Thursday May 9th.
After one glorious and sunny day the weather in England has regressed to deepest winter with freezing cold, steady light rain and strong winds which make riverside boatyards into gloomy and miserable places. Certainly not an atmosphere in which ones critical faculties are dulled by the prospect of cocktails in the cockpit in the glorious afterglow of a warm Mediterranean day.
Altogether by the end of this day we had crawled over six different boats in our size range. Two Najads of different ages, a Sweden 45, a year old Jeanneau 49DS, a strange vessel called a Trintella and finally a carbon fibre racing machine. The latter quite unsuitable. Every boat had some good qualities but none fulfilled our total requirements but we got a very good idea of what is available and the price range we will have to attain, at least in the UK.
Friday May 10th.
200 miles from Lymington we had driven to Fox’s boatyard in Ipswich, the home of Oyster Yachts, to have a look at some Oysters. The Oyster is close to being the Rolls Royce of the yacht market, specialising in 60 foot plus luxury yachts at high prices. However, they do make some sub-50 footers and we came to examine their second-hand store. We were shown over seven altogether in the 45 – 49 foot range by the ever courteous and patient Rupert, who was extremely knowledgeable about each boat, both its current status and history. Nearly all of the boats for sale had crossed oceans, some many times, and he was able to inform us of the condition and what needed to be done to bring them up to full sailing condition. Many feel the Oysters are significantly overpriced and they are certainly right at the top of the price range for boats of this size. However there is no denying the solidity of the build and the quality of the furnishings.
We spent another four hours climbing on and off these boats and came to the sad conclusion that the boats we could afford were a bit too old and tired and the ones we really liked, two 49 footers, one with hardly any miles on the clock were well out of our price range. However the experience was very useful and we will set off for Mallorca and the brokers of Las Palmas with a good deal more information.