One weekend ago, we headed on down to South Lake Union for Seattle’s Boats Afloat show. Neither of us was quite sure what to expect, but we packed my satchel with water, snacks, and the camera, and showed up at about 10:30. The weather was mild, on the verge of rain, and rows and rows of boats lined the docks.
Unfortunately, most of these were not sailboats. All in all, there were probably less than 30 sailboats, and even fewer in sizes and styles relevant to our needs. We took a quick walk around to scope them out, then headed to a boat-buying seminar.
The seminar was well presented and touched on many topics we had already run across, such as the importance of a good surveyor. It was very broker-centric- a broker was presenting, after all. But still, he pointed out some things to us that were very useful, such as stressing taking the sea trial before the survey. Little things like that may be common sense, especially to someone who has bought a boat before, but not necessarily obvious to a newcomer.
After that, we decided we’d get on as many boats as we could during the course of the day to get a feel for the different manufacturers and what we liked or disliked about each. We also spoke with a few of the brokers standing on the docks, all of whom were very friendly and informative.
Some take-aways from the boats we hopped on-
- Jeanneau, Hanse, and Beneteau yachts all felt a bit like Ikea had vomited into a boat. Don’t get me wrong, it was a beautifully modern sort of vomit, full of slick lines and birch and cherry veneer, but it’s not my thing. Ikea itself has its place and they even make some very nice things that have a touch of character, but not these boats. If you want a slick daysailer to show off to your buddies, sure, but not if you want a place to come home to.
- Catalinas and Hunters were a happy medium of creature comfort. The Hunter-Marlows were incredibly roomy for their length and had a lovely separated shower. However, we learned that Hunters very recently became so roomy after a buyout by Marlow, so the likelihood of a Hunter-Marlow being in our price range is very low. The Catalina felt like a very cozy RV, and while The Sir wasn’t as keen on the Catalina as the Hunter, I’d be happy in either.
- Island Packet and Blue Jacket – Of course, the boats we liked the most would be the most pricey. These ships both had some nautical character to them with nice vented lockers and well finished interiors, and the Island Packet even carries a full keel. We’re not sure we’ll entirely utilize a full keel, but the idea of a sturdier sea-worthy ship is darn appealing. They also run somewhere around double the price of an equivalent ship from the other manufacturers.
Some interior shots of the 2014 Island Packet:
Truth be told, I’d be happy on any of these ships, but The Sir was not overly impressed with them. If we end up in one of these incredibly popular (for good reason) boats, we’ll probably be looking for something that will work for the time being and be easy to resell, so that if something we really love comes onto the market, we can quickly transition to our dream boat.
So, the boat show was not as helpful as we’d hoped, but we did get a good feel for the most common manufacturers and also pick up countless tidbits of useful information while we were there. On the second day, we went through each boat again, taking more detailed notes and video clips. We also got to spend some time hanging out with The Sir’s aunt and uncle, checking out absolutely ridiculous triple story trawlers.
Thank you for taking the time to read through! If you have any questions for me, or just want to hang out with some cool folks, feel free to hop on the Creaturista Discord server!