Monday 9 September 2013

So How Did You Get Into It?

So how did you get into boating?

I know some are lucky enough to be brought up around boating but for others it isn’t such an early start. For us it was a chance one week holiday on a tiny two berth cruiser on the Norfolk Broads that started our real love affair with the water. The boat was quite simply a horrid little creation, it didn’t handle well, it was a nightmare to get on and off and you took your life in your hands clambering across the front to the bow. It didn’t put us off though, we knew from that moment we were boaters.

The following year we booked a larger four berth cruiser for a two weeks holiday and by comparison to the previous year’s boat, this one was sheer luxury, spacious, warm and a dream to steer and handle. This was the life.

And so it continued for seven years, each year we booked with the same yard for a couple of weeks at a time, sometimes twice a year. It dawned on us when the yard staff knew us by name just how much time we were spending in their yard each year and how much money we were gifting to them. Something had to change.

We knew we needed our own boat. What we didn’t know was what sort we needed. We didn’t know what type of boating we would be doing. Where would we even keep a boat? We spent the next few months researching different boat types, by now we had narrowed the choice down to a cruiser; narrowboats were just not quick enough for us. We were not ready for the slow lane just yet. But even the choice of cruisers was bewildering, displacement river cruiser, displacement coastal cruiser, planing craft, semi-displacement craft, the choice was seemingly endless.

We spent another good few months visiting boat shows, visiting marinas and spending as much time as possible on as many boats as possible getting to see each boat type first hand. Eventually we decided on a small displacement river cruiser. Amazingly a brand new boat (Viking 20) built to our own specification was within budget. For the next few weeks we spent time deciding on the specification of our new boat and then made the appointment with the broker to strike the deal.

On the way to the appointment we stumbled across a newish marina development on the outskirts of Lincoln. As we were ahead of schedule we called in to have a quick look around and see what boats they had on offer. As luck would have it they were holding an open day and they had a nice two year old Shetland 4+2, the direct competition to the Viking 20, on the sales pontoons.  It was as we were looking at this boat that we had a chance meeting with someone who has become a firm friend over the years.

After a quick chat our new friend decided we didn’t need a Viking or a Shetland, we would just get bored quickly, sell it and lose money in the process. What we needed was one of these he proclaimed signalling to the shiny white sporty affair next door. Much more suitable for a young couple like us.

As they say the rest is history. The shiny white boat was in fact Naughty-Cal. We fell for her instantly and in that instant twelve months of research was thrown away, our appointment to order a new boat cancelled and our budget near as damn it doubled.

We did one sensible thing though. We went home to study the figures and ensure that this boat was in fact affordable before we jumped in with both feet. Happy that we could afford it we went back the next day to strike the deal, when the sales pontoon was quieter and we could really spend some time getting to know the boat.

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