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Old 05-22-2013, 01:12 PM   #12
Blender Boy
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City: San Jose, CA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Tropical Blend
Vessel Model: Nordhavn 43
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 35
We spent about two and a half years, but not always active. We have had coastal express cruisers since 1999. As we approached retirement, we knew we wanted to have boating as part of our life, but we weren't planning to stay in the Bay Area. We bought property in Hawaii (Kona), but that state is probably the most boater-unfriendly state in the nation. So, our initial thought was to have a boat in the Caribbean for the winter and spring, moving back to Hawaii for 7 or 8 months.

For some time, we vacillated between power and sail, eventually deciding to stay with power. Our first real focus on trawlers was at the Boats Afloat show in Seattle in the fall of 2011. We were aware of the main brands, but at that time, we decided that Nordhavn, Selene, and Krogen were too pricey. We started to focus on Defevers. We didn't have a very active search in the first half of 2012. By summer, we had modified our plan, deciding to go cruising full time, starting in late 2013.

We preferred to buy the boat on the West coast, as we wanted to cruise down the Mexican and Central American coast. Plus, having the boat here meant we would have time to outfit it and get acclimated. I preferred to buy an older hull, and conduct a full refit to get it the way we wanted. No surprise, the Admiral didn't like that idea, preferring to get a much newer hull. We ended up looking at about a dozen different Defever models, and a handful of other brands. One issue with the Defever was range - it was really limited to coastal cruising, without the range to cross the ocean. We also figured out that the refit cost of a 80's vintage boat was really prohibitive, and there are very few 90's and early 00's vintage Defevers on the market.

Early this year, we contacted PAE to look at a couple of 46's they had in Dana Point. Although they were a little beyond our budget, we really liked the build quality, range, and reliability. We weren't too big on the aesthetics of the 46, and our broker encouraged us to look at the 43. Although it really broke our budget plan, we could afford it, and to us, it was a no-brainer compared to the 46. We closed on the former Island Magic (hull # 4301) at the end of March, and we have been getting some refits done in Dana Point. We are planning to cruise the Tropical Blend up to Alameda at the next good weather window.

Moral of the story - be patient, be flexible, and be sure. Have a solid idea of what your cruising plans are, figure out which boats fit YOUR plans, and have some rreasonable wiggle room in your budget. And don't forget that even with a relatively turn-key boat, you'll want to make some modifications, so be prepared to make that extra investment.
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