A very emotional process. We fell in love with our Alberg 37 the first moment we saw a picture of her on the internet. The decision to invest in her, more money than originally calculated and flying to Seattle was organized quickly. When I finally saw her in person, she was all what I had hoped for. Bonnie, the owner, showed her to me, pointing out all details why they had bought and had fallen in love with her. She had been lovingly restored, shined in her new found glory and every space to the smallest corners was optimized for long sea travels. Needless to say that after 1.5 hours of inspecting her inside and out, I was ready to make an offer, which reflected my amazement of her condition and was accepted on the spot.
We were first time boat buyers and were searching with our trusted broker, Leslie, for the right boat. Leslie is a life-long sailor, captain and circumnavigator and we learned from her the essentials for a sea fearing boat. We learned a lot about what to look for in our boat, found a lovely Cavalier 39, which was snapped up before our noses by some New Zealanders, who flew in, surveyed her and sailed right back home. We were still working to secure the funding at the time the buyers swooped her up. She was the 2nd boat we saw and we didn’t know Leslie that well yet. We thought we had time, although Leslie thought ‘she is a very good boat!’ and that Cavaliers are revered in Australia and New Zealand.
After we lost the Cavalier, Leslie said that ‘the right boat always comes along’. It took 6 months until we got excited about another boat again. We went but it through a sea trial, a survey, then walked away from the boat. Best $1000 we ever spent! The owner had an unrealistic expectation of the worth of his boat and was unwilling to negotiate the hefty allowance we wanted for much needed repairs. All this happened under Leslie’s knowledgable and gentle guidance. The owner then accepted our counter offer one day after we had set foot onto the Alberg 37. Luckily he was too late.
In retrospect, the time we spent looking for the right boat was essential to learning what we needed and wanted of a boat, and what kind of boats were available within our budget. It proofed to be an invaluable process to finding the right boat. Our Alberg felt right the minute I saw her in her slip!
The sea trial.
The sea trial followed and went very well, she sailed beautifully even when we hit a patch of light wind, her narrow beam giving her that advantage over wider boats she not only looked sleek, she sailed sleek as well! Boat building in the 50s and 60s was primarily for ocean travel. In the late 70s and 80s weekend cruising became popular and then cabins started resembling on-land condos of the same period. Performance was sacrificed for comfort. A sailor told me that the wives wanted true kitchens and vanities and separate shower stalls. Gone were the times when sailor ruffed it.
The Alberg 37 built in 1969 still embodies the old love for sailing. Form follows function, in her case her lines are narrow and long, and she does not have the beam (width) of today’s cruising sailboats and certainly not their length. Every inch is optimized for comfortable ocean travel and speed.
The owners were very confident about the upcoming survey, she had checked out for them well a couple years prior and they knew how well they had taken care of her. They had reluctantly made the decision to sell her, and only because of health reasons. As difficult as it was for them to show and sail the boat for me, they gave me full insight into the care she was given, which a broker might not have been able to convey. A broker makes the deal less emotional and the negotiations are done by phone, but there is a greater advantage in a person to person interaction. For this direct deal between owner and buyer, we hired a broker to take care of the back end of the buying process, to provide a trust account, oversee the money transfer and handle the paperwork.
And it is great to have the owner present at the survey. Our surveyor, Lynne, told me that she had hugged many sellers, who were selling reluctantly, when the emotion overwhelmed them. But to watch the seller and surveyor interaction is invaluable! Systems are found easily and can be explained to the buyer in a fraction of the time.
The Alberg surveyed beautifully. ‘Exceptional for a boat her age’ Lynne summed up her survey. No repairs needed, only few cosmetics touch ups, the hull didn’t have any blisters and was painted recently and all through-holes were galvanized at the same time. She will need a larger anchor and new rigging for crossing oceans and electronics. But for coastal sailing she is ship sharp, ready to go!
Transfer to San Diego.
The weather prohibited us from sailing her down to San Diego that late fall in 2014. None of the captains we wanted to hire for a ‘owner-assisted’ delivery wanted to leave Seattle after November 1st and we couldn’t wait for spring to see, sail and retro-fit her.
A boat yard decommissioned her: took down the mast, dismantled the dodger, labeled all parts, so that she could be easily recommissioned in San Diego. She was carefully prepared for her 4 day truck journey to San Diego. I placed full confidence in Sig Harbor, both boat yard and national trucking company were based there and knew each other well. The former owner also kept an eye out. Next time I saw her was on the truck in San Diego Bay.
The sustainable yacht.
As a sustainable yacht she will have an electric engine (later), composting head/toilet, sensible electronics, solar panels and wind turbines (later) will tag-team to power them, a water maker and a back-up generator for the engine (for emergencies). She was already painted with a new non-copper bottom paint by her former owner, which will be CA boating standard as of 2018. Few have worked with this product in SD bay, had her hull stripped of years of bottom paints all the way to the gel coat to give this non copper bottom paint he best shot possible (more on bottom paint here).
All she came with was an older VHF for local sailing, and as a cruiser she needed a life-raft, dinghy for getting ashore, a larger anchor (larger is better in this case), new mainsail, anchor, new winlass, new standing rigging, new running rigging, new lines, new fridge, new autopilot, chart radar, plotter…
She is very ready for cruising now!