Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bears repeating

Lord Bear

We are at the Elks lodge in New Bern, North Carolina (map). A 20-amp power circuit has been keeping us cool since we arrived Sunday afternoon, at least until an hour ago when we finally tripped the breaker. It's not accessible to us, so I moved the cord to a 15-amp receptacle further away. We're now slowly draining the batteries, but we'll be on the road shortly anyhow.

We had a nice dinner on the water downtown, after running the gauntlet of fiberglass bears and bear flags throughout the city, at Christoph's in the Doubletree. We sat outside, just across the pool from "The Deck," the hotel's outdoor bar, which sported live music, even on a Sunday evening. After dinner we strolled the docks, and spotted one of the boats we were scheduled to look at.

Yesterday morning our broker Curtis picked us up here at the bus, and we drove right back to where we had scooted Sunday evening. The other two boats were a bit further afield, and it was past 1pm by the time we ended up back in town for lunch at Captain Ratty's, a New Bern institution. Curtis dropped us off on his way back to the airport, and we grilled a steak for dinner.

Two of the three boats we saw are actually already under contract, and thus unavailable (although contracts do, occasionally, fall through). Those were a Hatteras 48 LRC, and a DeFever 49 RPH. The third boat, a Symbol 45 Pilot House, which was "on the hard," we judged unsuitable for our purposes for several reasons.

The other two boats, however, are firmly on our short list. This Hatt 48 was the nicest one on the market, and I was shocked to learn that it went under contract at just under 80% of asking. That makes all the other Hatt 48 LRCs on the market now "overpriced," although that can be a negotiating point should we decide to buy one.

We have looked at other examples of both these models before. Yesterday was the first time that we have seen them back to back, as it were. While either of these could be the right boat, at the right price, condition, and amenity list, if all other things are equal, I prefer the DeFever. For one thing, it has a larger and more accessible engine room. It also has walk-around decks on both sides, which we prefer over the Hatt's full-beam salon. And the pilothouse layout is more appealing, with a taller settee arrangement for visibility, and an inside stair leading to the flybridge.

We spent only a modicum of time aboard each vessel, re-familiarizing ourselves with layouts and systems. Since neither boat was really available to us, we did not open all the bilge hatches, or sit in the engine room contemplating systems arrangements and what the boats might need to bring them up to snuff. If the contract on this Hatteras 48 falls through, however, we might come back and do exactly that.

While both models are on our short list, neither calls to us the way the larger, flush-deck boat in Seattle did -- the one we nearly made an offer on back in May. So unless another bargain comes along in excellent condition, our plan is to continue to look at other models. To that end we have lined up boats to see in Savannah, St. Mary's, and Jacksonville for next Monday. So from here we will work our way slowly to Savannah for the weekend, and Curtis will let us know whether to meet him there or Jacksonville. Once we are in Florida we will develop a route to look at boats in Stuart, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota, assuming we are not deployed to a disaster first.

Photo by frivolous_accumulation, used under a Creative Commons license.

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