Sunday, July 31, 2016

Almost Owners

Last Friday I declared that we "apparently just purchased" Windbird, but that's not quite true. We had a signed conditional acceptance agreement with the owners and they delivered a signed bill of sale, but we still had a few boxes to tick before closing. We are financing a portion of the boat with our credit union (with interest rates a ridiculously low 2.46%, it makes sense to conserve cash for the refit), and before they'll cut a check they have a few things they need. Specifically: the survey, a conditional acceptance agreement, an insurance policy naming them as lienholders, and everything needed for transferring the USCG vessel documentation.

I had already shopped for insurance during the last month. I got multiple quotes through IMIS, Bluewater Insurance, and a small private agent, and was surprised to see that rates and conditions varied quite widely. The most expensive policy, at $5500/year, also had a ridiculously high deductible. The one we selected, with Lloyds of London via Bluewater Insurance, came to $2200/year and has a $2400 deductible (10% for named tropical storms). This is an agreed-value policy and I was hoping to insure Windbird for $120k - her expected post-refit value - but they would only insure her for $85k for now. I'm hoping we'll be able to bump it up later based on refit receipts; if not, we may need to do another survey. The navigation limits are also somewhat restrictive, US coastal waters up to 150nm offshore plus the Bahamas. Our agent at Bluewater says we’ll be able to expand the navigation limits to include the Caribbean later on for around $700/year extra, but it doesn’t make sense to do so until we actually need it. We purchased our policy a few days ago but when the certificate came it didn’t have the endorsement naming our credit union as a lienholder. I just got the corrected one today.

We decided a while ago to document our vessel with the Coast Guard rather than register it with a state, as this simplifies checking into foreign ports. Windbird is already USCG documented which considerably simplifies the process; I was going to do the paperwork myself, but our credit union requires the use of Gloria Rector Vessel Documentation, which charges a hefty $500 for the service. One of the first steps was obtaining an abstract of title, which revealed that there was still a lien on the boat from the owners’ previous loan. They’ve paid off the loan, but the Satisfaction of Mortgage has not yet been registered with the USCG. Correcting that will involve getting a payoff confirmation letter from the owners’ previous lender as well as a signature from a bank officer, which may take a week or two. So closing is on hold until this is taken care of.

Our conditional acceptance agreement included nine survey deficiencies we asked the owners to correct before closing. Work on these has been ongoing and is expected to be completed soon. In the meantime, I’m currently spending a week at the boat moving aboard, cleaning, inventorying, organizing, and starting in on my long list of boat projects. I was hoping to get off the dock for a night or two but that won’t be happening since we don’t own the boat, and I’m mostly doing putzy stuff that doesn’t involve a lot of money in parts or materials until the official closing. That still leaves plenty of work to fill our first days as (almost) boat owners.  

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