The Adventure of Buying a Boat

Now it’s official: I just bought a boat! But how did this happen? What was I thinking, and why did I buy this boat? Or even more general: Why did I buy a boat at all?

I have been sailing for the first time when I was three months old, on my granddad’s boat in the Netherlands. Then during my youth I spend most summers in Brittany, France, sailing my dad’s little dinghy and also my granddad’s boat in Holland. And in the wintertime, I immersed myself in books about adventures at sea, such as the travel narratives from German sailing legends Wilfried Erdmann and Bobby Schenk, but also tales of the great age of sail, such as the books by Jack London. For me it was clear that one day, I want to cross the worlds oceans on my own boat.

At the beginning of my studies, other dreams became a priority. But when I got the chance to volunteer on the Schooner Zodiac, my longing for the sea came back with unpreceeded intensity. During the remainder of my studies, I spent more than 10 months in total working on board of different tall ships, including the Roald Amundsen and the Bark Europa, which brought me all the way down to Antarctica.

While I think that sailing on Tall Ships is a great way to learn about seamanship, one is always a part of a larger crew, and decisions on the schedule or places to stop are made by the captain, based on an often quite rigid sailing schedule. Buying my own boat would free me from schedules (apart from the ones dictated by the hurricane seasons).

Currently I am employed at a university in Southern Germany and working towards my PhD. During the first three years, I was able to save some money and finally made the first step towards my future adventures at sea. I bought a boat!

It is a Laurin Koster 32, built in 1965 in Malmö/Sweden.

Buying this boat was not an overnight-decision, but a long process of thinking, dreaming, researching and checking out various boats.

The first decision was the material: wood, steel, aluminum, ferrocement, or fiberglass. Here is the reason why I chose to go with fiberglass (although I also looked at boats of different materials).

The next question was, what size of a boat do I want. Here I explain, why I chose a boat in the 30-foot range.

Now there is the choice between long keel and fin keel. I decided to go for a long keel.

After having decided on these core criteria, there is still a huge variety of boats out there that would be a potential fit. I looked a quite a few of them, both in the north of Germany and in the south at Lake Constance.

While I was looking at an IW31 in Hamburg, I noticed another boat at the dock, which turned out to be the beautifully restored Laurin Koster Ariane. I had already read about this boat type and was impressed by how beautiful she was taken care of, but also how sturdy and seaworthy she looked.

Back home I scanned the adds on the type’s website and saw one boat named “Trixi” in the north of Germany that was listed at a winter price that fit my budget. I contacted the owner and during my next visit in the north, I checked out the boat.

 

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