In May of 2016, Mary and I became husband and wife. We are happy together and we are a good match; both active and healthy, love the outdoors and both recently retired. Mary sold her house in Prince George and settled into retired life in Cowichan Bay. She loves the ballroom dance floor and is addicted to lessons and practices. This has been an interest of mine for some time, but I struggle to remain respectable as a dance partner despite the lessons. Perhaps I need more practice…
Mary took to sailing quite early in our relationship and showed no fear of tipping or rough waters. She took a week long sailing lesson in late June, and we set off on a two month adventure immediately afterwards. We circumnavigated Vancouver Island, including a week sailing the east coast of Haida Gwaii. We had many interesting adventures along the way, made some new friends and had a front row seat to nature’s water front playground.
We spent the fall taking dance lessons, sailing courses, and discussing our plans to sail farther afield. We often discussed the prospect of doing a 360 over a 10-year period, starting in the summer of 2017. As we learned, read books and watched You Tube videos, we stated talking about catamarans.
The idea of more living space and flat sailing was appealing. We came across a Fountaine Pajot Belize 43, Maestro, in Marmaris, Turkey that looked interesting. She is a 2002 boat that was purchased new by an Israeli couple who cruised on her in the Med for 10 years during the summer seasons. Soon after, she was purchased by an Australian who never sailed her but had her delivered to Marmaris and spent copious amounts of money refitting her over a four-year period. She was still sitting on blocks in the yard when we arrived to take her out for a sea trial in mid-December. We were suitably impressed and made the arrangements to complete the purchase by email. We received our new Canadian registration, naming her Danica I, in mid-March 2017.
Although there had been may upgrades, she was not ready for the open ocean sailing that we had in mind. In late March, I flew to Turkey on my own to complete the upgrades, and Mary went off to Toronto to spend some time with her elderly mom and family. Over the five weeks I spent in Marmaris, I worked my way through a list of projects that included the installation of solar panels, batteries, stove, new propane, SSB, workshop, removal of air conditioning, new bimini enclosure, trampoline, rigging changes, security, ventilation and many smaller projects. I made many new friends and have had an amazing experience. I returned on Friday, April 29, to meet Mary in the Toronto airport and we returned to Victoria together.
We returned to Marmaris at the end of July, following the wedding of Mary’s eldest daughter, and we are now enjoying our sailing adventure along the Turkish coast and into the Greek islands.
- Buying a boat based on Internet adds has its challenges. First of all, you need to have a sense of trust that what you are being told is true and accurate. I communicated with the vendor many times via the Internet. We never spoke and I never met him, but I always had a sense that he was being honourable. It helped that his web site was very detailed and included many photos.
- I found a marine surveyor in Marmaris, who was able to complete a report before we arrived to look at the vessel; but not before we boarded the plane. Upon arrival, we had a couple of days to explore the boat; we were able to interview the vessel manager extensively, and we did a test sail, all of which allowed us to make a good assessment. With the survey and our own notes, we did some renegotiating and removed our conditions.
- Before we left Victoria, we had signed an Offer of Purchase and Sale, with input by my lawyer. We put an initial deposit into a lawyers’ trust in Australia, with some conditions, and when we made the final payment, the monies were also placed in trust.
- We closed a bit early to make sure we could have the Canadian Registry in hand prior to my trip to work on the boat in Turkey. We were surprised to learn that the vessel registration offices across Canada had been consolidated into one office in Ottawa. I’m sure that was a move intended to create more efficiency, but compared to under a week the last time I registered a vessel, to over a nail-biting month, I question the value, but we got it done.
- The one glitch I encountered was the seller did not provide all of the required documents as agreed, and he had some difficulty accepting his obligation in that area. We ended up having our respective lawyers work out the details to complete the deal, a process that needed to be embraced to smooth things out.
- If you find your dream boat in a faraway place, embrace the experience, use a little caution and include your lawyer. Under similar circumstances, I would not hesitate to make a purchase in the same way again. I am pleased with the outcome and love the boat.