Knowing the type of boat we wanted, and the various makes under consideration, we began to visit various brokers in earnest and attend boat shows. We quickly realized that no two dealers are the same and every boat had their strengths and weakness – thus making the decision process that much more complicated and confusing. We are concerned: which make really was the most reliable and would provide us the most enjoyment; and which dealer would really stand behind the boat being sold and provide a high level of service?
After talking with numerous dealers and seeing numerous boats, we met Peter Quintal at a small regional Ft. Lauderdale boat show. The small show was the perfect setting for us to compare the various boats head to head; attendance was no where near as large as the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show or the Miami Boat Show, and we had time to go at our own pace and ask all the questions that came to mind. Peter was extremely patient and addressed many of the concerns we had.
After several follow-up discussions and visits with Peter, my wife and I decided to buy our Sea Ray.
We took delivery just in the time for the 2004 Memorial Day weekend. What I truly did not realize at
the time we bought the boat, was just how fast my family would take to boating and how much we enjoyed spending time together on the water. As a result, we wound up spending almost every weekend during the summer of 2004 on the Sea Ray.
This then lead us to ask ourselves the question, “why do we need to keep coming home at night on
Saturday just to take out again on Sunday?”
As Labor Day approached, and my wife and I continued to discuss the merits of owning a bigger boat, Peter began educating me on the ins and outs of larger boat ownership. Maintenance, dock space, handling, overnight usage, vacationing, fuel and other expenses were all part of the discussion.
We looked at the 341 Meridian and thought it was too small for us; we then talked to both Peter and other friends who had the 381 Meridian and thought that it would be just right for us (notice the continuous progression to larger vessels). I brought the family to see the boat, my wife liked it, the kids loved it! We began negotiating to buy the boat. Before finally agreeing to it, on a whim, I asked Peter to take me to see a 411 Meridian that was down in Miami. Once we saw it, my wife and I quickly agreed that the 411 was the right boat for us (although, somehow, by wife and kids did get a new dog out of those discussions). We negotiated the deal and took delivery right before the 2004 Fort Lauderdale Boat Show.
Unknowingly, it turned out that the 411 was a great “starter” boat for us – I say unknowingly, because at the time, I thought is would be the last boat we would ever buy. I enjoyed learning how to maneuver a larger vessel, I enjoyed learning to navigate the seas with it (we took it on several trips down to the Keys) and it solidified my family’s view that boating was right for us. My wife became comfortable sleeping on it, cooking on it, and handling the lines. The kids had their own room and loved to dive into the ocean on a moments notice. The only problem was, there was no place for guests.
Fast forward a year and half later and we decide we needed a bigger boat, one with 3 staterooms. Based on numerous considerations (including the size of the slip that I had purchased in the past year). we determined that a 50 to 55 flybridge would make sense for us. During this time, we continued to build our relationship with Peter and his wife, not only did Peter sell us our previous boats, but he and his wife had become friends as well.
We looked at 50 to 55 foot vessels from Sunseeker, Azimut, Ferretti, Silverton and Sea
Ray. Again, like we did when we bought our first boat, we spent time touring the yachts and meeting with the various dealers and yacht brokers. As we did this, we continued our discussions with Peter and began settling in on a Sea Ray 52 Sedan Bridge.
After comparing the various yachts, performance, engine specifications, layouts, fuel consumption, air conditioning on the bridge (very important!) to name a few attributes, it again became clear to us that the Sea Ray was the right boat for us. Our realizations eventually lead us to make the ultimate purchase at the 2006 Miami Boat Show (they also gave me a good deal on the 411 trade).
- Michael Kalb