Wednesday, June 29, 2016


When Dawn and I returned home after our Memorial Day Weekend boat-shopping trip (actually six days long, for me), we immediately threw ourselves into the not-inconsiderable task of packing up and moving our 2500 square-foot house into a 550 square-foot apartment 30 miles away. I had five days to commit to moving before taking off on an 11-day international work trip. They were a jam-packed five days, as detailed in the last post. Yet over the course of a few evenings, we did find the time to talk about the boats we had seen, decide which ones we were still interested in, and make a pros & cons list for each. We agreed that nothing said we had to buy one of these boats; if we waited longer, no doubt other interesting specimens would come along. And in fact I happened to have advance notice of a supposedly cherry Tayana 42CC (no teak decks!) coming on the market in the Tampa Bay area, and I didn't want to even consider putting in other offers before seeing it.

Initially we decided there were five boats on our "interested" list: Oz, Windbird, Marathi, First Light, and Susurra. Of these, our pro-con exercise revealed a few too many insurmountable cons for Marathi, and too few pros for the price in the case of Oz, and so we struck them from our list. First Light had a lot of pros, one of which was that she had been extensively refitted and another was that I felt she could be had at a steep discount; her only real con was the prospect of a summer of gruntwork in a hot, dusty Florida boatyard before we could get her in the water. If I'd fallen in love with the boat I could have worked up the motivation to tackle that, but I was honestly kinda "meh" about her. She languished in third place.

Susurra had a ton going for her and was probably the boat we most "fell in love" with...even though Dawn didn't see her, she was agog over the photos. But Susurra was expensive to begin with, and her inaccessible chainplates, worn-out standing rigging, and original engine meant that her post-refit cost was the highest of all the boats we considered by a good bit and at the very tip-top of our budget (and that assuming the owners bit on a rather lowball offer). We could afford her, but there wasn't a ton of cushion, and I suspected that if we bought her I would end up spending more time working to afford her than if we stayed more within our budget. That would mean less time cruising, in which case what's the point? The reality is that she was more boat than we need or even want. I would be reminded of that every time I docked her, hoisted her 80-pound anchor, scrubbed the bottom, or paid for insurance. She sure is a neat boat, though.

And that left Windbird, the first boat I looked at and the one that managed to stay at the top of the list throughout our search. She actually looked better after having seen some other boats. She has the exact same needs as Susurra (chainplates, standing rigging, and high-time engine) but in all three areas the need for replacement isn't as acute, the refit would be less expensive, and she's far less expensive to begin with. She could use updated electronics but those are getting quite cheap these days and the thought of designing & putting together my own system appeals to my inner geek. As a cruising platform, she checks nearly all our boxes. She's what I consider the perfect size for a cruising couple with occasional guests. We can see ourselves living on her. She has an interesting history and has benefited from active, knowledgeable owners. And she's solidly within our budget. She was listed for $95,000 but based on Tayana comps I figured she would sell for about $85,000. My estimated refit (including engine replacement) would bring our cost up to $121,000. That's a good value for a well-equipped cruising boat.

My main hesitation was honestly the teak decks. I like the look and feel of teak but it demands constant maintenance. The consequences of poor maintenance go well beyond crappy-looking decks; you risk water intrusion and core rot, with truly frightening repair costs. That said, it looked to me like the decks had received decent attention under the current owners' care. If we bought her, I figured there's a 50-50 chance we would have to replace the teak decks during our ownership (either by removing the teak and creating new fiberglass decks, or replacing the boards with fake teak), and that would run somewhere around $20k. It would also increase her resale value considerably.

I dithered about putting an offer in on Windbird, which was easy to do as we were so busy with moving. Then I went on my trip and bounced back and forth between Salt Lake City and Paris, France several times. And then on my second Paris layover, during my nightly viewing of the new listings on Yachtworld, I came across the Tayana 42 that I had been tipped off about. She was listed at $139k, never had teak decks, and was quite nice, as I had been told - but she was not actually a center cockpit, she was the aft cockpit model. I sent Dawn the listing and she didn't like the layout that much. And reading further into the listing, I realized she would need some money put in her, almost as much as Windbird. So you'd be paying about $45k extra just for not having teak decks.

I thought about it some more on the crossing back to Pittsburgh, talked to Dawn after I landed, and with her blessing decided that I'd made up my mind. I emailed an offer of $85,000 with several stipulations to John Schwab, Windbird's broker in Little River, SC. He responded that it seemed reasonable but I would need to complete an official offer form before he could present it to the owners, which took a little doing as Dawn and I both needed to sign & were in different states. But we had it submitted within a couple of hours, and very soon after that John responded that the owners viewed our offer very favorably and were accepting it without modification. Subject to financing, survey, and sea trial, we will be the proud 4th owners of Windbird, a 1982 Tayana 42CC.


  1. Congrats Sam and Dawn.. Hopefully everything checks out and you have a new home for a while! Cant wait to read about the adventures!

  2. Congratulations ! I've been reading through the (extensive) blog on Windbird's adventures around the globe, and was hoping that you would pick that one so the adventures can continue. Not that I know you or the other owners, but as a land locked midwesterner I get my sailing fixes vicariously. Good luck !