Hi John and Amanda,
Greetings from Mazatlan. I happened to run into a fellow who had done an
offshore training trip with you, and it reminded me that I should get in
touch to say thanks for all your help and inspiration in turning this
cruising dream into a reality!
Since leaving Moss Landing in June, my girlfriend Marianne, myself, and our
two cats have been having a spectacular time working our way south.
Obviously, we're taking our time to savor the new places and new
experiences along the way. Our Freedom 40/40, Annie's Kite, has proven to be a total delight.
curious what your clients, who were considering a sistership, ended up
Anyway, per my original point, I want to thank you so much for all the
inspiration over many, many years, as well as the specific help and
insights you provided during the boat shopping process. We wouldn't be here
now without it.
Hope this finds you happy and well.
Happy New Year!
With the help of John's boat purchase consultation we had the confidence to start the process of making our cruising dream happen. We purchased a HR46 in the Fall of 2016 and joined our delivery captains for part of the journey from Annapolis to Chicago which helped with our confidence in handling the boat.
We are looking forward to joining John and Amanda on the 2019 expedition from New Zealand to Tahiti to solidify our confidence and knowledge before starting our cruising life in the summer of 2019.
Chris and Larissa are my third or fourth set of Brazilian clients and the HR 39 they posted was an estate sale in the middle of Finland's winter where the waterway was totally frozen over. By springtime they had replaced and added gear and are now on their way around the world. Check out there amazing Instagram and YouTube sites for valuable tips and info!
"It has been very heart-warming and encouraging getting your advice during our purchase phase. Someone with the amount of sea miles that you have, has an invaluable experience and having had some of that shared with us was great! Not only did we get solid advice regarding the sailboats themselves but also concerning market trends, values, prices and depreciations! For all you reading this, having John as your first or second opinion is always going to bring you peace of mind!
Exciting Success Story from Tasmanian Boat Purchase Consultation Clients
Your assistance and advice over our (nearly 3 year!) course of purchasing the right bluewater boat exceeded expectation. This was our first "big" boat purchase and the journey was a pre-training for ownership - gaining knowledge from your years of experience. You prepared us with financial expectations as well as building our knowledge base to assess quality and confidence in our judgment of each boat we viewed.
We started with a few top priorities and a budget and with patience and persistence from all of us we found something that met these criteria (including budget!). We even pulled off a 2000 nm delivery passage from the Whitsunday Islands to our home port of Hobart, Tasmania starting the first day we owned the boat! Without your advice we undoubtedly would have settled for more problems at a higher price.
Even with a long to-do list, we are happy boat owners enjoying life on the water. We hope Mahina makes it to Tasmania before we throw off the dock lines!
Cassie and Guy
John and Amanda, we can't thank you enough for being the stepping stone from which this journey began. ......we are very great full to the both of you for creating an experience that was exciting all the while allowing us to test our own personal boundaries. We have fond memories of Amanda's confident and solid footing on deck when checking sails and lines no matter what the wind strength was and John's unrelenting way to ensure we learn all that all that is needed so we can become the types of sailors he can be proud of.
Happy New Years to all, we will be back in BC January and February and then back to Sicily to began are new adventures. We would look forward to hearing from your adventures, so please keep us posted.
Jacqueline and Peter
WAY TO GO, MARGY & MONTY!!
They are living their dream!
It was only a short time after joining us for our Offshore Cruising Seminar in Vancouver that Margy and Monty signed up for a boat purchase consultation and joined us for an over-the-top
Not long after they’d returned home they narrowed their boat search down to an Antares/PDQ 41, one of the very best quality cruising boats in the world. The wait list for new Antares is now into the next century, and of the two used ones on the market, they zeroed in on one in Whangarei, NZ, within sight of Amanda's parent's (Robert & Lesley Swan) house. Robert, a highly-qualified boat-builder and Cape Horner made a very thorough inspection sending images back to Margy and Monty who flew to NZ and purchased Samuri, renaming it Whistler (can you tell these two LOVE their skiing?) and heading up to Fiji for their shakedown.
Check out their amazing site:
Here's what Margy says, "Our time with you was so valuable! We are thrilled with our boat and with your assistance in our purchase process, which was not, in the least bit, simple. I can't count the number of emails I sent you. Thanks for your patience!"
CONSULTATION CLIENTS FROM NORWAY FIND AND PURCHASE A REMARKABLY TIDY
HR 39 IN MALLORCA
Congratulations, Jon, Mia and Teo! Before too long, they'll be setting sail on a grand cruising adventure!
Just wanted to send you a quick email with photo attached and a big thank you for your support and advice over the last year. I'll be sure to write you a more verbose recommendation and thank you letter when I get back to Oslo in next week.
But for now, here is a picture of the three of us aboard our new yacht.
Jon, Mia & Teo.
INTERNATIONAL & DOMESTIC BOAT PURCHASE CONSULTATION EXPERIENCING SUSTAINED SURGE
After several years of subdued international activity, something has changed!
I've had separate Hong Kong clients purchase a Contest in Holland and an HR 46 in England, an Australian client purchase a Contest in Holland,
a client from Bejing client seriously considering a boat in Florida, Canadian clients purchase an Antares 41 in New Zealand, an Irish client off
to consider two Trintella's in Holland, clients from UAE purchase a Leopard cat in the Seychelles, an English client purchase a Hylas 54 in Florida,
a Swedish client purchase an HR 36 in the UK, Russian clients purchase a Westerly in Greece. I've also had San Diego clients/expedition members recently purchase a
Garcia Passoa 47 in Florida and SoCal clients/expedition members purchase an HR 39 from a previous consultation client who had just completed his Caribbean cruise in Florida.
They are were off and cruising Mexico within weeks of their purchase. For the first time in several years I'm hearing my clients say that they are finding offers already
pending on several boats they have inquired about plus they are being told it has now switched from a buyer's to a seller's market. Hopefully for you, the buyer,
the market will cool off a little this winter!
Visiting consultation client and former expedition member Maciek Laskowski aboard his recently purchased Amel 41 in Malta.
The seller had spent €220,000 totally refitting this Amel which Maciek purchased for under €80,000 in France.
After adding a Monitor vane and a little additional gear, Maciek and his wife sailed from France to Italy and to Malta where they will winter this year.
SWEDISH CONSULTATION CLIENT SETS ALL-TIME RECORD; 12 DAYS FROM FIRST CONTACT TO COMPLETION OF PURCHASE!
Dag, a professor from Gothenburg emailed me while we were at sea enroute to Sweden on
Leg 7, interested in upgrading his 30' Maxi sloop.
I invited him to a grand-opening Crayfish Party at Adams Boat Care (http://www.adamsboatcare.com)in three days time, suggesting that there would likely be an example of one
of the designs he was considering (Hallberg-Rassy 36)at the party.
Sure enough, there was a 36 that
Carl Adam's team had completed a refit of last winter and the proud owner was pleased to show Dag and me through the boat. It was unusual to be able to sit
down with a client over a cup of tea aboard Mahina Tiare and to listen to their cruising plans and boat needs as normally this is done by email. In little time
Dag had thoroughly checked out the three HR 36's for sale in Sweden and flew to England to inspect the four 36's at
Transworld Yachts (http://www.transworldyachts.co.uk) near Southampton, purchasing the newest and best of the lot at a very reasonable price. It had only been on the market few weeks and a thorough survey had recently been done when the boat had been traded in.
Now Dag just has to figure out how to get Marika from Southampton home to Gothenburg and make plans for a great family cruise next summer!
Two days ago I decided to go on a one day trip to
Southampton to look at four HR36 that the UK Hallberg-Rassy dealer had
in one single place.
I the early evening I decided to shake hands on
Marika, built in 2000 and number 491. Not the cheapest, but however the
nicest boat of the seven available HR36 I looked at. Smaller changes
can always be made, but there is nothing significantly odd with it.
I want you to know that your input - and also that of all the others I
met at Vindön - significantly helped me to make this decision, which I
am also confident is a good one.
Remains the fact that the boat is
in an inconvenient location, but first things first!
All the best
We are very pleased with Yarona, and will always be thankful to John for persuading us to move our aspirations up from a 40ft boat to an HR43. She is much admired, and we believe her to be the perfect boat for a live aboard couple. Thank you both for giving us the confidence and skills to have come so far. But I still have a long way to go before I cook as well as Amanda! I hope you enjoy Iceland, and have a good season.
(Kath and Barry sailed with us on Leg 2-2008 from Ireland to Scotland and within two weeks of returning from the expedition sold their home and Kath's practice and bought a very tidy HR 43 which they set sail to explore the world shortly later.)
THIRD CONSULTATION CLIENT PURCHASES AND TO CRUISE STELLA BLUE, A WELL-LOVED TARTAN 37!
This is a record! I've helped several consultation clients sell the boat I helped them purchase to another consultation client (without any additional charge to either client) but Stella Blue is the first to have three consecutive clients purchase and cruise her.
Baxter & Molly, previous EM's and consultation clients were the first. They had so much fun cruising to the Bahamas and south that they decided to sell Stella Blue (after installing a new engine) and their house. They purchased a Valiant 47 and we are hoping to see them in Europe. Then newlyweds Logan and Gillian purchased her and set sail on an extended honeymoon to the Bahamas. Just recently, Ed, another client who plans a circumnavigation purchased her. Here's Logan's message that just arrived:
As of this morning the amazing and beautiful Stella Blue has a new captain. We are so happy to pass her on to another ambitious adventurous loving owner.
It's an emotional day for all of us but it couldn't be better for any one of us.
Thank you for all you have done for us and especially for connecting Ed Gillian Me and Stella Blue.
John's knowledge and guidance were instrumental in finding the right boat
for our cruising dream. We are glad to have him as a resource of
information in the years to come.
Morris and Debbie S/V Impulsive
Bill & Kathy were consultation clients with an extraordinary request: they wanted to find and purchase a boat on the US East Coast to sail to Norway and liveaboard while working in Oslo, then cruise in the summers.
Only problem was, they weren't experienced sailors! We found them an excellent boat, then a superbly experienced skipper from http://www.pydww.co.uk/services/ who instructed them as they crossed the Atlantic, stopping in the Azores. In the summers they sailed north to Spitzbergen and when their contract was completed, did some more cruising, crossed the Atlantic (on their own, this time) to the Caribbean and are now selling their boat and returning to Colorado!
Hi John -
Just wanted to thank you for your for your advice helping us select a boat that enabled Kathy and I to realize our dreams. Your advice to a couple of novices, resulted in a boat that took us across the Atlantic, into the fjords of Norway, Spitzbergen, the Baltic, British Isles, the Caribbean and back home. I cannot emphasize enough how helpful your advice was for not only selecting a boat but also recommending a great broker to work with.
Bill & Kathy
SUCCESSFUL AND RECORD-SETTING BOAT PURCHASE CONSULTATIONS CULMINATE AT SEATTLE BOAT SHOW
Richard and Geri aboard the soon-to-be-their Nordic 40 at haulout time
Richard and Geri, both 52 and both just retired from London, England jobs contacted me Dec. 21 with the idea of purchasing a boat in Vancouver, enjoying a shakedown cruising in British Columbia this summer, then sailing south to Mexico Nov. 2014 before setting sail for the Galapagos and South Pacific in Feb. 2015. Sounded like an aggressive schedule, but it looks like they are pulling it off in style.
I suggested that there was a wider choice of boats at lower prices in Washington instead of Canada and in short time we zeroed in on a Nordic 44 in Bellingham, WA, just S of Vancouver. Allaban, a Robert Perry-designed modern and capable cruiser was well outfitted having carried her previous British owners from US New England to Japan and ending in Bellingham.
The listing broker was the builder who had made most of the repairs recommended in an earlier survey and Pete McGonagle, co-owner of Swiftsure Yachts in Seattle agreed to take photos and check the boat out and act as buyer's broker enroute to a family skiing holiday in BC. Pete's comments were very positive so we put Richard and Geri in touch with Matt Harris, one of the finest surveyors we've found anywhere and Matt juggled his schedule to perform the survey during the Seattle Boat Show. Richard and Geri arrived five days ago, Pete showed them two additional Nordic 44's on the market in Seattle, then they met in Bellingham the following day for survey and sea trial.
All went well and Steve Nordvedt, owner of Norstar, the builder of Nordic's said he had time in his schedule to take care of some cosmetic issues.
We arranged a dinner next to the Seattle Boat Show following our final seminar and then introduced Richard and Geri to Kris and Bob Ridenauer, riggers and outfitters who've helped many of our consultation clients, plus Karina and Gary, two former expedition members who live in Vancouver, are active in Bluewater Cruising Association and are getting ready to set sail for Chile this summer. Karina and Gary will give a rundown on charts and cruising BC waters. Sunday morning Richard and Geri flew home to England and by the time they return from renting their home out and packing up, work should be well along on Allaban. Additionally, they were able to meet Carol Hasse, owner of Port Townsend Sails during the boat show who agreed to measure their boat for a new genoa. What a successful consultation!
Ridenour & Ridenour Rigging & Repair
4725 Shilshole Ave NW #5
Seattle WA. 98107
Kris and Bob have helped dozens of our consultation clients with repairs and offshore outfitting, even repeatedly flying to Mexico to install additional gear years later. They liveaboard their Taswell 43 and work out of a van so their rates are 40% less than boatyards and they encourage owners to do all the work they want to, themselves.
Richard and Geri (standing) and Bob and Kris Ridenour (sitting) Gary (end of table) and Karina (far right) Bluewater Cruising Assoc. members who have kindly offered to give Richard and Geri tips on dealing with 5 meter tides, strong currents, great anchorages and places to see whales, bears and sea lions in British Columbia. Between Karina and Kris is Brian Altman, another consultation client purchasing an HR 36 which Kris & Bob will help with outfitting.
I write to express my gratitude in helping a dream become a reality. This dream to live aboard a sailboat for adventure and to give back in service as our kids are still young has been percolating for almost 15 years in the dream stage for my wife and I. When a series of positive life events unfolded allowing us to pursue our dream approximately 2 years earlier than planned, we reached out upon the recommendation of Ben and Teressa Carey (our delivery captains who trained us on our boat as we moved it). John - you were extremely helpful on so many levels from boat selection, to boat outfitting, and other contacts. Our timeline was aggressive with the goal to purchase and outfit the boat in less than 6 months. As I sit today, we have achieved that and wouldn't have been able to without you. I can remember so many nights with my wife looking at so many different boats on yachttrader.com. Your questionnaire made us focus and clearly articulate our needs. As we corresponded back and forth your concise, clear and informative feedback was very helpful. As we moved along the process, your recommendations on broker (Tom Harney - Jordan Yachts) and surveyor (Paul Anstey) were both amazing to work with and I would recommend both of them very highly. Thanks again for everything and please know that you provide a great service to the sailing community at a very reasonable price.
We look forward to staying connected with you and if there is every anything I can do for you, your family or another of your clients, please let me know as I would love to be able to pay it forward.
Dear John and Amanda,
First discovered your website in 2007 and said to my husband, 'you can choose any boat you like as long as it's on John's list' Six years later, your website just came up on a search for something unrelated, and I'm taking time out to pen a quick (and overdue) thank you for your generosity in placing such resources online. We've been the proud owners of a Rival 41 (the only one that's junk rigged) since 2010 and sailed her down to Kudat, Borneo from Hong Kong. Your sound advice helped me head my husband in the direction of a boat that would meet our needs and she hasn't disappointed us yet.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience,
Lesley and René Verbrugge
BOAT SELECTION CONSULTATION BUSINESS VERY BUSY AND VERY SUCCESSFUL NOW!
The following is exactly the type of message I enjoy receiving:
I am very happy to report that we closed on the 1981 Hallberg Rassy 38 on Friday! We still can't quite believe it, but will go out tonight to celebrate. :-)
Robert and I are so grateful to you for your very helpful, expert advice, guidance, and support during this journey. We appreciate how helpful you have been to us each step of the way.
In the coming weeks, we would love to correspond with you about the repairs and upgrades that we are considering to the boat to get your thoughts.
Very best wishes, and fair winds,
Nina and Robert
Nina & Robert had been outbid on two Tartan 37's and then I remembered a young couple who had spent two years refitting and repowering an HR 38, cruised Mexico but recently contacted me asking if any consultation clients would be interested in their 38 as they needed to return to work and the "real" world. I put both couples in touch with Ryan Hellling at Swiftsure, recommended the sellers sail the boat to San Diego to simplify the transaction, and the rest is history!
Yesterday I went through my consultation binder and was amazed how nearly all of my recent clients have successfully purchased boats around the world in the last few months. Here's the list:
A young couple from SF purchased a Tartan 37 from Baxter & Molly, previous consultation clients, got married and are off on their grand adventure!
Another young Bay-area couple used Pete McGonagle's help to purchase a very clean, low-hour Dean catamaran in FL
An Ontario couple purchased a very tidy Switch 51 cat in Denmark and Jim, an expedition member on our Panama-Hawaii leg helped them sail it across the Atlantic.
A very experience Australian couple purchased a Contest 43 in Spain and are excited about cruising the Med!
A Portland, OR client who attended our Seattle seminar purchased a Yamaha 33 at a very reasonable price in Friday Harbor, our hometown, and sailed it home to Oregon.
A Seattle couple whom we met at the Seattle Boat Show purchased Tabu, a famous Farr 44 built and sailed by Richard and Sherri Crowe, longtime skippers of the sail-training vessel Alaska Eagle. They will shortly be sailing their new boat home to Seattle and Michele is joining us on Leg 7.
Bucky, a single guy whom we met at the Seattle Boat Show after serious research purchased a Taswell 43 which he plans to sail to Mexico shortly. We were able to put him in touch with Chris and Bobbie Ridenauer who liveaboard a Taswell 43 and have helped dozens of our client repair, refit and outfit newly-purchased vessels for offshore voyaging.
Another Bay-area client found and purchased a very tidy cat in FL.
Yet another Bay-area client purchased a low-hour Beneteau to sail to Mexico on.
And yet another young Bay-area couple purchased an Island Packet 380 with only 400 engine hours, got married and flew to Croatia to charter for their honeymoon! What is it about our clients buying boats and getting married? Seems to be a real trend here!
A lovely couple from Vermont found a very tidy Beneteau for coastal cruising. They purchased the boat in FL, and Teresa Carey and Ben Ericson, also consultation clients, film makers and professional sail-training captains (http://simplequestionmovie.com) combined intensive (and very successful!) training with the delivery sail.
I may have missed one or two, but it is surprising how many clients have found their dream boats and are already out there cruising! The inventory of refitted, fairly recent-model offshore capable cruising yachts on the market continues to shrink, and prices are headed back up, so if you're planning on purchasing, now is certainly the time!
Brazilian Consultation Clients Arrive in Bahamas following susccessful refit in Miami:
We are in Nassau, after 6 months in Miami, working on the boat (rigging, chainplates, replacing the old Perkins, sails, installing a Monitor, thru hulls...).
We just wanna say thank you!
The boat is easy to sail, and for been strong, could forgive our learning mistakes. Sea Lion is a little bit heavy in light winds, but points well and is a delight in 25-30 knots with the yankee on the inner forestay.
Which leg of your expedition would be more challenging for us?
Danilo and Marcela
I have just received the word that B50 transaction has been completed and we are the owner of a beautiful Beneteau 50 our new home.
I would like to thank you for your help making this possible.
Your thoughtful guidance did help us get what I believe is a great deal and a great boat.
After a year and hundreds of hours searching for a boat in North America, Caribbean, Europe we have found it right here 3 hours from our home. This will make the transition much easier, as you have suggested. The Euro is going higher instead of going lower which makes buying in Europe difficult.
Your Offshore Cruising Companion book arrived yesterday. Thank you for dedication. The book is pure gold. It has exactly what I need right now. List of equipment and recommendations. This will save me countless hours of research. I could not stop reading yesterday.
Chris T. and family. (Chris is originally from Poland and considered buying a boat in Europe)
Aussie client finds excellent boat in near record time!
We just missed seeing Michael and Christine in Vanutu this year when they were cruising aboard their Cavalier 37. They contacted me January 1st as consultation clients interested in several boats in Florida. By Feb. 20th they had surveyed and purchased a very tidy Contest 43 in Spain and Michael was on his way back to Australia. They've decided to keep their Cav 37 as a base near Hobart, Tasmania and look forward to the next couple of years sailing the Med aboard their new Contest.
We just wanted to say thank you for guiding us through the purchase and outfitting of our Bristol 41, Fairwinds. You advice and assistance, including through your book, (Offshore Cruising Companion) was essential to our preparations for our seven year journey back to Australia. It was the best money we have ever spent, so once again "Thank You!" You helped give us confidence to embark on this journey with the knowledge that we are as prepared as we can be. We hope to be able to catch up with you in the Pacific in a few years time.
Judy and Sherman
It's a pleasure to confirm that your consultation was helpful, and that is not only limited to the purchase of the boat . You give me good advice on the type of the boat, though we are a fan of hallberg-rassy, and great contact with professional dealer and friend that have the same type of boat. At the moment Sarah Jane is ashore waiting for the next march, when I'll go to the hamble and I'll start my gentile sailing to mediterranean.
Of course Ihave picture of the boat, but unfortunatly not one with me! As soon as I'll have one I'll send to you.
Thanks for everything i'll hope to meet you soon.
When I contacted John, I thought I'll try, if all goes well I have some help if it goes wrong I lost the money I'm paying in the dark...
From the first contact my confidence in the professionalism of John has grown. He helped me to juggle my many doubts, he introduce to me people who help me during the survey of the boat . He gave me the necessary information to make my decision without any doubt.
Roberto and Ale, Sarah Jane
(A very big thanks to Richard Baker, a previous expedition member from South Africa and Southampton, co-owner of an HR 54 who met Roberto when he arrived in England and introduced him to the right people!)
You have been a great resource throughout this process. I cannot say enough good things about your service. Your responsiveness has been awesome, and all your advice has been fantastic.
I know I not only, long ago, got my money's worth several times over, but I have probably "over-stayed my welcome" with my continual questions.
If you ever need a testimonial from me, you've got it!
With that being said, I do have another question; do you have any advice on a "Hailing Port"?
-Consultation client having a new boat built in England
Kris and Naja had very specific criteria to find a boat that could get through the shallow channel to moor in front of their home in the Florida Keys (lucky them!). In only 21 days they narrowed the search, located a boat, hauled, surveyed, sea trialed, had title search and closing completed! They were not looking for an around-the-world passagemaker, but a boat to safely and comfortably enjoy Bahamas and hopefully Caribbean cruising on. They purchased a 2006 Tartan 3400 with very low engine hours and usage that appears to be in nearly-new condition. They took my recommendation of Paul Anstey as a thorough, honest, objective and unbiased survery and the Tartan came through with flying colors!
My wife and I would like to thank each of you for all of your help and advice. Without your guidance we would not have been able to acquire the proper sailboat.
In particular I'm most appreciative of your patience and willingness to teach us how it is done. Through this process I learned a lot more about sailboats, developed a critical eye for perfection and gained a new appreciation for process excellence.
If any of you need a testimonial or reference just let Naja and I know. Attached is a photo of our new sailboat leaving the dock.
Kris & Naja
New Tartan 34 Owners
Hull #6, Year 2006.
Click HERE to read how our Boat Purchase Consultation has helped a group of five Bulgarian scuba divers find their ideal Amel 53, and the top Amel surveyor in the world!
"I want to express, on behalf of myself and my crew, our immense
gratitude to John, for his help throughout the process of selecting and
buying the boat of our dreams. Here is our story:
We were a group of five people with not much sailing experience, and we
decided to sell all our properties in order to buy a good boat and to
make something of a circumnavigation with no fixed time frame. For this
we needed a VERY good boat. Easier said than done - especially the
second part (the one about finding and buying the right boat). At first
we thought we could manage this ourselves. We had the Internet after
all. After several months of research it became clear that the market
was so huge and the variables so many, that we were facing the very
serious risk of investing our life savings in something totally
unsuitable. In short - we didn't have a clue how to approach the task.
Then we started reading the various sailing forums searching for
recomendations, and quite by accident discovered the Mahina Expeditions
website. We didn't know anything about "John Neal", but we thought that
600$ is something we could afford to lose at that stage. To be honest I
didn't expect much. After all, how could a guy guide us over the
Internet in a decision so complex as selecting the right boat for
long-term living aboard and sailing the oceans? Well, I was mistaken and
John went above and beyond all our expectations in the help he provided.
He did the most valuable thing we could hope for - he put us in contact
with the right people.
At that stage we were quite certain that there were only a few yards
which produced boats which met our criteria - basically we had to chose
between Amel, Oyster and Hallberg Rassy. We found ads for several boats
which sounded promising, and I wrote John about the options we were
considering. He took the time to reply very thoroughly, discouraged us
from some choices, encouraged us in others and I was surprised to find
my knowledge rapidly expanding. To make a long story short, after we had
decided that an Amel Super Maramu in France may be the one we were
looking for, John immediately found us the right guy in France to survey
the boat and it was no other than Olivier Beaute, who had been the head
of the Customer Training at the Amel Yard for 20 years. We were given
contact with a person who knew these boats like no other - a contact we
could never get by ourselves. Olivier was very kind, pronounced the boat
we had been hoping to buy totally unseaworthy and in one day with him we
learned more about sailing boat surveying than we had managed to learn
in all our "sailing careers" until then :). After that, with the help of
Olivier we found another boat, which we finally ended up buying.
Although through e-mail, John was there with us through the whole
process, checking the survey and all, helping us on every step of the
way. But John's help didn't end with this, he advised us all the way
through the registration process later, and we are now members of the CIYS.
All in all, what I can say, and this reflects the feelings of all of
us... we owe everything to John. It was a very major decision for us -
to find a home for maybe the rest of our lives, and a floating one at
that, and to find someone who is able to give just the right kind of
help in just the right moment. This is rare indeed, and John proved to
be that kind of person. We want to thank him from our hearts and we look
forward to meeting him and his wife in person, when we reach the
Pacific.... soon :)"
We wanted to thank you for sharing your knowledge and insight about the various sailboats we were interested in buying. It saved us quite a bit of research time and spared us from some unnecessary traveling.
I think we will be happy with our Valiant 42.
Lori and Bob, at anchor on the Chesapeake
Click here for the story of UK consultation clients Ian and Ann's search which resulted in their commissioning a new Allures 45
which is just starting construction in France and which will be displayed in the Paris and Dusseldorf boat shows this winter.
Ann and I would like to say a really big thank you for being a superb sounding board and advisor during our quest to find a boat. We now have an Allures 45 on order and welding work will commence soon, not only have we found a boat but we have the whole build process and commissioning to look forward to before the launch.
No doubt we are not unusual, two busy people still in corporate working life, aiming to take a big step in our long term cruising plans. Without your thoughts we might well still be trying to find an elusive second hand boat...
Every aspect of your service worked really well for us. It was remarkable how much benefit we got by simply completing the questionnaire, helping us to structure our thoughts and be realistic about timing, budgets, family and much more - as well as just "the boat". Then you helped us to challenge and investigate our preconceived ideas. Plans that have been years in the making are obviously hard to revisit, but you managed to help us to modify and adjust our ideas without the process feeling out of our control or directive at any point - quite an achievement!
Even when we hit you with our "lifting keel" requirement for our boat, which eliminated 95% of the cruising boats that would normally have been on our list, you just ensured we had really thought about why we wanted this and then we worked within the constraint.
You helped us to understand that the real budget difference (rather than just the headline price) between 2nd hand and new is a lot less than we had thought; once refit and part used/older or less than ideal equipment is factored in.
Obviously, it's great to have so much experience available on tap, but for us we also gained in completely unexpected ways. Simply interacting with you as a consultant enhanced our communication as a couple. We are fortunate that heading off over the horizon has always been a shared dream - but, communicating with you created a situation where we talked through every aspect of the information we provided on the questionnaire, as we both contributed to all the email questions. Doing this as a couple so we could communicate with you eliminated the possibility of misunderstandings and assumptions, and ensured we faced and resolved any areas of divergence. We are now much better prepared for cruising life as a couple, having both made and confirmed joint decisions and done so formally having thought about them well enough to confirm our responses to you. After all we are primarily planning a cruising life together not just the purchase of a boat.
Another unexpected benefit was just how "real" and "close" the consultancy process made our long term plans feel. We were suddenly receiving emails from a boat sailing the Pacific Islands, being careful about internet bandwidth, getting letters with beautiful stamps from pacific islands. It really is happening, our dream is becoming a reality!
All this for the price of a set of fenders!
Our boat will be on display at both the Paris & Dusseldorf boat shows, so we will soon be owners of one of the dreams we have walked past and crawled over at the boat shows over the years.
I do hope that one day we'll find ourselves in the same port or anchorage, look out for us on "Tourterelle". If we do meet up I'll explain how and why we get from Turtle to Tourterelle and the beers are on us!
Thank you for all you have done.
Ian & Ann Clarke
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover" Mark Twain.
Thank you so very much for all your guidance, wisdom and patience. If it weren't for you we wouldn't be owners of our very own Manta 42 catamaran. We have never purchased a boat before, let alone a boat we could cruise on. Your insight on boat selection as well as the pros and cons of each was instrumental in steering us toward the Manta. We had tons of questions and a relatively short time frame; we appreciated your prompt response each and every time.
We thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and Amanda in Chicago for the Offshore Cruising seminar! It was especially great and an honor for the to two of you to join us during our survey and sea trial.
We are beyond thrilled to moving forward with our plans to leave this summer. The stress of finding a great boat is behind us. We just returned from a week on Anything Goes in Florida. We know this is going to be a great boat for our family! We can't wait to send you a photo of us sailing her through the Caribbean!
Craig and Wendy Boyer
We are absolutely thrilled with our boat (Alden 44) and looking forward to extended time aboard in the near future. We are working towards the Victoria to Maui race in 2014 as our jump into the South Pacific. John is planning to "semi-retire" in June of 2013, and we are planning to move "home" to BC after 30+ years in the Maritimes. Hard to believe the changes in our lives since we had our time aboard Mahina five years ago; you and Amanda were key in these big life changes for us.
"Thank you" is so meagre an offering to you and Amanda for all that you have done for us. We are so grateful for your advice, encouragement, patience, and generosity.
All good wishes,
Kitty & John
When Alex contacted me from Mexico City he was looking for a fast 50-60' boat for a circumnav with his wife and two young children. The boats he was then considering were older, custom aluminum yachts that from my experience would need $100-$200,000 of repairs and upgrades. After inspecting one in Sweden he agreed that a newer, proven production yacht would be far simpler and more cost effective over his period of ownership. We located a very tidy HR 53 at a reasonable price and in a four day visit he had it surveyed (incl. rig and engine surveys), sea trialed in 25-35kt winds and purchased. After tax considerations were weighed, Alex chose Cook Island registration and the Cook Island Deputy Registrar in Ft. Lauderdale, Capt. Andy Sheer took care of the details.
"John, I am most pleased and surprised by the quality and efficiency of your advisory on our boat search process. When I first contacted you, my wife and I had just decided to acquire a new yacht ... 2.5 months later, and with over 60 emails exchanged in between, we are the happy owners of S/Y Pesto (previous "Revelation")! I found your advisory to be concrete, and not just "philosophical". You are an active listener and quickly understood our objectives and readiness, and helped us identify and prioritize our needs. I also deeply appreciate your ability to state points of view, when they are most needed. Your extensive, practical experience many times helped me put paradigms into perspective and the professionals you have recommended along the process are top notch. Thank You, and I do hope we keep in touch. (PS - the picture is of my son, duly attesting Revelation's credentials on a chilly sea trial in February)"
Brazil and Mexico City
Thank you so much for providing the insight into what kind of sailing vessel will suit my cruising needs. When we started out I was all over the board in terms of makes and size of boat I would want. There seems to be a trade off no matter what you choose and at the end of the day the boat you choose has to have the least trade offs possible. Certainly the HR43 is going to be the right boat for my needs; a very safe, well built, and well proven passage maker.
I appreciate all the insight, before, during, and even after the purchase. You have been a great sounding board. I also appreciate the fact that besides having a satisfied client, you have nothing to gain in the process. You have a satisfied client here, both with the boat consultation as well as the offshore learning experience in the South Pacific. Purchasing my HR43, Cadence, in 2011 will give me the 3 years I need to get my act together to get ready to wind down the hectic business life I lead and for the dream I have been chasing to live aboard and cruise the world. I finally put down in my calendar my departure date of September 2014, all the pieces are being put into place. Look forward to meeting up again soon.
Roger Johansson from Free State Yachts and Bill Tobin in Maryland the day Bill's purchase.
Ben and Lisa had some unusual criteria: maximum air draft of 42' and maximum sea draft of 5' for a boat that would pass under the bridge and that they could moor at the dock in front of their Florida home. Lucky people! They had been considering several boats, all of which would have been ok, but when Amanda heard their profile she said, "What about a boat like Mr. John?" Mister John is a Bristol 35.5 beloning to Mr. John, a ship's captain and first officer whom I first met 25 years ago when we were both on earlier, smaller boats, and whom we had just seen in Vanuatu. I forwarded his website and the suggestion to look consider Bristol 35.5's. Turns out the same day Ben sent returned his Consultation Questionnaire, Lisa had found a one-owner Bristol 35.5 nearby. All that was needed was a surveyor, and Paul Anstey that has helped so many of our clients lived just down the road. The Bristol surveyed very clean, deal was complete, buyers and sellers were both happy - all in under two weeks! Wow. http://www.yachtmrjohn.blogspot.com/
My wife Lisa and I have been sailing together off and on for over 30 years. We have owned and restored two wooden boats, lived aboard them for four years, and cruised with our children, then ages 5 and 7. Now we are in our mid-late 50's and it's time to head out again.
We began our boat search in earnest in September and were overwhelmed by the number of boats on the market. What is a "blue water boat"? What boats are well built? What boats are proven cruisers? Lisa came across John Neal's website www.mahina.com. Being new to fiberglass, and having a time constraint, we signed up for John's "Yacht Consultation Service". In less than 24 hours, John had evaluated our resources and requirements, and suggested two boats. We were already looking at "Ek Tac Toe", a 1983 Bristol 35.5 CB and that was one of the boats John recommended.
We drove across Florida 2 days later to look at the boat. Within 3 hours of getting aboard, we knew she was the boat for us. The owner shook hands with us and that was that. John's recommendation gave us the confidence to buy the boat.
In the ensuing weeks John had recommended a surveyor, Paul Anstey, who exceeded our expectations. I needed a recommendation on a VHF and John readily provided guidance. I have full confidence that John will be with us for the rest of our adventure.
This was the smartest $500 I ever spent. From folks like me who have been around boats all their lives to people who are just beginning to consider the cruising life, John is an invaluable resource. And after exchanging several emails, he is becoming a trusted friend and advisor.
Ben and Lisa Smith
"Ek Tac Toe"
YOUNG BRAZILIAN BOAT PURCHASE CONSULTATION CLIENTS LOCATE AND ARE PURCHASING THEIR DREAM BOAT IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC FOR JUST $30,000
Danilo and Marcela are young (28 yrs old) and have saved up enough for a boat and a planned two year round-the-world adventure. Danilo is an electronics tech and both he and his girlfriend Marcela are dive instructors. They hope to do dive charters for Brazilian clients as they circumnavigate to help their cruising kitty. With a total budget of $60,000, I encouraged them to leave enough funds after purchase for repairs and refitting, and they really listened. The Gulfstar 37 they are purchasing for $30,000 has been well looked-after and they are ecstatic! See - you don't need a fortune to find a boat for major offshore cruising.
"I would like to thank you John for the many helpful comments and suggestions you gave me when I was trying to make a decision about my new boat. It was always going to be a Hallberg-Rassy but just what model and what spec left a lot of questions to be answered. You gave me the confidence and support at at a critical time.
Tell Amanda that I'm pouring over her Galley Companion just now. It's going to prove more than useful in a few months time."
Michael Kidd of England (on the left) (Leg 2-2011) was a consultation client who decided to have a new Hallberg-Rassy 40 built and the lucky guy just sent us this image of his new baby which he has named Ad Lib nearing completion. He'll be setting sail toward the Baltic Sea this summer. Lucky man!
FORMER CONSULTATION CLIENTS AND EXPEDITION MEMBERS MOLLY AND BAXTER SELL
STELLA BLUE TO NEW CONSULTATION CLIENTS!
This is one for the record books! Baxter and Molly, living in Salt Lake City
consulted and bought a Tartan 37 before joining us on Leg 2-2011. As soon as
they returned from Rarotonga they headed to Florida and did a thorough
revamp on Stella Blue before setting sail for the Bahamas and non-stop
adventures detailed on http://svstellablue.blogspot.com/. When they
returned, they decided they enjoyed cruising enough to sell their home and
set sail on a much longer adventure with a larger boat. Being a totally
conscientious guy, Baxter decided to repower and install new solar panels
even though they were selling the boat. Logan and Gillian contacted me
recently to help them find a boat. I told them to contact Baxter and Molly -
they did, struck a deal without seeing the boat. Logan proposed to Gillian
the same day they quit their jobs and in no time they hit the road, driving
from San Francisco to Florida where they already had a surveyor lined up.
Here's what I just heard from Baxter:
Hey John & Amanda!
Well, Logan and Gillian bought Stella Blue and are very happy with the boat. We're sad to see her go but couldn't be happier for them and are looking forward to hearing about their adventures. Thanks so much for recommending SB to them!
Are you guys going to be at the Miami Boat Show next week so we can thank y'all in person?
Baxter & Molly
Hiring John was the best decision we made during our whirlwind project to cut all ties and become cruisers. We had been looking at boats but really didn't know what we needed. We were looking at a Tayana 37 and a Catalina 36. After filling out completely the questionnaire John steered us away from both of these choices including multi page documents on why those boats were not for us. The way the consultation works was great for us. It was a bit like having a new close friend who was excited to help with any and all questions related to cruising. We got advice on which boat, pricing and making an offer, international health insurance, boat insurance, and registration. He pointed us to the right people to help us do what we needed.
Baxter and Molly were consultation clients who decided to also join us on Leg 2-2011 after they had just purchased a Tartan 37 which was in very good condition. They are now in the Florida Keys, heading south and having great adventures. http://svstellablue.blogspot.com/
"John's Purchase Consultation was a great benefit to us. Based on our sailing goals and budget, John helped us narrow down acceptable models, determine the relative value of boats based on age, condition and equipment to make an intelligent purchase."
Rob and Nancy from San Francisco out zooming around the Bay on their just-purchased and gorgeous Oyster 485. They joined us for our Oakland Offshore Cruising Seminar and are getting all excited about setting out on a grand cruise once their son heads off to college this Fall.
"I am pleased to provide a reference for John Neal's cruising boat consultation service. My wife and I used John's services to help select our new performance bluewater cruising boat, a Saga 43 we have named Sarah Jean II." READ MORE
Beth and Norm from Vancouver, Canada joined us for our Offshore Seminar, signed up for a Boat Purchase Consultation shortly after, found a very tidy Saga 43, sailed with us on Leg 5 2009, in the South Pacific and just sent us this image of them with Sarah Jean anchored behind them in Honeymoon cove, Mexico. They are about to set sail for the South Pacific and we plan to share an anchorage in Tahitit, June 7. You can visit their website here: sailblogs.com/member/sarahjean2
Here is a picture of me and and my wife in the Biscayan on our way to La Coruna-
we had a very good trip with a lot of challenges but I believe we now have solved most of the problems.
The boat is now wintering over in Lagos Portugal-we will keep in touch
A wonderful Christmas and a good new sailing year to you and your family.
With best wishes,
Ole is our first Danish consultation client. He scoured Europe for a good boat at a reasonable price and found a very tidy Najad 490 in Holland. We were able to recommend an unbiased marine surveyor, the deal was completed, and now Ole and his wife are cruising the Med. We hope to share an anchorage with them one day soon in the South Pacific!
We are on our maiden voyage with the Lorena Grayce our new to us Amphitrite 43, currently we are at anchor in Liberty Bay just off Poulsbo for the fireworks show tonight the 3rd, than we are headed up to the San Juans for about 10 days. We sure do love this boat, and are really looking forward to actually sailing her, we had the sails up yesterday but no wind, but that was OK, its giving me a chance to figure out whats what. Oh a couple of weekends ago we took the Bareboat chartering course and are currently working on the Coastal Navigation course. We are signed up for the Advanced coastal Crusing course in August, we have been very busy. (John and his wife were long-time powerboaters, now nearing retirement, learning to sail and dreaming of far-away warm places!)
The first phase of our plan to go cruising is complete. We are now the
owners of a Prout Catamaran. Thank you for your consultation services
which we found to be very efficient at helping us understand what we
needed from a long term cruising boat.
We are so happy with our find ... thank you SO MUCH for all your expert advice!!!! We'd never be here without your help. On the sea trial, the surveyor had us set the (almost new) sails to inspect, as expected. What we didn't expect was to actually sail her. Heidi had the helm as Walt and I hoisted the main and genny in 18 - 20 knot winds, right about where we'd be thinking to set the first reef. She just comfortably dug in and took off! Wow!
The sellers will deliver her up to Norfolk. Heidi and I will pick her up there and continue up the coast to Maine. Man, we can't wait ... we are beyond excited! I rode my bike with my son to Fort Williams today. It is in Cape Elizabeth, at Portland Head Light and overlooks the entrance to Portland Harbor, Maine. I told him that in less than a month, he can sit there and watch us sail in!
-Dennis and Heidi
Dennis and Heidi from Maine set an all-time record for consultation clients. From the time they forwarded me their Consultation Questionnaire until they had complete survey and completed their purchase of an excellent offshore boat at a very fair price was 27 days. Now they can't wait to take off on their cruise, and we are looking forward to meeting them in Tahiti before too long!
John was an invaluable resource to help us narrow down the dozens of possible cruising boats that led us to one that is perfect for us. He brought an objective and experienced view of the boat market and served as a good sounding board for us as we accelerated our decision time frame. After providing John with our dream boat requirements he was able to guide us down a path that focused our search to a short list of boats. When we became interested in certain boats John provided immediate feedback based on his personal knowledge and through his network of colleagues in the boat business.
Once we had an accepted offer on an Oyster in Sausalito, John provided a reference to a local surveyor who was excellent.
Having access to comparable sales records was an asset in the negotiation process, and John was very supportive and a good partner as we worked through issues found during the survey. We primarily communicated with John via email and occasionally had a phone conversation. This worked out great for both of us.We highly recommend the service that he provides to those serious in their sailboat selection process.
-Robert and Nancy
Thank you a bunch for all of your help, it really made a huge difference once we had you onboard, prior to that we were looking with our eyes closed for the most part. I would and I will recommend you to anyone who is in the market to get a new boat. Mike was a great guy to work with, I would recommend him as well.
The Mahina boat consultation service was an invaluable tool that saved countless hours of weeding though unworthy vessels. John's extensive knowledge of blue water cruisers and and experience gained from countless sea miles provided insight that many brokers are not able to provide. Through our e-mail correspondence, John aided us with information that is often overlooked or unknown to other yacht professionals. Thanks to Mahina's support, we are confident that we found the boat that best fits our goals.
I have finalized the purchase of the IP 45 and am sailing (as we speak
along) the east coast of Australia (wireless broadband connection 40 km
offshore). Am very happy with the choice, her performance exceeds my
Thanks very much for your valuable advice over the past months.
We took advantage of John Neal's consultancy service as we planned for our retirement dream of owning a cruising sailboat. John's input regarding possible boat models, equipment to consider, and help with decisions on many aspect of our purchase were invaluable, as was the practical training we received from John and Amanda during our Pacific cruise with Mahina Expeditions in 2004. In 2008 we took delivery of our Hallberg-Rassy 43, Diomedea II, in our new home port of Sydney, Australia. As we learn about our local cruising grounds, weather, sailing conditions and the running of our boat we constantly refer to the notes from John and Amanda's cruising seminar. Their help and counsel has made our transition from dreamers to boat owners a joy. Our boat has turned out to be all we had hoped for and is perfect for us as we grow in our knowledge and abilities as sailors.
-Anne Reeckmann and Gary Holmes,
John Neal provided us with perfect counsel. By making an initial investment
in his services, we benefited from decades of knowledge about every aspect
of cruising sailboats: from design to construction; performance to safety,
equipment inventory to maintenance demands. His continuous stream of
well-informed, prompt, and up-beat responses to our queries enabled us to
find the ultimate boat for our family. He wisely steered us away from
several boats that would not have served us well. And when it came time to
making an offer and closing on our dream boat, his words of patience and
years of experience helped us to navigate a rocky buying process. Given our
limited budget, without his support it is likely we would have ended up with
a boat that was far from ideal.
-Kim Berry, Mark Baker, Anson and Devon Baker-Berry
Happy owners of Anthea, 1977 Swan 41
I am pleased to provide a reference for John Neal's cruising boat consultation service. My wife and I used John's services to help select our new performance bluewater cruising boat, a Saga 43 we have named Sarah Jean II. READ MORE
When we decided to buy a Hallberg-Rassy 46 in 2001, I contacted John to pick his brain about how to equip the boat. We went through options, safety equipment and spares to carry around. John was very helpful to share his knowledge with me, and we ended up with a very good setup, as close to the "perfect boat" as possible!
My wife and I also joined one of the expeditions on Mahina Tiare to become comfortable with the HR46 before taking delivery of our own .
John not only provided a wealth of information, but we also started a lasting friendship with John and Amanda, and any time our cruising paths converge, we make sure we have the opportunity to share an anchorage with them and have dinner together !
-Giorgio and Laura
Due to his knowledge and connections, John saved us both time and money in finding the right boat for us. He explained to us what to look for in our future home and consulted with on our purchase. John steered us toward the right boat and people, and with some unusual luck we bought our boat within 2 months of the beginning of that complicated process.
-Livia and Carol
"John's help was invaluable when we were looking for that "perfect boat" to fulfill a life-long dream of sailing offshore. I had some ideas and he was a great sounding board for them and would send me notes back with his thoughts. Buying that "last boat" is a painful process and he helped guide us through it. He put us in contact with people he knew for "checking out their boats" and he gave us the name of the broker that would be instrumental in helping us buy KTooT (she was in Annapolis.). As this process took almost year from the first email to the purchase, John never let us down as he always answered our questions - sometimes we sent several a day!
We would highly recommended his services to anyone who is thinking of buying a boat for offshore. We look forward to our journey ahead and feel he helped us make a great choice - she is comfortable, seaworthy and most important - we feel safe in her. Thanks John!"
"I am pleased to provide a reference for John Neal�s cruising boat consultation service. My wife and I used John�s services to help select our new performance bluewater cruising boat, a Saga 43 we have named Sarah Jean II. READ MORE
I took advantage of John Neal's boat purchase consulting service when I
was in the market for my first boat. My goal was to buy a 35 to 40 foot
yacht capable of blue water cruising, should I decide to do so in the
future. Having never owned any type of boat in the past other than a 12'
aluminum fishing boat, I figured that I was probably a mark waiting to
be taken advantage of in the used yacht market.
Frankly, I was surprised
at how quickly John answered all of my questions. Over the space of a
couple of months we exchanged many emails and two or three phone calls.
Typically I would send John a link to a Yachtworld ad and ask him what
he thought. He had several original suggestions of boats he thought
might be on the market soon that fit my specifications. As a result, I
purchased an Island Packet 35 with which I am extremely happy, with no
doubt that I got a great deal on a very seaworthy boat.
I think you will be glad to hear that Stefan and I closed on the purchase of our new (used) boat in June. That means we're one step closer to sailing off into the sunset and you're off the hook for providing consultation! We've had a wonderful summer getting to know the boat and sailing all over So Cal.
We have a lot to thank you for, including answering a bazillion questions, reviewing numerous Yachtworld listings, saving us countless hours by steering us away from junkers, and hooking us up with an honest broker. As far as the recommendation of the surveyor, Robert Noyce, he did a lot to accommodate us with buying the boat remote, and provided a very detailed summary of the survey. Warm Regards,
-Ginny & Stefan