A little bit about the paperwork…first, the money part.

 

Buying a sailboat is a lot like buying a house.  Paperwork, signing, notarizing, crying, hoping, last minute corrections…waiting…waiting.  When I decided to buy a boat as my home I first thought that I could get a home loan for about $50k.  That would get me a nice sailboat, right?  Nope.  Doesn’t work that way.  The banks are smart and don’t just throw money at people who want don’t want to keep up with the Jones’.    Here’s a little summary of my financial escapade:

First attempt at a loan: the credit union (and Chase)

My initial inquiry for a loan was at my bank Chase…almost immediately they responded with “we don’t really do those types of loans”.    So I went to a local credit union and asked for a loan.  At that point I think I was only looking for $15k.  My credit score was over 700, and I was feeling pretty positive.  I remember, the bank was in between buildings and had a temporary office in a trailer.  Surely they’d give me money.  That only took their underwriters about 2 minutes to say “no”.  Well, that was devastating.  What do I do now?  Where will I live?  This is horrible.  This will never work out.  My job is the problem.  My student loans are the problem.  WHY IS THE WORLD AGAINST ME????  The very patient banker gave me some suggestions which would help me get approved if I’d like to try again in a couple of months.  But paperwork and facing the reality of my financial history scares me, so I just complained about how awful America is for forcing me to go to college and take out huge loans (not 100% true, but I was mad).

After the crazy settled…I kept on with the hunt.  And after a number of fruitless craigslist boat viewings, I found a yacht broker.  *Gasp*…that’s not avant garde and off the grid at all!!  Yachts are for rich snobs and sailboats found in a whimsical fashion are for people like me….I’m arty damn it!!  Actually, this was the BEST decision I made.  My broker Jason  explained everything, found the boats, showed the boats, asked the questions, inspected the boats, and so on.  As we found another boat, he referred me to a bank which specializes in boat loans…for the entire country…it’s pretty much the only one that will loan for a liveaboard.

Second attempt at a loan: Essex Credit

I gave them a call…all excited to take out a big loan.  I believe this attempt was for the 40ft Irwin sailboat…which I insisted would be mine.  Here we go again, almost a year after the first try.  The last credit inquiry should have fallen off by now.  My credit score was about 730-740.  All my bills are paid on time.  This is going to happen.  I’ll be sailing in no time!  Before he even ran my credit we had a very “here’s how it works” conversation.  Since the boat was a 1981 , I’d need 30% down.  Ouch.  Don’t have it, why run it?  Back to the drawing board.  Again.  Say goodbye to the Irwin…which in hindsight I’m happy about…it was named the Eagles Nest, you know, Hitlers secret mountainside hideaway???

With this information I was able to have a goal for the potential down payment and realistically know what boats I should consider.  Enter the motorboat option.  I was reluctant…but let’s be serious; I have only taken 6 sailing courses, never sailed alone, I’m not exactly a princess but I’d like some nice things in my home.  I’m not traveling the globe, I just want a nice option for a home close to my job.  I got a little carried away after following a bunch of sailor blogs and watching the sailing lifestyle channels on youtube.  My goal right now is simple : lower my overhead so I can pay down/off my student loans, own something rather than keep renting, have my own space, and learn!  Throw in some trips to Catalina and we’re golden!

The actual loan

I had finally found a boat, a Searay.  I think we settled around $29k.  I sold my car to help with the 30% down.  I was all ready to go.  I got approved…Hooray!!!  It would be tight, but I had enough to squeak by.  This boat fell through after the survey came back showing the boat needed about 17K of work .  Down in the dumps again.  I was determined though.  We quickly found a similar but newer express cruiser; a Bayliner Ciera in the same price range.  Sweet!  All I have to do is change the details of the loan and I’m set.  Sort of.  When the lender decides on what they will give you for your loan, they actually research the boat.  They don’t just give you what you and the buyer have agreed on.  The lender looks up what the boat is really worth and what similar boat have been sold for.  My initial loan was for $29k.  They would only give me $25k for this boat.  The Bayliner cost more than the market value because the seller had installed new canvas and eisenglass, and some electronics.  This is something to be aware of.  Upgrades will not factor into your lenders decision.   I had that feeling again; the panic, dismay, why does the world hate me….blah blah blah.  But, since the boat was under 20 years old, I did not need the 30% down!  Yay!  I just had to pay the difference out of pocket, which I had since I was planning on having to front more for the 30% down.  Does that make sense?

On a boat over 20 years old, the lender required 30% down.

On a boat under 20 year old, I would just get the loan for what they deem it to be worth and make up the difference out of pocket.

Also, the liveaboard thing.  If you qualify the loan as a liveaboard purchase, they will not loan less than $30k I believe.  So I have a pleasure boat.

I’ll get into the next wave of paperwork next time.

Thanks for stopping by!

See you at sea!!

-Eileen

Forgot to mention one thing…I finally got a boat!!!!

“The two best days of your life are the day you buy your boat and the day you sell your boat”.  I don’t know who really said that first, but I’ve heard it about 20 times over the past couple of weeks. I’ve got one of those days checked off.

I got my boat…finally!!!

She is a 1999 Bayliner Ciera Sunbridge, and express cruiser.  Not exactly the boat I pictured myself buying…but I have to say, this is a great boat!  She has a great bimini top with canvas to the aft and really nice eisenglass up front.  (Clearly I can’t spell that word yet.)  Plenty of room for storage, touchscreen radar, very nice auto pilot, overall in pretty darn good condition.  She’s got 2 Mercruiser engines, which as my survey mechanic Alfredo said “you can find these in a Camaaarroo”.  It sounds like a couple of sports cars are trying to escape the boat when you start her up…pretty cool!

I’m still getting everything on board, and I can’t technically take her out on my own until I have a few more hours of instruction under a captain…but I have a boat!!  For some reason I have very few photos of her.  Here are a couple, please, take a gander:

One of the features I really like is how you can walk out onto the bow from the cockpit via the opening window.  Saves you from the dangling around route.

Right now as the rest of the world is counting down to midnight, I’m sitting on my boat with tissues everywhere as I have some relentless sinus infection/massive allergy attack/cold/what the hell is going on I eat healthy for crying out loud.  The water is tossing us around a bit due to it actually raining in San Diego…yes, it does happen.  The weather has pretty much been solid rain since I got her to her slip on Dec 20th.

The fix it list had officially begun before I was even the owner.  New valve, freezer door needs to be replaced, some engine things need to be cleaned, new props…but other than that…

And to think, I pictured myself just gracefully loading all of my crochet stuff on board with my laptop and a bikini…popping open a beer and watching locked up abroad while crocheting in the sun.  Yeah, I’m silly.

I hope to have a number of boating adventures in 2017.  Catalina, Mexico, the big bay…fishing, diving.  Can not wait!!

Oh, and all of the money I saved on gas by buying a scooter instead of a car was quickly evened out when I filled the tank to get her down to San Diego from Dana Point.  Yikes!

I also hope to be more diligent with sharing my stories on this blog.  With all of the craziness involved with buying a boat coupled with a new job, and five other things I’m sure, I’ve not kept up with sharing everything I’ve gone through.

Happy new year to everyone out there on land and sea…stay safe, stay happy and spend time with all of your friends.

See you at sea!

-Eileen

PS:  Yes I’m changing the name.  Yes I know it can be bad luck, but I’m going to do it the right way and have a little champagne on her maiden voyage over 3 miles out.

“Si Yes Da”…more like “No No No”. The boat search continues.

Well, I just wasted $1500 I desperately need.  I have walked away from the 31ft Sea Ray Sundancer named “Si Yes Da”.  I’m actually happy about it.  The owner was not willing to acknowledge the fact that the boat needs a ton of repairs (over $17k worth), and wouldn’t budge on the price.  So, I’m certainly not going to spend $30k on a boat which doesn’t work properly that I will have to spend an additional $17k to get it up to where it should be.  The owner spent money on custom beverage napkins and pillows with the boats name on them, probably should have spent more on the engines and connected the bonding wires.  With those disconnected, the boat can actually damage other boats in the marina.  What a mess.  And now, since we’ve disclosed all of the problems, he legally has to disclose the issues in his listing.  Priorities will come back to haunt you…spend less on show and more on function.  Who knows the fate of the boat.  I wish it worked out!

Now that that’s all in the past I’ve begun to scramble for another boat.  My loan is only approved for so long, and I have a slip ready to go at the beginning of December.  I looked at a sedan with a flybridge.  It was a 1990, pretty cool layout.  Initially I was super interested in this one.  The next day we looked at two express cruisers.  One was a Maxum, the other was a Bayliner Cierra.  Both were 30ft, both were late 90’s, both were in very good condition.  The Cierra edged out the Magnum mostly because of the condition the engines were in…a compression test was being done when we looked at the boat.  One feature that I really like which they both had was the walk through access from the cockpit to the bow.  Both cruisers had touchscreen navigation, and electric controls.  I think that the cruiser would be easier to learn how to drive as opposed to the flybridge sedan.

Pictures below have little descriptions.

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Nice sitting area on the sedan flybridge Bayliner

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Rear deck and ladder on sedan flybridge Bayliner

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The spacious galley

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Maxum interior

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Maxum interior

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Maxum berth

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Maxum galley, nice storage!

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Maxum center access to bow from cockpit

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Cierra center access from cockpit

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Cierra controls

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Cierra berth

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Cierra interior salon

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Cierra galley, a little less storage but still very nice.

The importance of honesty…*or* Why the hell didn’t the seller mention that the starboard engine is broken???

Another episode of my ongoing journey to buy a boat.

Last week after my survey day was well underway and we had already begun the sea trial, the current boat owner decides to say “the carburetor on the starboard engine won’t go into secondary so it doesn’t go above 3000RPMs”.

Even I knew that the beat needs to run at full throttle on a sea trial.  The owner obviously knew about this before we left the dock.  It wasn’t noted in the listing, nor at the beginning of the survey.  Did he think we would’t notice?  Why on earth did he drive in from Arizona to the survey if he wanted to hide information?  This wasn’t a craigslist find…a style of purchase which I’m assuming may be less likely to go through all of the proper inspections.  He has the boat listed with a broker so he must know that a potential buyer will have a survey done.

Speaking of the survey, it came back today.  There is about $16,000 worth of repairs that need to be done.  Plus more non-immediate things to be repaired.  The $16k refers to the work that is necessary for the boat to be insured and be permitted in a marina.  And that doesn’t even include the engine repair which must be done before the boat can go out on a full sea trial.  I’m not even sure how that will work as far as cost and scheduling.

One main problem is that the bonding wires are disconnected, which has caused a bunch of parts of the boat to corrode.  Why they were disconnected is a mystery.  There’s no benefit to disconnection, according to the people I’ve asked.  Apparently these wires control the scientific issue of electricity  and water and metal.  I’m not quite bright enough to explain that, but I am bright enough to understand that they should remain connected.

I am in quite the pickle now.  Today I also had a meeting with the dockmaster who has rearranged other boats in order to fit the Si Yes Da for me.  I can move in whenever I like.  Too bad I may not have a boat.  My loan approval is only valid for 30 days.  Annnnnd the slip I secured is only so big, we planned for an 11’6″ beam (width of the boat), which is fine for most sailboats, but a power boat may be more.

Worst case, I lost the money I spent on the survey, lose my loan, lose the slip and have to start all over again with a lowered credit score.  Better case…I get a survey allowance for the repairs and the owner repairs the starboard engine…then I only have to look forward to about $7k in other repairs that need to be done.   Best case…I forget about this boat, get reimbursed by the seller for my survey since he concealed information which prevented a proper sea trial and I magically find another boat in the same range, get a survey done immediately and move into the slip.

The search continues….

 

The Cat 30…how I decided on a powerboat over a sailboat.

About a month ago I was still set on buying a sailboat as my liveaboard home.  It had been over a month, at least, since I put in an offer on a great boat and then learned the reality of getting a loan.  I was bummed, but had already taken steps to get more money saved.  I sold my Mustang and entered the world of riding a scooter for transportation…which is awesome by the way.  I found an add on craigslist for a 30 foot Catalina.  I forget the year, but it was newer for the budget I’m working with, probably late 1980’s.  I reached out to the owner, she gave me a detailed reply.  I contacted my broker, asking if he could come along.  I was hesitant to ask him because this boat was selling by owner, not through a boat brokerage.  So we worked out a fee for him that I would pay directly if the sale went through.  After a couple more emails to the boat owner, and a few hours spent scanning the posted images imagining this boat as my new home, we set a date to view the boat.

First thing; I had seen one of this boat owners boats before.  The very first sailboat I saw was one of hers.  I remember it being small and having a laundry list of “fixes” she had done.  I don’t know enough about the inner workings of  a boat to say whether they were good or bad ideas, of it that’s just the reality of boats as they age, but it was odd.  Upon realizing I would now see another one of her boats I was already disappointed.  We went down to see anyway.

The boat was what it was.  Small, decent shape and somewhat patched together as far as internal operations.  The v-berth is tiny, so if I sneezed in bed I’d knock myself out.  Limited galley, decent head, small salon.  I couldn’t live in this.  But since my financing was limited, I wondered if this is just what I’ll have to get.  The boat was on a slip at hotel marina, which means I’d get full use of their pools, hot tubs, gym, spa and discounts at their restaurants…kind of cool.

A lot of this process involves compromise and balance, and reality.  What can I afford?  How far is it located from work?  How small is too small?  What do I want out of this?  How often will I take the boat out?  With all of these questions bouncing around, and the ever looming idealistic delusions of grandeur, it’s important to ask questions and take time to analyze.  A lot of decisions I’ve made in life were impulsive or fast, done with little research.  Some were great decisions, some not so much.

Long story short, the boat was too small.  As we left, Brent (boyfriend) and Jason (broker) brought up power boats…for the millionth time.  I’d been dead set on a sailboat…the charm, the skill, the freedom from gas reliance.  But this was the last sailboat I’d see (except for that weird catfisher).  With a power boat I’d have a newer boat, more room and most likely an easier time getting around for my newbie, minimal boating needs.  I’m not traveling the world.  I can still take my sailing classes.  I can buy a sailboat down the road when I have more skill and can take a week or two or more off to travel.

That’s how the decision was made from sail to power.  A little part of me felt down, but I’m about 10 days away from owning my first boat, and the future is wide open(you have a Tom Petty song in your head now don’t you?).  I’ll be in a great marina closer to work, at another hotel (resort actually (; ), the dockmaster is wonderful, I’ll be in the smaller bay which has both my sail class school and Brent’s job…we can dinghy him to work, and maybe a cocktail or two.

That’s my story of sail to power.  Now all I need to do is figure out how to drive the thing ;).

Thanks for stopping by, hope you’re all having a great day!

Haul out/sea trial day, whew!

Wow.  I am exhausted!  All I did was sit on a boat and watch other people inspect it, but boy oh boy, was it hot out today.  90 degrees in November…are we in the tropics?

As this is an ongoing learning process for me, I’ll explain everything we did today.  Since I am buying my boat through a broker (Jason at Cabrillo Yacht Sales is awesome!), I am going as by the books as possible.  After my offer was accepted, the next step was to schedule a survey…what the hell is that??  This whole process is similar to buying a house.  I had no idea since I had been super close to buying a boat as is off craigslist. The survey is similar to a home inspection, you need professionals to go through your boat and make sure it’s working as it should, and that it is seaworthy.   Jason provided me a list of mechanics and surveyors that his company has worked with.  He can’t actually help me pick one out or say one is better than the other, just provide me with a list of contact information.  I could also find my own…but I’m new to this world so an suggestions help!

Since I am not purchasing a sailboat, I did not need to hire a rigger.  There are two parts (almost 3) to the survey day.  First is finding a mechanic.  He goes through the engines and generator.  Then the surveyor, he goes through every other part of the boat, making sure the lights work, the bilge pump works, the bathroom, the horn (mine isn’t working, dang!) and under the boat.  This is the sort of third part.  I had to schedule a time with a boatyard, and seeing as how I’m in San Diego there are a lot!  We went to the Shelter Island Boatyard.  They literally haul the boat out of the water, then the surveyor pokes around looking for blisters or imperfections and examines the props.  “Pokes around” most likely is not the technical term, but hey, I’m a newbie.  The sea trial part took place on our way to  and from the boat yard.  The boat is currently docked in San Diego Bay, which is the larger bay in San Diego.  I thought that we had to go out to the sea…I mean it’s a sea trial.  Basically they just need to run the boat at full throttle and see how everything handles.

The boat owner came out from Arizona to be present for the beginning of the day.  He’s already cleaned out most of his stuff.  It looks like new boat owners just “acquire” some of the previous owners items.

The mechanic today was Alfredo from Quality Marine.  He was great!  I would absolutely recommend him!  And the surveyor was Dean from Frank K Wyatt Surveyors; also awesome and would also recommend!

I”ll get their findings back in a couple of days.  From there I share it with my broker and we communicate with the seller to see if we have some wiggle room.  The starboard engine has a problem with the carborator(which I can’t spell).  There are a couple options to move forward: 1-we can ask if the overall price can be lowered to compensate for the issues, and 2-we can get a “survey allowance”, which would be the amount of money needed to repair the problems, but held in an escrow account that can only be used for the boat repairs.  For the second option the sale price would be the same but the difference needed would be in escrow.

We’ll see how it goes!

Here are some photos of the boat up in the air!

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Fast forward to an Express Cruiser…

Greetings from the worst blogger of all time.  Tomorrow is my survey and sea trial.  I’ll make a bunch of posts documenting whats been going on, but…I am very close to having a boat.

I’ve looked at a lot of sailboats.  I was set on owning a sailboat.  I’ve been enrolled in classes, bought a book about knots, watched all kinds of sailing videos on youtube, you name it.  The charm and opportunity of sailing free of reliance on purchased fuel and connection to the rest of the world felt like the right choice.  Unfortunately, I don’t live in a book or a movie.  I live within my income and debt.  So, I have to work with what I’ve got.  After seeing another disappointing tiny sailboat (if I sneezed in bed I’d have a concussion) my broker and boyfriend said for maybe the 100th time that I should check out a powerboat.

So fast forward to about 13 hours from now I will have a boat named “Si Yes Da” surveyed and hauled out.  She’s a 1991 31ft Sea Ray Sundancer.  Keeping my fingers crossed!

Recap of the process to follow.  Yes, I do a lot of things out of order.

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The road just got a little longer…

Just got off the phone with a boat loan company.  They need 30% down…which I don’t have.

This whole dream may not happen.  Kind of feels like a lifetime of bad financial decisions (college) and mediocre employment have caught up with me.  It’s beyond frustrating.  These stupid college loans have been shaping my life since I graduated…yet the education isn’t.  I know that there are a bunch of sites and articles and petitions about this topic, but nothing gets accomplished.  I’m almost 40 and I have a ridiculous amount of loans which only go up in amount despite my paying on time every single month.  What’s the point?   The education is worthless.  The payments make no impact.  This is why I want to go to Mexico.

I’m someone who has always had at least one job.  I work all the time, and the job stinks.  I’ve been a server since I was 21, and in very nice places.  But it doesn’t help when you go to a bank no matter what you make…it’s part time and variable.

Not sure what I’m going to do now.  Pretty frustrated.  I still have sailing class this Sunday, and after I’ll start my cruising course.

Wait til next year I suppose…

Ya take the good, ya take the bad, ya take ’em both and there you have…

…the facts of loans!!

The boat that I put in an offer on countered almost immediately…only $1000 less than their asking price, which was $42,000.  I offered $35,000…I know, kind of low, especially considering the quality of the boat.  It’s my first time, and my broker said why not…if they go for it, great!  If not, we’ll go back and forth.

Today I went to the bank, a local credit union in San Diego.  I like this bank a lot, but since it’s a credit union, they are rather conservative on unsecured personal loans, or luxury loans.  They do offer boat loans…for 2012 and newer…the boat I’m looking at is a 1989.  So I would have to apply for a personal loan.  I’ve been saving, but it’s not much, maybe 10% of the boat price.  I don’t make a lot of money, and I have a lot of student loan debt.  I’ve got one Bachelor’s and one associates degree, and I got them in the less popular backwards order.  This schooling is very costly, and has never helped me find a career which pays well enough to pay the loans off.  My loans actually go up every month even though I pay on time, and have for years.  It’s like I’m being punished for the rest of my life by enduring financial ruin as a result of trying to take the proper steps to avoid financial ruin for the rest of my life.  Quite the quandary.

This journey is at the “for real” part.  I’m so close to getting this boat, but right now it seems impossible.  The amount of money I’m asking for in a loan is peanuts compared to what people in this area need for a home.  Maybe this route won’t work out.  I also don’t want to have my broker working on finding me a boat if I can’t get a loan.  It’s a shame that my credit score is finally in good shape, only a few points away from excellent.  Anything with money is always a battle.   Renting just seems fruitless at this point in my life, and owning a home is out of the question.  A house in San Diego starts at about $400k…yikes.

One good thing though, I was just hired at an extremely high end restaurant in La Jolla.  Kind of ironic considering these people spend what I need for this boat in a weekend.  I can’t tell you how many Bentleys I saw today.  Hopefully this job will pay more, it’s a server position, so it’s always a little roll of the dice.  I’m excited.  I’ll need to brush up on my wine regions and varietals.

Tomorrow is another day.  Hope to see you all out on the water someday!