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Monday, 4 February 2013

Dreams to Plans... Making It Real

So everyone has a dream... including you, right!? But now what do you do?

Make a plan.

So how do I come up with a way to "sell t-shirts on the beach"? In reality, I've tweaked my dream a bit. Call it mid life crisis, or call it corporate burn out, or just call it craziness/laziness. Somehow, I've managed to convince myself that I should sail the Caribbean for a while, in order to recharge the batteries, and maybe find a place to set up shop, after my Chris Columbus like urges are satisfied. What's really amazing, or perhaps scary, is the fact that my wife, Leanne, and even my son, Daeyten have stopped giving me the "are you nuts" slant of their eyes, whenever I mention 'the plan'! WTH?

So now that I'm starting to feel like I might actually convince them my plan could work, I realised that sailing experience would be a good place to start. Sure I've sailed dingys since I was 8. My last boat, a 14' Zuma was a great boat to learn wind patterns on. Hell I even sailed it on the Atlantic!! OK, Northumberland Straight, between PEI and New Brunswick! But it flipped often, and wouldn't accommodate 3 adults, and two Alaskan Malamutes..

OK, so a slightly bigger boat, we could all learn on, STEP One. Thanks to a large tax return, around $10 000, we were in the market for a boat. Something used, in the 27' range would enable us to spend weekends aboard, get us used to the life style, and learn how to sail with instruments. I searched websites, read blogs, forums, visited marinas, and searched more websites, to find a boat that was suitable. Having attended the boat show each of the last 6 years, I learned that I wanted a Catalina. I hadn't learned enough about boats to understand why that boat brand appealed to me. But I knew I wanted one just the same. On one occasion, I drove all the way to Erie Pennsylvania to look at a Catalina, which turned out to be dingy and musty smelling. Not to be discouraged, we went poking around the Midland area the following weekend. We found a Catalina 27, and had made arrangements to see it Saturday afternoon. While waiting, we poked into another marina, who told us a Hunter 33 had just come on the market, and it was near the Catalina 27. It was also listed with the same broker who had the Catalina. But It was newer, bigger, and priced well beyond our $10 000 budget.

We meet the broker at 3:00, and check out the Catalina. It was clean, and well kept, but small and awkward layout. Disappointed, we asked if it was possible to see the Hunter. He told us the Hunter was in dry dock, and not a problem to see. When we went in, we where instantly hooked. It was clean, spacious, and showed no obvious signs of need. More important, it had already been to the Caribbean once, so it would show us the way!!

Problem with the Hunter was price! A lot of price!! About $40 000 over budget! Once it became clear that Leanne was not going to let the Hunter go easily, I had to do something. So I low balled. I was convinced I wouldn't hear back from them, but I did. It was listed at $50 000, and I offered $35 000. They came back at $40 000. Now that I realised they were taking me seriously, I did what any man would do... I panicked. I realised that I was one caulky counter offer away from having an agreement, with no plan on how to pay for it!!

After ignoring their counter offer for about a week, the seller's broker emailed me, asking why we hadn't responded. How do I tell him that we are big dreamers, with no money? So instead, I meet with a financial planner. I had come to realise that in Canada the government likes when you invest in RRSP's. So much so that putting money in them sometimes gets you more money! So we found a way to get the extra money to pay for the boat... in THEORY at least! But we wouldn't actually have the money for a while! So back to the broker, we propose a meeting in the middle. But with a delayed closing. After wrestling over the details for what seemed like years, we had a deal. Step one, Buy a Boat, DONE! Whats next?? More Planning...

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