This is the story about how we bought our boat. We came upon the Malo 39 http://www.maloyachts.com sailboat purely by chance.
Our sailing career up to that point had been on a Hunter 34 – the 1984 Cherubi version. This was one of Hunter’s better crafts from the 1980’s. She was fast, easy to sail, and had good accommodations. In our three years of ownership I rebuilt most of the DC systems, learned about diesel maintenance by flooding the engine with saltwater, and replaced most of the running rigging. A good education. We learned sail trim, and to work together as a sailing team. I will always remember working the boat to windward in 20 knots under one of the many tall bridges around here.
We decided that we would get a boat, retire early, and go cruising. I had suggested other ideas for retiring early - getting a goose farm to raise pate'. a backcountry sk resort, etc - but MS decided it would be better to sail off into the sunset. So, we started looking for a boat…..
We (or I) read lots of books – Pardee, Hiscock, Roussemire (“Characteristics of Offshore Yachts” is a must have book for a boat buyer.) I studied Practical Sailor's guide to boat buying.
Meanwhile – we were taking classes. Probably the most influential were Brian Toss’ rigging classes –http://www.briontoss.com/ - not because of the classes – we took two out of the three – those they were very good. But, we met several guys rebuilding older, 1980’s cruising boats.
These seemed like huge boats to us – Norsemen, Valants, Olsens – all kinds of boats 40 to 50 feet long – and boy, were they having problems. Most were there to try and learn about installing new rigs. Also, they were installing new engines, DC systems, AC systems, running rigging, Sails – by gosh – they were rebuilding whole boats.
They spent a ton of money – usually somewhere in the six figures for the boat, then
another $50,000 to 100,000 in replacement of systems – and – they still had a 1980’s boat, with a 1980's price.
Finally, one guy who I respected a lot confessed that he wished he bought a new boat. This made a lot sense to us – so – we decided to buy a new boat. We started by deciding what we had to have – and boy - this eliminated a lot of boats. These items were somewhat based on our experience with the Hunter:
No prop strut - I had replaced the shaft and strut on the Hunter – never again. Too vulnerable for cruising.
No bolt-on Keel – again lots of problems with the hull-keel joint on the Hunter
A 500 mile motoring range – based on advice from others
A modified fin keel, long chord, and balanced or semi-balanced rudder on a skeg – we wanted a maneuverable boat that was fun and easy to sail– our goal was to sail to Europe and live in the Mediterranean – we need some maneuverability for those tight euro marinas.
A cutter or Solent rig
An aft cockpit
Well – that’s not much of a list – but it eliminated about 90 percent of the boats out there. None of the more common production boats met our needs – We boiled the list down to a few of the more "blue water" (ie. pricey) types:
We really like the Saga. There were a few of them floating around. But, after talking to folks who had crewed on them, and folks that worked on them, we decided that it was not right for us.
The key was having a good broker who we trusted and worked with us. Judy Naismith at Discovery Yachts - http://www2.yachtworld.com/discovery/. And later – Mike Locatell. We talked to both of them about yachts - a lot - looked at the Saga 43 they had at the docks - and went to boat shows.
Mike said come down and look at the Malo 36. This was the only Malo in the States. It was going to be at the show. He gave us free tickets. The owner was there – Bob – and he told us all about the boat – the yard, the people who built it, how he sailed it in Sweden, its sea keeping abilities. The quality of the boat spoke for itself. It seemed a work or art, the build quality was so high. Everything on the boat met our list. Malo only built about 30 boats a year, and it was a family owned business.
Marianne looked at the boat, and said this is the one - we wanted the 39 though. I was still not convinced, but I have always followed my wife’s lead on big purchases, since it saves me so much grief later. She picked out the house also ( which we sold to buy the boat).
So – a month later – early 2001 – we ordered the boat. This was largely based on our trust in Mike and Judy, since we had never seen the 39, nor sailed on one. (Sometimes you have to trust somebody.) This was the third Malo into the states, but the first ordered and built from scratch by the factory. What we ordered with it, why, and what we have added since – will be on another post.