How to Buy a Boat That’s Not For Sale

We own a boat!  Keep reading, this is unbelievable.

Cruising The Great Loop requires a boat. Searching Yachtworld showed us that finding a boat within our budget constraints with as many of our Top 20 as possible, was going to be — SURPRISE — challenging and a compromise.

Optimystique on the dock at Joe Wheeler State Park, Alabama.

Meantime, enroute to Florida for the winter in our Lance 1685 travel trailer, we stopped to camp at Joe Wheeler State Park in northern Alabama – ironically where the Great Loop Rendezvous was wrapping up (not planned, just happenstance).  We walked the docks and talked to some “real Loopers”.  🙂

One boat in particular stood out as a shining example of what we thought we wanted … I asked the couple on the back deck if I could take a photo of their beautiful boat.  We starting chatting and they invited us inside for a look.  WARNING!  NEVER EVER invite dock strolling strangers inside your boat, you never know what might happen!

The boat was Optimystique, a 2007 Mariner 40.  Optimystique had much of what we wanted in a boat … plus, the owners were former sailers and we had a lot in common.

Small world story: we discover that the Mariner owner was a broker at the same yacht brokerage that sold our sailboat, s/v Winterlude.  He suggested we contact our broker, Gary — Gary was the broker that found them this Mariner. Optimystique was not for sale – they were living aboard and cruising.

We contact Gary & tell him we’re interested in buying a boat similar to the Mariner and ask if he can come up with a list of potential boats.  Research shows that there just aren’t many boats available that come anywhere close to meeting our requirements.  We starting looking at other boats.

Then Gary suggested he call the Mariner owner and see if they’d be interested in selling.  I said no, they’re happy living on that beautiful boat, but Gary said it couldn’t hurt to ask.  The Mariner owners said no, as expected.

I could live here!

Two days later they called Gary back and said maybe.

Next thing we know, we own the PERFECT BOAT!   🙂    Survey says nothing to discourage the sale and a few days later, WE OWN A BOAT!  Unfortunately, since we bought their floating home out from under them, our former owners need some time to find a place to live and move off … but soon …  soon!

So, if you own the perfect boat, beware of being nice to strangers strolling docks!

Do you have an interesting story about buying your boat?  Please leave a comment and share!  Cheers!  Jan


  1. There are no coincidences in my experience – just the favorable alignment of seemingly random events! Congratulations on your new home – she looks amazing! Bring her down to Marathon so we can swap tours. 😉

  2. Stop by Burnt Store when you pass. Hopefully we’ll be there by then. Nice looking craft.

    • Looking forward to seeing all our Burnt Store friends again soon! 🙂 P.S. Don’t tell Nick, he cheered for the wrong team. Cheers! J&D

      • nick chavasse says:

        no i did not, you did! yes stop by so I can see your new toy. at least now you have a boat that can beat War depart. If you know someone who wants a good sail boat have the contact me.

        • No worries, we’ll say hi. And anytime I hear of someone wanting to buy a good (FAST) sailboat, I’ll let them know about s/v War Dept. Know anyone that wants to buy a 2014 10′ Mercury RIB dinghy with a 15 hp Yamaha, let us know – great dinghy but we need a smaller/lighter one. Cheers! J&D

          • I could not find anyone who wanted my Aqua dutch so I just put it next to recycle bin and it disappeared the next day.

          • Alan Huffman says:

            Hi Jan, that looks like a GREAT boat! If you have the dinghy when you get to Burnt Store I’ll take a look at it, my Caribe is getting pretty long in the tooth.

            Alan Huffman, Flatlander

  3. Son of a gun! Welcome back to Waterworld! So looking forward to the adventures told thru your well written perspectives. Goodonya.

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