It is with bittersweet irony that I write you, Phillip, to thank you for your advice. I wish I had taken it when you offered it some three years ago. You had counseled me on a range of cats that you felt would best suit my cruising plans and budget, not pushing any one brand or builder, but going over the pros and cons of the various models you felt might work for me. Sadly, I later found myself infatuated with a new boat and brand you did not recommend. Just before signing the contract to buy the boat I called you and you warned me about the builder and the design. When it became clear to you I was going to get the boat one way or the other, you recommended I get an independent surveyor to really survey the boat carefully before I signed the final papers. I unfortunately didn’t heed your advice and bought the boat “of my dreams” without having a proper independent survey done. Aside from having my share of problems while sailing and owning her, I took a huge hit when I sold the boat and “lost” over half of what I paid for her, not even considering all the expenses I had while owning her. It was painful to have three different surveyors tell me that I had vastly overpaid and that the boat was not worth half of what I had paid for her.
I feel stupid, but it’s so easy to be blinded by builder claims that I lost focus and did something rash. They say that hindsight is always 20/20 and I know that when I buy my next boat I’ll not make the same mistake. I sailed that boat for 2.5 years and got from Norway to Australia, and saw and met a lot of sailors/cruisers along the way. One thing was evident: A lot of people have made the same mistake I did. They think they know more than they know, and fail to realize that there are some truly expert brokers who really want to make sure they get the right boat, not the wrong one. It’s funny, but I would never buy a house without going through a broker, yet somehow I felt “confident” enough to do so when I spent the same amount of money on a boat. I don’t plan to make the same mistake twice, so for my next purchase I hope you can help me, so I can avoid all the trouble I went through the last time. My advice to anyone buying a catamaran, new or used, is to find a real professional, a true buyer broker with vast experience and integrity, who understands that counting happy customers is far more important than turning a fast dollar.