I am fighting the urge to wax philosophical about the lot in life that belongs to the beleaguered boat broker. Whereas in the past I might have misunderstood their pain and suffering at the hands of the average boat shopper, I am now in a position where I want to wrap them all up in my arms, pat them gently on their bowed backs, dry their little eyes and say, “I’m sorry for you! Would you like to talk about the possibility of finding an entirely different profession?”. I understand their pain. I feel their pain. We are living their pain because we are trying to sell our own boat. Why are boat brokers in pain? It’s because of people, that’s why. People who don’t know what they want. And we know this because we have been those people and we have caused pain. And now we are getting our payback.
How could this possibly happen, you might be wondering. Isn’t it true that the price of a boat is listed, along with photographs of the boat and at least basic information about the make, model, and year? Doesn’t this guarantee that potential buyers will have some idea of what they are looking at?
If you answered yes, a big SMACK DOWN for you because that would be logical, and people are anything but logical. Just stop right now with your logical thinking! You are actually more likely to have to show the boat to people who are really looking for a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT KIND OF BOAT. That’s right.
Here are some examples:
- The person who has $40,000 to spend, but is hoping your $20,000 boat will be just as nice. Because, seriously, people always UNDERvalue their boats.
- The person who wants the style of a 1980’s boat at a 1970’s boat price. Again, photos.
- The person who really wants an outboard engine but comes to look at a boat with an inboard engine. It’s pretty hard to change that.
- The person who wants to spend $20,000 on a boat, but wants everything on it to be new. (Cue hysterical laughter here.)
It’s becoming clear to us that brokers work much harder for the sale than anyone gives them credit for. It’s a lot of work to sell a boat. We’re sorry to any brokers whose time they feel we wasted. We like meeting people, and we really don’t mind doing boater education. We understand the need to look at a lot of boats since we, too, enjoy that, although we hesitate to waste a broker’s time anymore just to see a boat if we are fairly certain we won’t be making an offer. We’ve learned our lesson there. We don’t even mind showing our boat to people who are just curious because they know we have a blog. I mean, what boat owner doesn’t want to stand around and chew the fat about his boat? Ask us about our batteries! We’ll tell you…We might even take you for a sail.
But this is where our ‘boat broker’ experience ends. Brokers are looking to create relationships with people, knowing they will spend a lot of time up front and might be able to sell a boat later. Brokers have a lot of boats to sell. We, on the other hand, have only one boat to sell. Just one good, solid sailboat with a reliable engine and good sails that is ready to go with no required work on the part of the buyer that we know of. What’s the problem with that? We wish we knew. We’re looking for one honest to goodness buyer who has done their homework about the kind of boat they want and who will offer a reasonable price for our boat and follow through with the sale. That’s all. Just one. Know anybody?
Meanwhile as we ponder the more philosophical side of this whole boat selling business, we ask ourselves if it’s worth all the hassle, all the emotional roller coaster riding we’ve had to do lately. We are getting a little bone weary of this whole thing and the idea of just taking this Cal 34 on the first part of our voyage begins to look more and more attractive. It would certainly be cheaper. It’s likely to be pretty uncomfortable sometimes, but, as they say, the ocean passages are only a small part of the whole experience. And it would just be so much easier.
In other news, Mike was commenting yesterday that this has been one of the best years for sailing that he can remember. We’ve had more sunny days, AND more wind than usual. We had two back to back excellent days of sailing on Commencement Bay and when I say ‘sailing’, I mean 6.8 knots on a close reach, all the way to Vashon Island. Woo Hoo!! On days like that it’s hard to be upset that we still have our boat. It could be worse. We could own a boat that is so heavy it can’t sail out of its own way (in the words of a certain broker we know). Or we could have a project boat that just won’t quit. Oh, the thoughts we are thinking right now. They do go round in circles.
If you are looking for the companion blog post to the article on ThreeSheetsNW about the SSS Odyssey, here’s the link for that. We hope you read it because the Sea Scouts is a seriously cool organization.