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The Annapolis boat show… Boats as far as the eye can see and more vendors that you can shake a stick at. The Admiral has written a post with her tips for the show, and anyone thinking about attending next year would be well advised to take a read.
We came here on a mission, and we’re both extremely happy to report: Mission Accomplished. We toured almost every catamaran at the show in order to get a feel for the boat that was right for us, and we found her. We have put down a deposit on a new Fountaine Pajot Helia 44!
After walking on the boat and getting a true feel for her design, layout, fit and finish, we both knew that she had moved to the top of the list. We were fortunate to be introduced to a great broker who will be helping us throughout the rest of the build process, and he and another of his colleagues helped answer lots of our questions. Once we were done at the Fountaine Pajot booth, we made to sure to visit the other cats on our list to make sure we didn’t miss anything. At the end of the day, we hadn’t found anything that we thought was better so we went back to the Helia to get one more look and make sure she was fresh in our minds.
At this point, the list had been narrowed down to two boats: the Helia and a Leopard 46. As I’ve said previously, I am a big fan of the Leopard, but the Admiral and I both agreed that the Helia offered more features that were important to us. Some of the big ones are: the lounge deck, the open interior design, the amount of light in the boat, both in the salon and in the hulls, and the ability to customize the boat exactly to our specifications. This boat will eventually be our home for several years, so its hard to understate the importance of that factor.
On the second day of the show, we went back to the Fountaine Pajot booth with a list of our concerns and questions. Our broker was very patient and helped address them one by one until we both felt comfortable. We went off to lunch and one of the seminars and when we came back, we were ready to put down our deposit.
Then, the congratulations began. All of the people who worked at Fountaine Pajot in France who were in for the boat show came by to congratulate us, as well as many people from our brokerage. We also got the chance to meet the couple who own the beautiful Lipari 41 Evolution that was at the boat show and exchanged congratulations. There was a party that night for them to celebrate the christening of their new boat, but both the Admiral and I felt like it was a bit for us as well!
So now, the process of building a new boat begins, and that means decisions, lots of decisions! Our plans next year mean we intend to take delivery of the boat at the factory in France at the end of October/early November and we will then sail the boat ourselves across the Atlantic over to Florida where we will have the final commissioning completed. We’re not quite sure what the future will hold after that, but we both decided that we’d found the right boat, and getting her now would give us plenty of time to get used to her before we are actually ready for our adventure.
We’ll be sure to document this process as best we can, but for now, we’re going to celebrate!