I know the suspense is incredible. Buying a boat is a little like buying a car and a lot like buying a house. Including the stress levels.
Chesapeake Bay Bridges
We drove to Annapolis on June 21st to see the Albin 36 that seemed like a possible boat for us. As I already said, we were both disappointed and walked away, mutually agreeing that it wasn’t right for us (that is why we are “kindred spirits.”) Since we were in Annapolis, we met Anthony and Annette (Magnolia, our Morgan sistership) for dinner. While eating and chatting, I suggested (yes, it was me) that we try to see a Mariner Orient 38 that was for sale on Kent Island. Al wasn’t keen on it when it first appeared on YachtWorld because there is only a steep ladder to the flybridge. That concerned him because of my leg. But, what the heck, we are in the area, right? And, we love looking at boats.
The broker was quite casual about the showing. Unlocked the boat and said take your time, leaving us alone. We spent two hours looking through everything, and took 188 photos. The pics are a help to us when we get home so we can review and discuss everything. Don’t worry, I am NOT including all 188 photos here!
Our first look at the Mariner Orient 38. It has an appealing “look”.
Step into the salon right from the aft deck
Galley pictures. Nice, but not much storage.
Yeah! Al has enough headroom in the shower. But the flamingo shower curtain has got to GO!
Up to the flybridge. That’s a steep ladder, but I did it without much of a struggle.
Mechanical things that I really don’t understand. These are photos of the engine, the hot water tank, some wiring, and the electrical panel. There are many more photos of the engine room, which is extremely roomy – a real plus for a hands-on guy like Al.
Features we liked:
• Aft deck with hard roof cover (shade and rain protection)
• Transom door to access swim platform
• Door at the interior helm station
• Large comfortable salon
• Centerline queen berth
• Head with a separate shower
• Guest cabin (bunk beds)
• Wide decks to walk forward
• Engine size – 220 Cummins, diesel
• 2003 — Wow! We never imagined we would own a boat built in this century!
Since every boat is a compromise, there are things we will need to address, modify, or add:
• New bimini (deteriorating) and a new enclosure for flybridge
• New flybridge seating (cushions are deteriorated and there needs to be another nice seat for the admiral -me.)
• Better refrigeration (powerboats don’t seem to understand the need for good refrigeration and freezer capacity the way sailors do.)
• More galley storage
• Solar panels for free energy to keep those batteries full (a necessity in our opinion)
• Davits (we don’t like storing a dinghy on top of the flybridge and hauling it up and down all the time.)
• Update the electronics (boat doesn’t even have a chart plotter, and the radar is small)
Our biggest concern was that steep ladder to the flybridge. No boat is perfect (unless Al and I designed it from scratch.) You have to make compromises and balance what you need, what you want, and what you can afford. Especially the latter.
All in all, this boat seemed like a good fit. We have always renovated and improved every boat we have ever owned, and this one would be no different. It felt right for two other crazy reasons:
First, THE NAME. For some bizarre reason, we seem to end up with boats that have, hmmm ……. how do I put it? Unacceptable names, to us. Our Irwin 37 was named Unicorn. She became Patience. Our first Kindred Spirit, the Catalina 34 was named Merry T. Our lovely Morgan 43 was named “L.O.C.” What did that mean?? “Lost Opportunity Cost,” some insurance term. Really? She quickly became Kindred Spirit, and probably thanked us every day thereafter.
I’ll bet you are curious about this Mariner’s name, aren’t you? Al called me over to the transom, and said, “Look, honey. Another boat with a financial name!”
“Unfunded Requirement” I suppose that having a boat is a bit of an unfunded requirement for us. We need to be on the water so it is a “requirement,” and on a retirement budget, well, a case could be made that it is “unfunded.” But we are cautious, careful, and do-it-yourselfers, so it should work.
Second, this is another boat that has not received much care and attention over her recent years. Every boat we have ever owned suffered from this, to one degree or another. Will we be rescuing another boat?
We returned home, reviewed the photos, our finances (you should see my spreadsheets!) and negotiated a price, subject to a survey and sea trial.
Back to Kent Island we went for the survey and sea trial on July 8th.The night before the survey, we took a quick look at the boat and then ate dinner at a restaurant right next to it.
Dinner at the Crab Deck – two Blue Moons, steamers, and crab cakes! Cannot be in Maryland without having crab cakes. They are better here than anywhere else.
Curious sign at this restaurant. The waitress told us it was not a joke – children have fallen in and been swept away by the current. Yikes!
On the morning of July 8th, we all met at a local yard where Unfunded Requirement would be hauled out of the water for part of the survey.
Unfunded Requirement on her way to be hauled out of the water for inspection.
The men are waiting on the finger dock – John, the surveyor, Al, and his brother Bill, our broker.
The process of hauling a boat out of the water is fascinating.
In the sling – before and after. Her bottom is much cleaner after a power washing.
Surveying and inspecting. Everyone is involved! Our surveyor, John, inspected the bottom, the rudder, the bow thruster, and so on.
Time for the sea trial.
We used the Garmin Blue Chart app on the iPad during the sea trial, a trip of 2.5 nautical miles.
The sea trial was uneventful (which is good) except for very hard steering. Back at the dock, John continued with the survey throughout the interior, the engine room and its mechanical systems. Al’s brother, Bill, has been our broker for the sale of Kindred Spirit (#2) and in our search for the next one. He flew from Florida to Maryland to be there for the entire survey and sea trial. That’s not just because they are brothers – Bill does that for all of his clients. It is easy for people to resent brokerage fees when they sell their houses or boats. It’s a big chunk of money. But Bill goes the extra mile and is worth it. We cannot stress how helpful he has been throughout this process on both ends – phone calls, emails, contacts, resources, paperwork, all with attention to the details. Thanks, Bill!!
The selling broker had posted this “SOLD” sign on the boat when we arrived for the survey and sea trail. You gotta love that kind of optimism – this was not a done deal, yet!
John did an excellent job of surveying Unfunded Requirement. There were a number of small things that will need to be addressed by us, but the four major items were a concern. In our conditional acceptance, we requested that they be addressed before closing. The final acceptance was yes on three and a monetary deduction for the fourth item.
Where do we stand now, on July 18th? This was the original closing date, but we are patiently waiting for the repairs to be completed in the Maryland yard so that a new closing date can be set. It is hard to be patient.