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Last Friday (Jan 20th), we packed the SUV and headed south on a twelve hundred mile round trip journey to St. Petersburg, FL in search of “the one“. We had several prospects in mind and our broker here in Pensacola put us in contact with his partner down in St. Pete to arrange the showings. Awesome guys by the way (more on them later). Needless to say we were excited!

And while the trip down there was uneventful, with the exception of seeing a helicopter parked at the gas pumps (Yeah, a freakin’ helicopter at a gas station!) we spent the 9 hours reviewing boats we were scheduled to see, looking over the endless stacks of YachtWorld printouts, our own spreadsheets of “what we want in a boat”, and talking over the logistics of what would be needed if we put down an offer that weekend. We knew we probably would be throwing down an offer, it’s what the entire trip was really centered around, after all.

We’ve spent the better part of a year and a half scouring YachtWorld and other sources, stepped aboard several Hunters, Pearsons, Sabers, a Prout catamaran, a Morgan, a few others that I can’t remember right now, and Beneteaus. In all, we’ve invested hundreds of hours of our lives searching almost daily, talking endlessly while laying in bed, driving down the road, cooking dinner, folding laundry, (well you get the idea) about boats and trying to figure out what we wanted. So needless to say searching for “the one” has consumed us. After all, we’re not just looking for a boat. We’re looking for a traveling home!

Within the past month, we finally narrowed down what “home” meant to us after stepping aboard a friend’s Beneteau 393. From the moment our feet hit the last step in the companionway Shelly and I both smiled at each other and knew we had found “THE ONE“. There’s just this feeling that you get. Almost as if the boat wraps her arms around you and says “you’re mine now”. The only thing left to do was to find a 393 for sale. Most within reach of us were (as you can guess) in St. Pete, 600 miles away, so we got our broker on the phone and he just happened to have a couple of guys in St. Pete that he partnered with. Things were falling into place as if meant to be.

Bill and Leo (two of the easiest brokers to work with in our experience so far and seem to be all around good guys) set us up with showings for two Bene 393’s, a 413 and a 411, but we knew we had our hearts set on the 393’s.

I have to pause here to say that we had a hell of a time getting a room booked for our trip. Shelly and I literally called at least 15 hotels and all were booked (or ridiculously over priced) but we found a quaint little place called Ponce De Leon on Central Ave next to the marinas and a great little restaurant, “Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro”.

So when we arrived Friday evening, being very road weary after 9 hours of driving, we hit the downtown streets in search of grub. We found a nice place called Stillwaters Tavern next to the marina, filled our empty bellies, and then took a walk down Bay Shore Drive to look at the pretty sticks (sailboats) and stretch our legs.

We admired some of the boats, laughed at the ridiculous amounts of money some of them had to cost, and talked about how surreal it was to finally be here, in this moment, getting ready to have our dreams poised to come true — after so many years of talking about it.

Saturday morning continued in part 2… Click Here.