Sunday, October 13, 2013

Offer accepted and contract signed!

After much debate and discussion and weighing all the pros and cons, we accepted the contract on a boat post survey. Our 10% down is officially not ours any longer.  The boat: a 1995 Fountaine Pajot Venezia located in Key West, Florida......

We made the trip down to inspect last week and spent a few days getting estimates on rigging, bottom job, and engine repair.  All estimates came in a little better than expected but the trick seems to be getting the boat insured due to condition and our inexperience in operating a boat this large – who knew you actually had to know how to sail a boat before someone would insure the boat?!?!

The condition of the boat was actually much nicer than expected especially since it has been reported that it has been completely neglected and left to its own devises for the past two years.  The inside was cluttered but not nasty and even the musky smell was noticeable, but not overbearing. – we looked at boats in St. Maarten that were far worse.  We actually inspected a Venezia while we were in St. Maarten and I didn’t remember the cabins being so large; maybe I just hadn’t considered them at that time and had tunnel vision.  But now after seeing this Venezia online on the first day of it’s listing, I’ve become very attracted to this boat – maybe it was the price, I don’t know.

But the repair list (if studied too hard) can be overwhelming.  I’m under the impression and have done enough reading to know that even a boat that is “ready” to sail have extensive lists in preparation of sailing – much less a complete refit.  So we have our hands full with this one.  And we’ve been getting differing opinions depending on who we ask.  Some say to just let this one go, and others say it’s a great deal, that you can’t find Venezia’s or any catamaran this size for our agreed upon price.  So we made our own decision and followed our gut and decided to accept it as-is, where-is.

The trip was interesting and informing.  We flew into Fort Lauderdale about 10:30pm local time, rented a car and drove down to Homestead to get a few hours of sleep instead of enduring the full 3 1/2 hour drive to Key West.  The next day, we got an early start and got into Stock Island around lunch and checked into the Looe Key Dive Resort and Hotel.  The reviews we read were accurate: the doors didn’t seal great, it was a basic hotel, and the tiki bar on site was a pretty good time.  It has great “specials” everyday for lunch, dinner, and late night snacks.  The live entertainment was decent and the atmosphere was friendly.

We decided to get an early peak at the boat (we couldn’t help ourselves) even though the survey wasn’t scheduled until tomorrow, and drove the 35 min to the boat yard to have a look-see. It was as expected and looked just like I thought it would based on the numerous pictures I saw online.  We were satisfied with what we saw and headed back to Stock Island but made a quick stop by the local Winn Dixie to get some drinks, cereal, and an ice chest in preparation for the full-day survey.

The next few days were spent revisiting the boat often – during the day, at night, whenever, just to get a feel of what living on the hard in a shipyard would actually be like.  And as mentioned previously, got some estimates on some of the major repairs while our sons had a good time on their jet-ski tour.  We also discovered Duvall Street and the clothing optional bar called The Garden of Eden, which is located on the rooftop of the Bull and Whistle Bar.  And while my wife was the only one who got an eyeful of “shlong” from a guy sitting at the end of the bar, me and Justin might just have to frequent more often to see any girls-going-wild…. (keeping our fingers crossed).  We also spent a lot of time at Irish Kevin’s.  It always had a nice crowd and I enjoyed the live music.  I even found myself singing along when instructed – that’s never happened before!?

The last night at Key West we went down to see the street performers by the water and watch the sunset right after we made a quick stop by the southern most point in the continental United States.  Had a great time watching the boats pass close by on the many sunset boat tours being had.  Justin and me made one last stop and Irish Kevin’s bar while Tami and Brandon walked around a bit.

The next day we packed up our stuff and made the long trip back to Ft. Lauderdale.  We gave ourselves plenty of time and it turned out to be a good thing – I thought the highway/road construction was bad in DFW – but maybe its just because I’m use to it in Fort Worth.   Of course it would probably help if I had updated my 4 year old GPS before the trip – but hey, that’s why Tami drives.  Worth noting: at the airport’s Steak-n-Shake, we did see Wes Kain and Frank Morales from the Vanilla Ice Project on DIY network.  They sat down a few tables over from us and it did seem like we weren’t the only ones that recognized them, but nobody bothered them.  Maybe there are a few more home-improvement geeks out there other than ourselves.  I overheard that they were going to Gate F8 so I went to the Arrival/Departure screens just to be nosy (they were flying Spirit Airlines and going to Atlantic City).

As of today, we wait to see if everything clears on the title search and to make sure there are no liens on the boat – we are set to close on October 18th.  But in the meantime, we’re downloading as many PDF’s that we can of the all equipment on board so we have some kind of reference to operate and troubleshoot.  Next update I write will be after we close on the boat, which I understand is one of the two best days of your life.


  1. Hey Kevin,

    Boy, that almost looks like Robbies Marine where I just had a boat surveyed...but then again most boat yards in the keys probably look the same. Could we have almost crossed paths (in which case Jonathan had been there twice in just a week or two)?

    In any case, congratulations on taking that next big step! Looking forward to hearing more of your far sounds pretty familiar.


  2. Yes, it is Robbies, and you had to drive right by my boat to get to the lift. We are parked right by the office. And I was doing a little time line thing...and we had to cross paths at some point while we were down there. I'll keep watching, and good luck.