Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Home in Port Charlotte

They say the two best days in a boater's life are the day he buys his boat and the day he sells it.
I experienced both of those days this week.  Readers may recall that I've been trying to sell my boat since November.  A combination of excessive equipment failures and frustrations with low bridges and high tides all led to the decision to part with the 26' walk around cabin.

Last Saturday a buyer came all the way from the Florida Keys to see it and buy it.  I received 88% return on my purchase price from three years ago.  Of course that doesn't count the thousands I poured into it in the last year but I'm very satisfied with my sale.

Ever since November I have been shopping for a replacement.  I really like Boston Whalers but so does every seller who's selling one.  They must, because they price the boats so high.  I just can't justify spending twice the price when the boat isn't quite twice as nice as a few of the other top brands.  I knew the style of hull I wanted was what they call a bay boat.  It's a modified V hull, with a pretty shallow draft, enabling one to access the shallow back waters of the rivers and mangroves around Charlotte Harbor, yet with a design that will handle a good chop in the water without risk of being swamped or capsizing.  Many manufacturers make bay boats.  One of the more popular and reliable brands in the South are Key West Boats.

In business since 1990 and still producing models today, Key West makes boats from 14 to 30 feet.  They mirror the Boston Whaler design of no wood, no rot, construction.  Hulls are made of foam filled fiberglass and composite materials, with stainless steel metals.  Their moto is "made by fishermen, for fishermen."  Their Bay & Reef models are very popular and as a result, limited in supply on the resale market.

Once I sold my old boat, I went into heavy research mode and settled on a 2003 Key West 196 Bay Reef that I found on craigslist.  I went to see it and brought a compression testing kit with me.  The Yamaha 150 horsepower outboard motor tested out perfectly.  It has 234 hours on the engine, is in very good shape and comes with a nice trailer.  The trailer will enable me to pull my boat off the lift in order to do maintenance.

I still have my old boat out back, while I wait for the buyer's Minnesota check to clear.  Once that does, I will release the Seamaster to her new master and I will bring home the new one.  Below are a few pictures I took at the sellers house.

Click on pictures for full screen image

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