It will always be the hardest decision, which boat to buy. We decided that for us the first two decisions were:-
1. Set a budget and nothing more
2. New or previously owned, and our choice was new.
Then came all the fun bits, internal and external and although neither was a long list some decisions started to limit the short list.
Key internal features we were looking for:-
Two cabins only
Non linear galley, and the galley at the foot of the companion way
Key external features we decided to look for:-
Ability to be sailed by two people
We like the look of the boat from the outside too.
Then off to the shows to see what met this and was within budget. This would be our third boat and we had learnt some good lessons over the previous four years including that in it would be necessary to have a reasonably local dealer. Our second boat was from a dealer the other end of the county and as such the aftercare support was less than satisfactory. Bearing this in mind the list became quite short quite quickly and was (in alphabetical order)
Bavaria Vision 44
Beneteau Oceanis 43
Jeanneay DS 42
Each of these are fine craft and all had good points and bad.
There was not a lot between the Bavaria and the Hanse however we decided that these two were not for us. So it was between the Beneteau and the Jeanneau. Another very important lesson from both of the previous boats was the relationship with the dealer. The Bayliner dealer was great when we were thinking of buying but as soon as they got the cheque they didn’t want to know – awful, and they ended up with the local Bavaria dealership while we were looking so that was dead in the water! Then with the Jeanneau, great relationship with the dealership however they went bust in the first round of the credit crunch of 2007.
We had been talking to the local dealers however Maiden Marine always went the extra mile to help, explain and advise, less so from the other dealers.
Off to the boat show and had a look around, Beneteau won hands down. Put the P32 up for sale and waited 9 months and on the first visit it was sold. During that time the credit crunch had hit, Pound collapsed against the Euro and nothing was moving. We spoke to Maiden Marine who said there were some good deals on the three cabin 43’s as Beneteau build in batches – not in our criteria. Unbelievably, between Maiden Marine and Beneteau they agreed to do a one off 43 two cabin version, talk about customer service, and the deal was done.