Back in Canada…….
Once getting over the culture shock and “relearning” how to drive like a Canadian, I got down to business.
The task ahead of me was overwhelming. I had to figure out if this Cuban Charter boat was worth the risk. The risk was substantial, as we only had the limited information and the media I gathered during my half day with the boat. You see, when most people purchase a boat, they hire a professional called a surveyor to “Go over the boat with a fine toothed comb”. I didn’t have this option due to the Cuban factor. %90 of the surveyors in the Caribbean are based out of the USA and due to the embargo laws they could not travel there. This meant there could be some HUGE ticket item lurking that I didn’t have the knowledge to uncover (highly likely).
The first order of business was to create a spreadsheet with a list of all the items that would need to be addressed. Then to estimate the costs of those items. Finally, come up with a value for the unknown and possibly missed items. On the surface, this may seem like a straightforward task. In reality, its anything but straightforward. The fact is, repairs cost change drastically depending on where the boat is located. Replacing a stove top in Mexico would cost almost double to replacing it in Florida and it would be near impossible in Cuba, which highlights a whole new problem. The boat would need to move once I took possession of it, most likely over 750 nautical miles to Florida (remember it was berthed in Cienfuegos).
The first question was if it was even worth pursuing this particular boat. Rhonda and I went back and forth on this. Aside from the unknown repair work, was the location issue. Think about this, upon closing we would need to fly to Cuba (a third world country) and sail a boat in unknown condition across the third most dangerous ocean in the world, crossing the gulf stream twice…. with ZERO blue water experience. This is not an exaggeration or over dramatization, it was reality.
“Calculated Risk”…. This what the decision came down to. We weighed the risks and variables and came up with an offer we felt was worth the risk. We presented this offer to our boat broker who promptly laughed. He felt it was a waste of his time to even present it as it would never be accepted. Guess what…. He was dead wrong (I will do a post on boat brokers in the future). The seller accepted our offer exactly as presented. I won’t detail our offer here as I believe its private between the parties involved. However I have detailed our budget ($165K) so it should give an idea.
Now the scary stuff began. I needed go to the bank and transfer a very large sum of money into an escrow account in Florida. The money would sit in escrow until our inspection of the boat on the proposed possession date. The boat would remain in charter and I would inspect it on April 7th (2015), if it passed my inspection then the money would be transferred to the seller. If not, we would walk away and continue our search.
I now had 3.5 months to learn how to sail a blue water catamaran using courses over the internet! The real adventure had begun!