Vessel search

Vessel Search

Vessel Search




Not long after arriving and settling in the apartment at Falcon Parc, Orlando, the mind began to think boats. We have spent a little time in Perth coming up with our boa spec. In one fundamental area Sasha and I had some “negotiating”. What size vessel would suit us? I was thinking smaller – 34 to 38 feet. Sasha larger, something around 40 feet. In the end we agreed to disagree and somewhat left it open. For the most part we agreed the rest of the major requirement – as big an engine as possible, two cabin configuration, probably a production yacht, minimum navigation electronics, so we could put in what we wanted, sloop rig, possibly even new, if it were to be on a smaller side, and most important of all, space to fit an all in one washer dryer. We set up a spreadsheet to compare data from a number of European and US manufacturers. Once in the apartment we dragged out spreadsheet and started to look for vessels generally available new in US.




The first in any earnest was Dufour. They had a 38 that seemed quite suitable with added advantage of two helms that gives good cockpit walk trough. There was also generous aft lazarette storage. The main problem was lack of response from the Dufour agent in Florida. Sasha communicated with a Dufour representative in UK for pricing and options. We were eventually put in touch with a Dufour yacht owner in Miami. Oscar had a recent model Dufour, and although a 34, it would give us a feel for build, strength, quality and finish. There was also a Jeanneau agent in Miami, so we arranged to see his offerings as well. Sasha picked me up from work in Melbourne on Friday night, and off we went to camp and look at boats in Miami for the weekend.




 On Saturday morning we set of for the marina where Oscar had his Dufour 34, and after a few U turns on the way, we arrived just before the arranged meeting time of 9:30 am. We searched for Oscar, and phoned Oscar’s mobile, but no Oscar. Eventually we found his home number, he was still eating breakfast and would come to see the boat soon. A Little before 11 Oscar arrived. You could not have wished for a more helpful friendly guy, so proud to show of his boat. Oscar was originally from Cuba and came to the US, with most of his family as a kid with nothing. Oscar just about stripped his boat bare to show us its construction strength. Not that there was a lot in it, as he usually used it for racing. He insisted we go out for a sail, I think he wanted to show the new main sail he had just fitted for racing. After the sail we went to the small restaurant for a very late lunch, then to a Spanish coffee house, for some strong espresso of some sort. All in all a great day!




On Sunday, we caught up with Harold the Jeanneau rep for Florida. We looked over 37.5 and 42 but were no more impressed than we had been with 37.5 we charted in Tahiti. Harold also had a couple of Hunters that we checked out. Our view on them was pretty much in line with popular opinion – beautifully appointed but construction not so flash. We returned home with the Dufour at the top of the list.




Sasha had also been in contact with the Beneteau rep in Tampa. Garry Monnel arranged for us to look for a current model Beneteau 393 in St Petersburg’s the next weekend. We drove to St Pete on Saturday morning and met up with Garry who had so far been quite helpful and fourth coming with new Beneteau pricing and options. We looked over the 2005 393 and we were both quite impressed. Space was quite good, although it had two heads which seem quite a waste for our intended cruising. Gary also showed us over a new 423 (42.3 feet). I was not overly impressed with the layout except the dual helms similar to Dufour 38. Gary also asked if we were interested in second hand and offered to look around.




On Monday Garry faxed through data sheets on two 393 currently available. One was 2002 model but had been in fresh water in the Summers and stored in a shed in the Winters, at lake Erie. The owner had just transported it to Oriental North Carolina. It was supposedly as new, if only twenty hours on the larger optioned 56 HP Yanmar engine, two cabin version with a number of extras – air conditioning (two units – salon, forward cabin and the separate for the aft cabin – reverse cycle of course!), dingy, doger, bimini, full instrumentation with chart plotter, auto pilot and anemometer. The dentist owner said he just could not find the time to use “Judy Beauty”. After careful consideration (about five minutes), we agreed to put in an offer, subject to inspection, sea trial and survey.




Suddenly it was on in earnest. Sasha booked flights to New Bern, the nearest airport to Oriental, car hire and accommodation for the three of us, as Gary would accompany us for the inspection.



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  1. Arrival to USA
  2. Tahiti