This is the third of a brief series of advertorials that highlight the products and services offered by a select group of vendors who have supported the Bluewater Cruising Association in 2022 by purchasing advertising in either the BCA Member Directory and/or Currents. This month’s advertorial introduces Currents’ subscribers to Calibre Yacht Sales. BCA is grateful for their support.
We were standing at the crossroads of “Where We’ve Been” and “What Comes Next.” David had faced the Big C and it was time to re-evaluate. All of it. Do we keep doing what we’ve been doing, or do we shake it up and live more deliberately? Having felt the blade of mortality, it was kind of a no-brainer. Time was suddenly a privilege, so we chose to make the most out of it. It was time to go boat shopping.
We’d been dipping our toes in the Bluewater Cruising Association pool for a few years. Listening about the adventures of people like Larry and Mary Anne aboard Traversay III, or Bill Norrie on Pixie, I even got to see Lin and Larry Pardey back in the day; they all got our imaginations going. In our minds’ eyes we could see ourselves out there, visiting the world. We moved from thinking about it to working on it.
We started looking at boats. At first, even though I’d owned boats for about 15 years, I somehow realised that I didn’t always “see” what I was looking at. I had a vague sense that I wasn’t asking the right questions. Since I have an MSc in research, that’s what I did. I focussed my attention on figuring out boats.
David and I poured over YachtWorld like it contained the secrets to life itself. We made appointments to see some boats. Soon, one boat blended into another, and I couldn’t keep them straight, so I created a spreadsheet. The first column contained all the specs of a boat we were going to see on Saturday. The second column contained my notes on each of those specs. On Saturday, I realised that the boat was missing some things that we wanted, so I added those too. The next boat we looked at had different things, so I added them to the first column as well and made my notes in the third column. I asked a lot of questions and read a lot. So on and so on, until I had a 5-page document of things to look at when we viewed a boat. By the time I had over thirty columns, I understood every single thing on that document. I was confident that I was really seeing what I was looking at.
In the first six months of the process, we met a lot of brokers. Most of them were fine people and very helpful, but a few of them were just bad at their jobs: they’d guess at answers, pay more attention to their cell phones than us, then not return calls. What really cranked me up was when they talked past me to my husband. I once asked a guy a few questions to which he had no answers, and I said, “So, what DO you know about this boat?” To which he answered, “Not much. Plausible deniability and all, you know.” True story.
That’s when David and I figured we could use some help. We talked about the dozen or so brokers we’d met over the months and agreed that Rob Ksyniuk (kuh-sin-ee-uck) from Calibre Yacht Sales was the best broker we’d met so far. He showed up on time, he walked us through the boats, he pointed stuff out, he got answers when he didn’t know them himself, he was friendly, but most of all, we just felt like we could trust him. He was a straight shooter. So, we called him up and said, “Rob, we’re looking at all these boats and sometimes we feel like we’re not getting what we need. Can we hire you to help us find our boat? Do you do that? Is that a thing?” He laughed and assured us that, yes, that is a “thing.” In fact, we found out that we didn’t even have to pay him. WHAT? Madness. Yes, brokers do this thing called co-broking, where a guy like Rob helps buyers like us to find a good boat. If that boat is listed by another broker, they work together and split the commission. So, Rob was paid out of the commission, not directly out of our pockets. Excellent.
We spent two full years looking for the perfect boat.
Seriously. Don’t laugh. I know. I can hear you chuckling to yourself going, “There’s no such thing as the perfect boat.” You’re right! I know this. I’ve had people tell me that I’d be lucky to find a boat with 50% of what I want. I rejected this. I still do. David rejected that even harder than I did! We wanted what we wanted: an offshore-capable, comfortable, solid sailboat, and we weren’t gonna take no ugly boat! Was that so much to ask?
Rob was right in there with us. He called us again and again, “I think you should take a look at this one. That one might work for you. I just saw this one come up for sale, let’s check it out.” He was amazing. He never gave up on us.
Then, just as I was weakening and giving overly much thought to the housing market, we decided to make an offer on an Island Packet that had been for sale for a few years. We knew about it all along, of course, but it was out of our price range. However, over the years, we realised we needed to up our budget, and they realised they needed to lower their price. Via Rob, we threw a lowball at it, they countered, we countered, they countered and lo-and-behold, we came to an agreement!
Rob helped us arrange a mechanical inspection, a marine survey, and then we all went out for a sea trial. The sellers themselves were never present. They didn’t live in BC and trusted their broker to manage things. I absolutely know that if we had to deal with the owners directly, we would not have this boat that we now live on and love so much. She might not be “perfect” but I’d say 90%.
Fast forward. We bailed out of the condo and moved aboard Salt. We’d been there a while when the former Vice Commodore for Vancouver Island’s BCA chapter gave us a call. He’d been working with Calibre Yacht Sales for some time and was asking if we might know of anyone who may be interested in work as a yacht broker in Victoria. Hmm. I’d been working as a writer for a while and was just talking about making a change. Writing is lonely work, and I’m an extrovert. David looked at me. I looked at David. He did that, “Everything happens for a reason” thing that he does. I just had to laugh.
Now, I work in Calibre’s Oak Bay office alongside Rob Ksyniuk. The company’s motto is Trust, Integrity, Lifestyle; and every day we all work hard to live up to those words. We have 14 brokers in 7 locations with a complement of 8 support staff who all work together as one powerful team. We have 9,700 boaters in our database, 20,000 boaters visiting our website each month, and our YouTube channel has over 23,000 subscribers.
We’re connected with each other and each of our communities. The work is more fun than I possibly could have imagined. Every day is different, but I’m always on a dock, chatting with boaters, helping people experience the joy that is being out on the water, or helping people get onto their next boat, or sometimes move on to the next chapter of their lives. Buying or selling a boat can be stressful, make no mistake, but when obstacles come up, I remember how calm and helpful Rob was for us, and I try to give that same kind of service. Ultimately, David and I will be heading out to the great blue yonder, but in the meantime, I’m loving being a matchmaker between boats and boaters.
So, if you find yourself at the crossroad of “Where We’ve Been” and “What Comes Next,” consider giving Calibre a call. We get it, and we love what we do.