The walkthrough

Posted on 01 October 2010 Written by Dieter Loibner

33_walkthrough_01Maximizing an inspection during a crowded show is easier with research and a plan

It's a ritual that takes place at all boat shows - stepping aboard a boat that tickles your fancy, opening the cabinetry and the refrigerator, testing the settee, walking forward and aft, looking up the mast and imagining yourself at the helm, heeled to the breeze as you head for the horizon or an afternoon sail on the estuary.

This is, after all, why one attends boat shows: to go beyond the hyped-up marketing effort and get a personal look and feel for the coveted vessels. Although it's true that quality research upfront will help avoid disappointments later, there is also a boat-show etiquette to such walkthroughs that is considerate of other people on board and the company representatives' limited time, especially when crowds are big and the model is in high demand.

Some vendors try to control the mayhem and prequalify customers with sign-up lists so there's a limited number of guests on the boat at any given time. This ensures that potential customers and sales personnel can get a better feel for each other.

It's the age-old dance. Companies want to sell boats and generate quality leads by separating lookers from buyers and people who attend want to maximize their time at the show. So here are a few useful tips that should help both sides.

It's what surveyors would do and it's far beyond a regular walkthrough during boat show hours, when the vessel is crawling with other people. By all means, take notes and snap a few images for your records, but before you get on board, ask the attendant whether it's OK to do so. You will have a chance to do a more thorough inspection before you buy, either with an experienced buddy or with a surveyor.

Larger boats built overseas often are delivered on their own keels to the East Coast, so arrangements must be made for direct delivery elsewhere. If the boat is foreign-built, which most midsize and large sailboats are, check the currency on the price list. The dollar fluctuates against the euro, but no one updates a price list daily. Ask what conversion rate was used to calculate U.S. prices.

This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue.