwards. And now that we’ve finally started this complex, oftentimes overwhelming and emotional task, we’re a little closer to achieving our new dreams and moving on with our lives.

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11 comments

  1. "Life is more tragic than orderly" - often times it really seems that anything that can go wrong, will. There is a buyer out there who will be thrilled to have such a well taken care of clean boat - hopefully they will show up at just the right time. And in the meantime, there's always brownies to look forward to!

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    1. That's how I like to look at things -- this will happen when it's time. The trick is not getting bogged down in all the complexities while we're working towards that goal. The minute I let my mind wander, it's nothing but trouble. Lol.

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  2. I realize this is a hard and emotional time. There seem to always be people that show a particular interest in your (or our) boat, but something never lines up. We do put our hopes up, but I guess it is just part of the deal. Personally, I think it would be easier for you guys to stick with an American broker. I cannot imagine, with so few boats like yours on the market, that you won't be able to find a buyer here. Also, did your current broker indicate that they were going to commit less time and commitment to trying to sell your boat? I would think that they might try to do whatever they need to in order to get the commission, no matter whether it is a Beneteau or not. But, maybe I am wrong... Good luck with the process and with finding a broker you feel comfortable with. Going international has a lot of complications as well, like exchange rates, delivery of the boat... I'm sure you know all this, but just throwing it all out there. :-)

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    2. We actually think our location is an advantage because the Inside Passage is difficult to reach from countries Down Under or in Europe, so most people skip one of the best cruising grounds in the world.

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    3. Is there a cheap way to advertise her in the U.K. to reach people who might be interested in your boat and your location? If you pick a yacht broker who does not need exclusivity, they will put Cambria on Yachtworld and you can still try to find a buyer privately as well. A good mix.

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    4. You hit the nail on the head, Liesbet. That's direction we've been talking about going.

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  3. Selling a boat is right up there with selling a house, in my view. And your boat is both to you. The day we finally sold our Cal34, I cried like a baby. I wonder: have you considered sailing her to Europe or the UK and selling her there? Yeah, that's a long way to go, but as she is a British boat, it might get you a better price and the up side would be you could look at canal boats while she is on the market. I do love the Westerly boats. I never saw one I didn't want. If we didn't have Galapagos, we'd be interested.

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    1. Our thought is that the Inside Passage is one of the world's best cruising grounds but it's not easy to get here. Having a UK boat with VAT paid and 220 volt systems would be a bonus for people from Europe and/or Australia/New Zealand who want to do Alaska and then the South Pacific. Our biggest obstacle is getting Cambria on Yachtworld, which can only be done through a broker.

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  4. What a difficult time - so full of emotions, not to mention boat projects and dealing with all that's involved in the actual selling of the boat. Hang in there. Keeping you guys in my thoughts and fingers crossed that all goes smoothy and quickly from here on out.

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    1. Cheers, Ellen. I figure it will all work out in the end but wouldn't it be great if it just happened overnight! :-)

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