Like Night and Day: Boat Inspections

Traveling around the world to try to purchase boats was a very intense experience. A lot of money on the line (10% deposits, surveyor fees, travel costs), limited time, a ton of variables with fast decision-making. At least the scenery was exceptional!! Look at the incredible amounts of granite all over the beaches:

Seychelles are the only “oceanic” granite islands in the world

Why did I fly all the way to Seychelles (3 nights by plane), in the first place? There’s not too many 60 foot catamarans for sale in the world that we love. Our favorite model is the Eleuthera, which has both performance and comfort. It’s basically a big version of our existing catamaran, which is the Bahia model (all built by Fountaine Pajot). Most of the Eleutheras are in Caribbean and Europe at higher prices ($750-$1M).  In the Seychelles there were two under market value, so it was worth the visit.

The elephant in the room, of course, is the delivery voyage back around South Africa. Many things normally break during these types of trips. Which means there are costs and risks involved, and the boat must be ready for going offshore. Which is a big IF.

After flying for 3 nights (Fakarava-Tahiti-San Francisco-Toronto-Ethiopia-Seychelles) I went to my first boat inspection at the marina: an Eleuthera owned by a global charter company. This was the more affordable one. Looked good in the pictures and descriptions, but alas, this was a total dud. Terrible maintenance and atrocious installations, and worse of all, rampant osmosis, an affliction that causes blistering in the hulls. I was especially bummed because I had put a deposit down on this boat! This was a big setback. 

Over the Easter weekend, I gathered my thoughts and took a ferry in Mahé (the capital island) to another two islands, called Praslin and La Digue. That’s where I saw the giant coconut palms and beautiful granite formations on the beaches. They are both very cool islands — I can only imagine what the rest of the Seychelles is like by boat. There are over 100 islands in the archipelago!

Upon my return, I visited the second boat, Nesi. It is exactly the same model — the Eleuthera 60 — but this one is privately owned, and does boutique charters only part time. The difference was night and day: this boat was in vastly better shape! This is what I was hoping to find. Among the many improvements were a hard top bimini with solar panels, shade awnings, improved watermaker systems, and comprehensive osmosis treatment. The general level of care & maintenance was a thousand times better. The only catch is, of course, the boat is more expensive. “You get what you pay for…”

With the help of the surveyor we looked under every nook & cranny of the boat and felt quite satisfied. I left Seychelles feeling like Mission Accomplished.

Ah… how short-lived was my glory. Upon arrival in San Francisco, Sabrina let me know: “So, I found this other boat…” “No more boats,” I groaned. But this is a big deal, Sabrina is right. We need to be thorough, to look under every rock. The research began again — but for the time being, I rest content in knowing I found a great option in the Seychelles. We’ve got to keep moving quickly…

Sea trial in Seychelles aboard a 60ft Eleuthera