Cruising Stories

Cruising or Live-Aboard - Finding the Right Boat

How Big do you Need?


After many years of cruising our Nautilus 36 Pilothouse Sailboat in the summers on Lake Ontario, my wife (and co-captain), Erica, and I decided to avoid the Canadian winters and try out the live-aboard lifestyle in southern Florida. As we all have learned, it's easy to purchase a boat, but the real challenge is in selling that boat when you are ready to trade up. To begin our search, Erica took the reins on finding our next home, focusing specifically on used powerboats. Less than 20 minutes later, I heard, Steve, have you ever heard of McKinna Yachts? I had not, but it was perfect! The next month we acquired a gorgeous 48-foot McKinna, joined the Lighthouse Point Yacht and Racquet Club in Pompano Beach, Fla., and began our learning curve. Even though we were new to power boating and inept about fixing any of the things that occasionally fail, we boldly mapped a route to our home in Toronto.

Two years later, we had completed two round-trips from Pompano Beach, to Toronto, and thoroughly enjoyed the journeys (except for the parts when towing was involved). Since we vowed to never to go out in big seas, the journeys were extended while waiting for calmer weather in New York City and Charleston, S.C. The rest of the voyages were mostly on the inside.

In time, we decided to spend less time cruising and more time enjoying our friends and the live-aboard style at the dock. It was during this time the club cruises on the ICW and occasional voyages to the Keys and Bahamas were perfect for us. Only one thing (the iconic line from Jaws): We're going to need a bigger boat!Back to the drawing board. It wasn't long before we came across a Pacific Mariner 65. The configuration and amenities were ideal for our needs. And there were a number of them for sale in southern Florida.

Next step was to call our trusted broker, Lee. We gave him two vital conditions: First, under no circumstances were we going to own two boats at the same time. Secondly, we didn't want to be without a boat for longer than a few days, as it is our winter home. Lee is very experienced and amenable to the challenge. Following his advice, the McKinna was priced to sell and, sure enough, within two weeks, we had an acceptable offer subject to only the usual sea trial and survey. Only then did we make an offer on a newly refurbished 2000 Pacific Mariner 65, also subject to the same terms.

After a few glitches and the customary survey surprises, we accepted the offer for the McKinna in early 2016 upon receiving the funds into our broker's trust account. A few minutes later, another wire transfer to the broker for the Pacific Mariner. Whew! It sounds simple, but readers who have bought and sold boats know that such stories almost never happen as planned.

Our luck didn't end there. The slip next to us at Lighthouse Point Yacht and Racquet Club became available and 24 hours later we backed in the Mariner. We seamlessly transferred our personal belongings from one boat to the other. The purchaser arrived and departed with the McKinna and then we moved the Pacific Mariner to a new permanent slip.

Mission accomplished.

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