After more extensive research and web searches we found 3 more boats to check out. One was a C&C 26 and the other 2 were C&C 26 Encounters. As usual all three were several hours away from us. One we had determined that a quick flight over would be less hassle than the whole car rental bit, but the other 2 would be easy enough to drive to see.
That said, we still wanted to be as sure as we could possibly be before devoting any more time and money to the search and inspection. We got in touch with one that was listed by a broker, and he gave us his idea on the best way to proceed. “Decide what you want to offer and make it. Make the offer contingent on a boat inspection, and make the entire deal contingent on personal inspection.” This we thought was a pretty good idea. BUT… we still had to figure out how much to initially offer on a boat we had yet to lay eyes on. So we made a chart.
I wanted to show y’all a picture, but it turns out we didn’t keep it. We compared everyting side by side. Electronics – have them? working? old or new? , Sails – have them? how many? how old?, Roller Furling?, Engine – inboard or outboard? Tiller vs Wheel steering?, Overall condition -Items that would need repair? items we would want to replace?, Trailer – have one or not? These were just a few of the considerations on paper, but we were also aware that even though the excellent suggestion had been made about sending out an inspector before taking the drive or flight to go look first hand, we found ourselves plotting charts to boat locations and considering drive/flight times anyway. We wanted to go see for ourselves. Period.
After laying it all out on paper, we tossed one off the list. Of the remaining two, one we needed to drive to see, the other we needed to fly to see. We decided that we would drive to see the first, and if it turned out a big bust like the Catalina did, then we would go the inspector route for the other one before spending the money and time to fly over to see it.
The weather had been beautiful all week leading up to the Saturday we left to go see the boat. HAD BEEN. Saturday morning was COLD. And we were driving north. To Michigan. Can we say “colder?” Four hours later we arrived. Can we now say “raining?” Yeah…. not the greatest of omens, but we refused to have our spirits daunted. And, well, it wasn’t snowing when we got there, so that had to be a good thing, right? So what if it was 33 degrees and raining?
We found the yard. She had already been hauled out and winterized. Y’all… She was pretty! Not dirty. Not nicked. No draining blisters. Tarped. These were good signs! We met the owner – a very nice man. Evan and I climbed the ladder to see the area where he had carefully pulled back the tarp far enough to allow access to the companionway, but not to allow everything to get soaked.
The cockpit had no standing water, and apparently no towels were required for soaking up rain and “condensation.” It was clean. So far so good! We dropped ourselves down into the cabin. I stood for a moment in the dark (No shore power hooked up to winterized boat + tarp covering the exterior = DARK). I waited. I took a cautious breath. I did NOT start coughing. Ok! Let’s keep going, I decided. We had 3 flashlights. All of them died. Good grief. So the owner and I used the LCD screens on our phones to shed light in places along with the flash on the camera feature of Evan’s phone while taking pictures. We were there a long time. I took A LOT of pictures.
The cushions had been removed along with the cockpit table and other things that would do well not to be left in a boat over the winter. This made access to hatches and lockers and such much easier. I took pictures of everything. Outside lockers, inside lockers, port windows, the galley ice box and sink, the ship’s bell, the locking mechanism for the fold down table, bilge,
Our biggest “concerns” were (a) the port windows. The owner previous to this one had not installed them well. Looked like he used pop rivets to install them and they were cracking at the pressure points of each rivet. They had been epoxied or siliconed over, so there were no leaks. They just weren’t aesthetically pleasing. Then (b) the floor had been redone. But not with a traditional teak and holly flooring, but with knotty pine. It was… different. Not necessarily our style, but we could see that it worked. Then there was (c) the stove in the galley. Burners were DIR-HER-HER-TY! The owner admitted that he had never used it even once, so he honestly had no idea if it worked or not, but we could at least verify that all the parts were there. Everything else looked great. NO leaks. NO soft spots. Clean (except for the stove). NO blisters. We finally left after a couple of hours of pouring over every little nook and cranny of that 26 foot boat.
We looked at all the pictures on the way home – several times, since it was a long drive. We discussed the prospect of replacing the windows. The possibility that the stove might not work. The idea that maybe someday we might want to consider retraditionalizing the cabin sole (if that’s not a word, then it should be.) and OH! Half way home we realized I wasn’t coughing! NO MILDEW!
We knew by the time we arrived home that we would be making an offer. If we didn’t get it, fine. We’d go the inspector route for the other boat in Kansas. Evan emailed the owner when we got home, thanked him for enduring the wet and cold for us, and indicated that we would be indeed sending him an offer. We took 24 hours to decided just what that offer would be, Evan filled out an official offer form, clicked send, and then we waited.
The next morning we had a counter offer and an explanation, and they were both acceptable! It was happening! This boat was going to be ours! We had a check sent directly from our bank to the owner the next day, and the following weekend, Evan drove back to Michigan to take ownership (title, cushions, sails, halyards, cockpit table, life vests, more sails, ship’s log, etc) of our new boat!
Now, please allow me to introduce to you s/v Wind Affair!
We are so happy! We can’t wait until March when our good friend, Captain Todd, gets s/v Dauntless back into the water, so we can use his trailer to go get her! (Thanks, Todd! We will owe you! Oh, wait… we are helping you