Our boat, our choices and why we made them.
By Nick Fabbri
Many, many moons (2007) ago I decided to buy a boat. I had never been on a boat before, unless the Wolowich Ferry counts. So I decided that I was going to spend £8000 on a boat. No idea why I came up with such a precise figure, however it needed to be an amount that was small enough to not bankrupt me if I sunk it.
So I bought a 1980 Jaguar 25. What can I say? I knew nothing.
However I loved that little boat. It was a wreck, leaked oil like a stuck pig and had a tacking angle of 190 degrees. After a few years, I was still sailing so I upgraded. This time I wanted something that sailed well .
Again the research took place over many months and we settled on a new Hanse 320. Now this boat was awesome to me. Self tacking jib, hot pressurised water, a cooker. Man, it was like the Ritz. In fact , at one point we toyed seriously with not selling her and doing our trip in the little Hanse. However it was probably not the best choice for a couple of years ,so the choice came for the new boat.
By this point, 2011, Terysa and I had decided that we were going to do this thing together. So we both got to research the boats.
We read blog after blog after blog. The forum at YBW.com had question after question asked and we came up with a shortlist.
Now the debate of old boat vs new boat goes on and on. There are distinct advantages to both approaches. However, I wanted to know where my boat had been, who had worked on her and so we went for new.
So the things we wanted in a boat……
It had to be about 40ft. Enough for 2 of us to handle without relying on masses of electrics, yet stable enough to cut through the waves.
It had to have an Island berth. Neither of us wanted to have the coffin berth or sleep in a triangular forecabin. Also Terysa has this weird thing where she can’t sleep properly unless she can get her foot out of the bed.
Finally it had to be well built. Very well built.
After that everything else was a bonus.
So we trotted off to the Southampton boat show in 2011 with a calculator an overnight bag and a booking for a ridiculously priced hotel. The idea was that we would see the boats on our shortlist, sleep on it and go back the next day . Hopefully with a decision.
Three boats made the cut. At the time Hanse had just launched the 385, and the staff at inspiration marine had been so nice when I bought the 320 that we had to consider it. So a Hanse 385 was our first visit.
It was a lovely modern boat, and we were very happy with the look. However the build seemed a little flimsy. Flimsier than my 320 from a few years earlier. I think that “handsome Phil ” ( as Terysa calls him) did a stirling job of selling it to us. However it wasnt right for what we had planned.
The second boat was the Jeanneau 409. Again, lovely to look at but even flimsier than Hanse. We discounted it immediately.
Now bear in mind that at the time the Euro was fetching 1.15 to the pound, rather than the 1.4 we have today. So it was a lot of money for the average build quality.
The third was a Southerly 38. This was a bit of a wild card. We knew that we would have to take a marine mortgage to buy one, however the boat was lovely. Very,very well built. Beautiful inside, and it had the island bed that Terysa wanted.
It was also British built, had not huge delivery costs and had a lift /swing keel. It sealed the deal. We could easily watch it being built, and spec it to our exact requirements.
So we went to a local pub, ordered a pint and sat with a calculator working out if we could afford it. It cost nigh on twice as much as the other boats. After a good nights sleep we went back and signed with Southerly.
The build started in January 2012 and we took delivery in April. It wasnt a smooth process by a long chalk. Those who follow marine news will know that Southerly folded last year. It’s a crying shame as their boats are superb and unique in many ways. However their customer service sucked. Its not (that often) that I want to punch people, but the arrogance of their salesman was such that at one point I asked the manager for my deposit back.
I also talked to my friend who owns the marina where we keep the boat. Now this man is a multi millionaire and went to the boat show some years ago to buy a new Southerly. Again, the salespeople were so rude that he walked away and they lost another sale.
Its not just because it is/was a prestige marque. We recently went to see Oyster Yachts, and they treat us like royalty.
I hope that if Southerly re emerge at some point they work hard on their sales techniques. Just a thought. Sorry for the digression.
We have now owned the boat for three years and have sailed about 5000nm in her. I still love everything about her. Given my time again, I probably would buy the same boat again. However I would probably also look to Ovni for a comparison. There are some small niggles regarding the Southerly . The first is the top loading fridge. I hate it. I would have like to see it moved so that we could gain side access as well. Hanse do soething like this, so we know it’s possible.
Secondly I would happily have sacrificed a foot of forecabin space for a separate shower stall. the heads don’t have separate showers and it can be a pain.