I’m going to claim all the glory for finding Laura.
We’d been dreaming about sailing across the Pacific for months and trawling through yachtworld.com nearly every day. I think I wouldn’t be far wrong if I ventured to guess that Stof and I became two of the most knowledgeable poppets out there when it came to yachts between 39 – 45 foot long and valued in the $100000 – $200000 bracket in the United States. One day I got a little distracted looking at Bristols and did a general search and “BINGO!” we found the Laura.
I’d like to say that we were immediately in love and that it all fell tickety-boo into place. Rather, we tried finding every thing wrong with the boat.
For sale in Mexico? She’s got to have something wrong with her! (Nope, the owners just don’t want to sail her back up to the States for sale purposes.)
Shallow keel? She must get tossed around in bad weather! (Nope, the heaviness makes up for that.)
Gosh she looks pretty in the pictures? MUST be because those pics are from years ago! (Nope, just two months old.)
A 1981 boat? Surely she’s got all manner of problems! (Nope, it appears those previous owners sorted out anything niggly and installed a whole load of new things. Generally, though, she’s solid and well built.)
A Bristol? What’s a Bristol? We are never going to be able to sell a Bristol in Australia! (Turns out there’s a broker in Brisbane who LOVES Bristols. And most of the quality boats in Aus aren’t very competitively priced, so at our price we should get lucky…)
Yup, we basically tried to find as many reasons as possible why this was NOT the boat for us, but at each step it seemed more and more like it just might be The One. We contracted a surveyor – the highly respected and ridiculously experienced Cecil Lange – to give her a “pre-survey”. When we called him (it was late one Saturday night in the mountains after more than a few glasses of red wine), he told us he couldn’t resist doing the full survey. “Don’t let this one go,” he said, “she’s a beauty.”
The REAL winners for us (well, probably me… Stof also looked at important things like sails and beam and generally quite technical stuff that is still rather myterious to me. I’ve got a LONG way to go…) :
- Low engine hours – only 1366. This is really good.
- Largely new electronics: important cos that stuff is CO-ST-LY.
- Huge storage tanks for both water (think: drinking, cooking, washing, showering etc while at sea) and fuel (so we’re not forced to fill up too much in expensive places like French Poly).
- A spicnspan interior. She is gorgeous inside.
- Large and comfy cockpit.
- A braai! (Bbq!)
- TWO generous cabins (NB if we’re encouraging people to join us for bits of the trip. Which we are!)
- Head-turningly pretty. Honestly, just look at that gleaming deck and those pretty wood toe and hand rails. Yay!
Eventually we convinced ourselves that this was it. We reached consensus with the buyer on the price and we were all a-go to buy a boat on the other side of the world. That we had never seen. Or been on…
BUT, you know what happened then.
All pics on this page are from yachtworld. We poured over them for HOURS on a daily basis. Pics from our time with the boat coming up next.