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To read part 1 click here…

Saturday morning we woke energized and ready to see some boats! It was shaping up to be a beautiful day with a good breeze and warm temps in the high 70s. Perfect boat shopping weather!

First on our list was Aquila. We already knew a lot about her and knew she was a contender, but might end up being our 2nd choice of the 393’s (more on that reasoning later).

We met with Bill at his office just a few miles down 1st Street and he shuffled us into the brokerage’s work van. The work van, while fairly comfortable for those up front, wasn’t quite as comfy in the back since there were no seats and being the loving husband, gallant gentlemen that I am (I’m building points here!), took the hardened metal floor in the back to park my soft and delicate derriere.

The ride to the marina where Aquila was parked was… not gentle. Bill, being the good guy he was, apologized repeatedly, but it really wasn’t a big deal to me and Bill had assured us the marina was only 5 minutes away. Oh, and we had to take the van because it had one of those super special parking passes that meant the city wouldn’t tow you — which we found out the city takes seriously on an hourly basis!

True to his word, Bill had us at Aquila’s marina with in minutes. Keep in mind that the van didn’t have any windows in the back so I wasn’t sure which marina we were at. St. Pete seems to have a million or two of them. But after climbing out of the van I immediately realized we were parked right in front of Aquila. I recognized her from the photos on YachtWorld.

Bill opened the gate for us and we stepped right aboard. We found her topside a little neglected. There was a good bit of dirt and bird poo covering her decks and Bill explained they were in the process of changing caretakers. We told him it didn’t matter to us and it truly didn’t. We knew what we saw was only superficial and could easily be remedied by a good wash down. In reality it was kind of cute. She seemed like the dirty little vagabond child standing there with arms open saying, “Pick me, please!”

The inside of Aquila was immaculate and here is where it counted. The wood work showed very little wear, no drip stains from leaks in the ceiling, no signs of water intrusion anywhere. There was no rust in the chain plate connections and the compression post showed no signs of stressing at the foot. The stainless in the galley showed a little age from use, but that just means someone loved to cook. I pulled up some of the decking boards to look into the bilge and it was bone dry! I can’t remember seeing a boat over the past year that was perfectly dry. I lifted the companionway stairs to check the engine and didn’t find a single oil stain from leaks and the stuffing box was bone dry too. This was a boat that was well taken care of and loved.

For those of you that don’t know what a stuffing box is, it’s a seal around the propeller shaft that keeps water from rushing into your floating palace of love.

Back on the top side Shelly and I walked her deck, tugging on the standing rigging to feel for looseness in the stainless steel lines, looking at turnbuckles and swages for signs of corrosion, looked up the mast for any unusual bowing, but found everything perfect (but we’re not experts and that’s what the surveyor is for). I even realized the mast was built for in-mast furling AND for slug slides so we could use either type of mainsail we wanted. BONUS!

We sat down with Bill for another 1/2 hour in the main salon and talked things over. Shelly and I ran through our “what we want in a boat” checklist and honestly couldn’t find a single reason not to put down an offer on her right then, but we had other boats to see and it was early in the morning.

Continued in part 3…


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