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Monday, 30 January 2012

That rules out the Taiwanese boats then

We had a call yesterday lunch time from a guy called Richard who owns a CT 41 that's in Whitehaven. We had spotted this boat standing in the boat yard a couple of weeks ago. The boat wasn't for sale and it looked decidedly like a project boat, which it was. Being new to this boat buying game, and being romantics, we had always been drawn to the photos of these, and other Taiwanese models, the Cheoy Lee, Formosas etc. They just have that look about them, that look that turns heads as you sail into harbour, such pretty lines, they just seem to fit our ideas of what we wanted, and quite often they were cheap, within our budget.

We had asked Richard to call us whenever he was going to be visiting his boat so we could come and have a peep inside one of these, as there seem to be few, if any for sale in the UK. Although we knew this one was not for sale and that he had already begun to take her apart it was still a great opportunity to get on board and find out if this was the sort of boat we wanted to buy.

Now Richards emails had been, shall we say a little less than chatty, he seemed to communicate in lists, so I was prepared for a bit of a character, I suppose. When he rang it was a very last minute call, he was going to be there this afternoon if we wanted to come see. We were watching the Australian open final and it had just gone into the 5th set, so at first I said thanks but we may give today a miss. Anyway we were an hour and a half away and he sounded like he was only making a quick visit. Call you back, I said if we're coming. When I rang back he informed me that they would be there at 14.28. Now that was a bit weird, I thought, why not half two, mmm Richard was going to be different.

We arrived at 3.15. Richard was in his early 60s, I would say, and a bit of a live wire. From the off he told us how this boat was not the sort of boat we should even think about buying. He piled the negatives on top of negatives and then finally invited us to climb the ladder and come see the pain that we would inherit should we be foolish enough to buy a boat like this. Jackie, declined the offer to come a board and chose to stay on terra firm and chat to his girlfriend. She had already decided that  this was not our boat, much to big, much problemo.

I followed Richard up onto the rotting deck to be shown the horrors that lay buried beneath the bowels of this project. It was dark and dingy inside and all over the place were lifted boards that revealed a couple of years of restoration that Richard was embarking upon. It was not a pretty site, although I could sense that he was committed to bringing this craft back from the brink. But as he pointed out the herculean task that he was undertaking I could see that this was not the way I wanted to go. The dream of romantic sailing craft ebbed away as fast as the falling tides of Morcombe Bay. Sure, the teak interior was lovely but the mass of rotting pipe work and fraying wires exposed soon put paid to my ambitions to own this type of vessel. Richard talked it down, and down some more. Even though for him it was going to be a labour of love he made a great job of quashing my enthusiasm, and I thank him for this. We had be seduced by the lines, the superficial shimmer of the woodwork and space that we had seen in the photos of boats like this on the web. But no longer, we came away with a reality check, and Richards wise words.

We have been barking up the wrong tree, we want to sail, not too inherit a project.

So the trip was well worth it, we have struck another set of boats off our list, and although we don't have a clue what we want now, at least we know it's not going to be some romantic notion, we will choose more wisely, and may even go for a plastic bath tub with a stick that we can sail tomorrow, not spend our time doing something up that could take years to get to be seaworthy.