In "The Search For A Boat" there are three determining factors in my case. The budget, singlehanded sailing and the budget.
I know of people who have searched for months and even years before deciding and commiting to the vessel they now have. It's not an easy task. On an adventure such as this the boat becomes your home, it needs to be big enough to be safe, while fitting in with a sustainable budget and manageable with your own level of skill and competence. If I go for a boat beyond my capability thinking I will grow into it, I fear that there will be a tendancy to never be ready to slip the dock lines.
I'm looking for something between 30' and 40', set up for cruising, able to handle an ocean passage and not requiring a major refit before we get started. Given my modest budget, I know there will be work to do but I haven't come across anything on a boat I wasn't capable of stripping, overhauling and recommissioning. You can list out all your wants, break them into needs and likes and go from there. Does your choice really exist? Unlikely, so there will be some level of compromise.
You spend hours upon hours crawling through websites looking for that perfect vessel and narrowing it down to a point where it's time to go and have a look. I chose to go through a broker rather than boats that were up for sale by there owners with only one exception and he turned out to be a very nice, genuine person open to reality. It's a personal choice, and I was comfortable with it. Just remember to make your own decisions and not be swayed by what a broker may say, although they can be a wealth of information.
After a couple of months of looking around our local area in Fremantle WA and putting forward some offers that fell flat, it was time to look further abroad. (It's always greener on the other side right!!)
With a couple picked out it was off to Manly in Queensland. Thank you Tiger Airways for you cheep flights. Time to meet a new broker on the other side of Australia and take a look at "Pabati" and "Petrel". With a red eye flight completed its a 1.5 hour train ride from the airport out to the coastal town of Manly. A massive marina with hundreds of boats, some that probably never see the ocean and others glisten in the early morning sunrise.
It turned out that Pabati and Petrel didn't fit the bill. A couple of things I have noticed about boats for sale in general. Once they are on the market the owner gives up on it, they do no maintenance, no cleaning and no one takes any responsibility for what may have once been the perfect vessel. The second thing I have noticed is that what you see on the internet rarely reflects what the vessel actually looks like. The pictures may well have been from two years ago when this was the owners pride and joy.
Lessons learn't...."Its not greener on the other side"