Summer has officially started and we still don’t have a sailboat to call our own. I won’t blame myself for not trying, though, because I really have.
And not totally without success, I’m happy to say!
At the moment, there is this one boat over in Sweden that we are interested in. I visited it a few days ago, and we came to a preliminary understanding with the buyer regarding both price and purchasing process. There are, however, still a few checkpoints that need to be completed for the deal to happen, so nothing is certain yet.
It’s hard not to get a bit prematurely excited, though!
On the road towards having a sailboat in a few weeks, here’s what’s done and what’s still on the todo list:
1. Find the Boat ✅
The boat is found, I think!
I won’t reveal the secret yet (especially since the boat, in fact, does not belong to us), but a bit surprisingly, it’s actually a boat we’ve come across earlier in the blog.
2. Get Boat Financing ⏳
This is still a work in progress. (And it’s steadily adding to my collection of gray hair.)
When we bought the Hanse 388, Handelsbanken in Finland was the only bank that wanted to provide financing for a boat not bought in Finland. Now, however, since Handelsbanken has exited that business altogether, there are zero.
The usual players (Nordea, LähiTapiola, etc) do provide boat loans, but they require the boat to be physically in Finland before they do it with the boat as collateral. The sellers, for their part— in Sweden and elsewhere— obviously think it is a bit of a showstopper to hand over the boat without getting paid for it.
A few boat dealers/brokers say that they can (perhaps slightly reluctantly) help in these situations. They do so by taking control of the delivery of the boat from wherever-it-is to Finland, and by offering bridge financing to pay for it while it is in transit. This bridge financing is then replaced by a real boat loan, once the boat reaches Finland. I initiated discussions with a couple of these, but after a few emails, they sort of politely stopped following up. I assume there is easier money for them to be made elsewhere, but I don’t know.
So, without any prospects for actual boat financing (ie the standard mortgage system that is widely used all around Europe), I’ve had to resort to a) what I have in my bank account, and b) what financing I can get with other assets as collateral. At the time of writing this, I’m eagerly waiting for Nordea to get back to me regarding the latter part.
3. Get a Boat Survey ⏳
Luckily, a boat surveyor I know had scheduled a trip to Sweden for next weekend, so he’s going to inspect our prospective boat while there.
I didn’t really dig into the details during my visit (the focus was more on emotions), so it’s important to have a surveyor do a more thoughtful analysis.
My sincere guess is that there won’t be any substantial red flags, but we’ll see.
4.1. Find a Home Harbor ✅
This one is checked as well, but only since yesterday! Phew.
Originally, I thought I could continue to use the same harbor we used for the Hanse 388. The potential new one is a bigger boat, however, so I was a bit worried about how it would fit there.
“It doesn’t say anything about length here in the info leaflet,” said the person I’m renting it from. “But the maximum beam is 5.00 meters so you should be fine,” he continued.
Joy! It would in fact fit there, I thought happily to myself.
A few days later, though, I started worrying about it again and decided to contact my pontoon neighbor to get his opinion.
“Yes, it says five meters, but that is only the nominal width,” he wrote back to me. “To get the real allowed width you have to subtract for fenders and some other stuff, and the actual maximum width is 4.25 meters,” he added.
Oh great. It wouldn’t fit there, after all. A bit disappointing, certainly, but also in line with what I had intuitively assumed.
4.2. Where Then? 🙄
Knowing that I had rented and already paid for a place that wouldn’t fit the boat we wanted to buy, I started the (somewhat frustrating) hunt for a place that would.
“No, sorry, we don’t have any places of that size.”
“No, sorry, we are all booked for this season, you can contact us again in January.”
“The price would be [about four times what I had paid for the too small spot], but, sorry, we don’t have any available.”
I did find one free spot about ninety kilometers from where we’re living, priced about six times higher than I was paying for the smaller spot. A lot of money, and more than one hour’s drive. A terrific marina, but not perfect for us.
My sailing club, located about three kilometers from us, also happily replied and offered to recalibrate their floating docks a bit to likely accommodate our prospective boat. While I do love the place, and really appreciated their flexibility, I sent over a big thank-you, but remained slightly unconvinced. It might be, that I had some left-over traumatic feelings from my first encounter with their wooden poles.
Finally, a bit out of great options, and at the suggestion of a friend (thank you, dearly!), I called the actual ships’ harbor, Port of Turku, which takes care of the cruise liners and the other … slightly bigger boats.
“Hello, so, yes, ehm…” I started a bit nervously. “I don’t know if you want to talk to leisure boat owners at all, but you have some docking places quite close to where we live, so is there any chance you could fit a sailboat there?”
The other person seemingly took a while to think about it. “Uhm, what size is it?”
I told him the measurements.
A pause again. “Well… sure, we can fit that somewhere!” he exclaimed on the phone. Then a hesitant pause again. “It’s not … terribly bad looking is it?” he asked.
“No!” I answered, joyfully. “It’s fresh and beautiful”
“Ok,” he said. “If you buy it, just let me know a couple of days before you arrive and I will direct you to a spot.”
The price: just a tad more than we pay for the current spot.
5. Get Insurance ✅
I sent over a request to the same insurance provider, Pantaenius, we had for the Hanse 388, and received a reasonable quote a few hours later.
6. Arrange the Delivery ✅
When I visited the boat, the seller kindly offered to help me sail it to Finland should we come to an agreement about it.
“It’ll be good so that I can tell you how everything works,” he said.
That was greatly appreciated and very nice of him.
“Did you bring the money? Should we leave today?” he added, with a laugh.
Our summer sailing vacation would ideally start sometime after the Finnish midsummer celebration, which this year is on the weekend of June 24th – 26th.
So, we have about two weeks to keep calm and buy our next sailboat. Seems a bit tight, but no worries, we’ll do it!