Sunday, 31 January 2010

Ting-a-Ling. A Thompson T24

To put an end to mine and my girlfriend's boat-induced misery I decided that I'd be better off buying a boat than spending the next few months/years/life thinking about it. So I decided to try to find a small cheap old boat to get some experience on. The plan was to keep this boat for about a year and then try to get a bigger one. I decided that a bildge keel would be better for this first boat as it would keep costs lower. But that was not a strict requirement. I also wanted separate heads and near standing headroom. And of course, all this at a very low cost as I still had to save for my next boat.

So I came across a pretty cheap end-of-season bargain on ebay: a fin-keel Trident 24. I read all about it, called the seller and was quite happy with what I found out. But then I had second thoughts as the boat was near Edinbourgh and there was no way I could bring it to the south in the middle of the winter. So I gave it a miss, albeit a near one..

Then I found a triple-keel Trident 24, about 50% above my budget but well equipped, at a cheap harbour and relatively close to London where I live. I was quite excited! Called the seller, and arranged to view on the weekend. As I was about to set off from London, I called the seller to say I'd be half an hour late and he told me that he was with another buyer who made him an offer which he accepted. I was very sad..

But that was not the end of it.. A couple of hours later he sent me an email saying that the prospective buyer was obviously mad and that he did not buy the boat after all.. OK, I thought. Opportunity knocks! I am I ready for it? Well, I wasn't. My excuse: it was a lot more money than I had budgeted for. Or maybe I was just pissed off because he turned me down the first time. Or maybe just not ready - whatever - you can find zillions of excuses not to buy a boat.

Back on apolloduck, Boats & Outboards, ebay, boatshed, boatshop, yachtsnet and of course yachtworld. In front of a PC monitor for hours, straining my eyes and my girlfriends patience.

There's a Thompson T24 on ebay. Looks good - fin keel though. BUT: with 6-months paid for marina berth. And it had separate heads, standing headroom and five berths! What more can you ask for a first boat?

The reserve and buy-it-now price were double my budget though so I kept on dreaming. But opportunity knocked again: it did not sell the first time so the buy-it-now was reduced to half!! You could had thought: suspicious. But I thought: bargain!

I called the seller and of course I was happy with what he told me.. It seems that opportunity knocks quite frequently when you're in the market for boats. But frequently the only way to find out if it really is an opportunity, is to grab it. The risk is that it may turn out to be a flop.

I placed a bid and bought the boat straight away.

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