Weighing OptionsMonday, May 01, 2017S.V. CAMBRIA
|Normally, this is what life looks like for us this time of the year.|
This year we’re weighing our options instead of our anchor . . . and it sucks.
We had a plan: With the help of a yacht broker we’d put this amazing boat, located in one of the world’s most beautiful cruising grounds, on Yachtworld. At the same time, David and I would advertise in parts of the world where the Westerly name is well-known – England, New Zealand and Australia. And then we’d wait.
We had no illusions of a quick sale, so we were going to spend the summer months cruising around more populated areas (like the city of Vancouver). That way if anyone wanted to see the boat, we could accommodate them. When October rolled around, we’d tie back up in Kingston for the winter. It wasn’t a great plan, but it worked.
Maybe we have too many choices. Maybe we’re afraid of making the wrong one (the dreaded “analysis paralysis”). Or maybe we’re just clueless despite all of the research and preparation we did leading up to this moment. Regardless of the reason, the end result is the same – nothing.
Nobody ever said selling a boat was easy. And it isn’t.
To start, there’s the price. How do you objectively value a boat? A boat that’s been your home for the last 13 years. A boat that has taken you to some of the most beautiful places in the world? A boat that’s been your protector and kept you safe. A boat that you’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into. It’s not easy. And finding the balance between a price that will attract a potential buyer and one that meets our needs is even harder.
Brokers are a great help when it comes to fixing a price and selling a boat: They know the market, they’re familiar with the comps and they’re not emotionally invested in the deal. But they cost. And 10% is a big chunk of change when it comes to a boat like Cambria. They’re also the best chance for a faster sale and every day that we own Cambria, it’s costing us money. If the process extends out to a year or more, a broker could pay for itself.
And then there’s the location.
Boats in the Pacific Northwest command a stronger price than some other parts of the country (by about 10%). The market in Australia and New Zealand is even stronger. But that doesn’t mean much to the person looking through Yachtworld. At the end of the day, the buyer wants the best deal . . . and so does the seller. The trick is finding the “sweet spot” between the two.
Then there’s the “location within a location dilemma”. The Port of Kingston is off the beaten path. Anyone who’s seriously looking for a boat isn’t going to be walking the docks here. They’re going to go to the brokerages in Seattle. So if we want to attract foot traffic, that’s where we need to be. But moorage at a brokerage is more expensive and most of them don’t allow live-aboards, which means we’d have to find a place to live for a while. And, at the end of the day, there’s no guarantee that spending the extra money will result in a sale.
Fortunately, our indecision hasn’t cost us anything.
The Seattle area just broke a 122-year record for rainfall for the months of October through April, and it’s put a real damper on the market. That’s about to end. The Pacific High is battling its way north. It’s still squally and wet for the most part, but a change is coming. When it happens, people will start looking at boats again so we’re feeling a renewed sense of urgency with the clearing skies.
The good news is that we’re close to making a decision . . . several of them, actually. And the days of wanting to pull our hair out in frustration will be behind us for a while. In the meantime, we’ll be sitting here in the Port of Kingston watching the rain fall.
They say the two happiest days of a boat owner’s life is the day they buy the boat and the day they sell it. What do you think?