Customer: Dean Johns
My dream began about 10 years ago. Work hard, save, buy a boat on the east coast of the US and sail back to Australia. Being a Catalina owner, I really wanted a Catalina 470 but I always thought that it may be outside my reach financially.
I started looking for a boat to purchase rather than dream in July 2014 so that I had a full three months to create my shortlist prior to setting off to the US to purchase the yacht of my dreams. I sent an email to Massey yacht sales as my research indicated that they were one of the largest franchises in the US and specialized in Catalina. Edward Massey put me straight on to Susan Opland and after exchanging introductions, Susan went straight to work. I sent a range of different boats for Susan to investigate. Catalina’s, Hunters and some various other manufacturers. The locations ranged from Kemah Texas, Florida and Chesapeake Bay. This made no difference to Susan and even her brother in Houston helped out and inspected boats to advise me on their condition.
After much planning and budgeting, I asked Susan to investigate a Catalina 470 in Daytona Beach Florida. The advertisement for this yachts stated that it had been struck by lightning and had caught on fire, however it had been fully restored by Blue Water restorations. While this was quite a risk, Susan decided to travel from the west coast of Florida, some three and a half hours to Daytona Beach to complete an inspection.
Susan provided a written report and heaps of photos to assist with my decision. While there was still much work to be done, the information allowed me to establish a budget for the refit and make an offer. This Catalina 470, named Invictus (Latin for unconquered) was advertised for $185,000. I estimated I need to spend another $60,000 on electronics, safety equipment and all the standard equipment that is required on a yacht. This meant I had to make an offer well below the advertise price. Susan negotiated like a true champion and we settles on a price well below the advertised price.
Now to travel from Brisbane Australia to Daytona Beach. While I was planning that trip, Susan was organizing a surveyor, haul out, finding a location that I could get the hull antifouled and allow us to stay on Invictus at the same time.
Everything was organized, travel 36 hours to arrive in Orlando and drive to Daytona Beach, meet the owner to complete the initial inspection, Survey the next day with haul out and if everything went well, keep the boat on the hard to complete a heap of work while staying on board.
Susan organized everything and it went like clockwork. The best thing was that although there were a few surprises found during the survey, Susan started negotiating a deal that was a win for all parties so that the deal could be closed that day. So within 3 days of leaving Brisbane, I was a proud owner of a Catalina 470. Susan’s experience turned a possibly difficult negotiation into a simple agreement.
My plans are to complete a refit over the next four weeks. This includes all new Raymarine instruments, tender and outboard, all the safety equipment to get safely back to Australia, satphone, HF and fixing all the little thing that you need to complete when purchasing a yacht. Once completed I’ll spend 11 months travelling to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Panama, French Polynesia, Tonga, Fiji, New Caledonia and making port in Bundaberg Australia.
A big thank you to Massey yacht sales and especially Susan Opland for turning my dream into reality.