Looking at boats in Charleston, SC

By aaron.axvig, 27 October, 2018

Friday morning the rain came but nowhere near two inches. After breakfast we spent a few hours looking at online listings for sailboats in the Jacksonville area. At 2:00PM we left to drive to the Cooper River Marina for an appointment to look at a boat. We walked to the marina office by way of a very long pier and had some ice cream while waiting for the broker to arrive. There was a large, multistory, run down, boat named "Fathom This" parked on the end of the pier which we couldn't resist asking about. It turned out to be owned by Bam Brown from the TV show Alaskan Bush People. The boat even has its own Twitter account @FathomThisFairy. Aaron thought that was kind of interesting.

Randy, the broker, showed us a 1996 Hunter 376. First impressions were that the outside was dirty with the deck and sides of the boat needing a good cleaning. The boat is normally washed monthly but due to the recent hurricanes the last two cleanings were canceled. We started to really like the boat as we got past the fixable cosmetic issues. The boat has a very large aft cabin with two big hanging lockers, lots of storage on three sides of the bed, two empty storage areas under the mattress, and access to the head. The galley has separate fridge and freezer areas and lots of storage. There is a reasonably large v-berth with good storage, a comfortable cockpit, walkthrough transom, more storage on the transom, etc. Basically there is a lot of room to store all of our crap! For downsides it doesn't have a windlass for the anchor nor in-mast furling, which we have learned is a possibility in our price range. This is the first boat that has an interior which we could imagine ourselves living in.

After that we followed Randy to a marina about 10 minutes away and looked at a 1999 Beneteau Oceanis 352. It was OK but again light on storage and it did not have the best headroom for Aaron. It did have in-mast furling and a manual windlass.

That evening after a dinner of great Mexican food Anna went to bed early, probably dreaming of Hunter 376 sailboats. Aaron spent a lot of time reading Hunter 376 information and reviews, and investigating how much it costs to install a windlass.

This morning we packed up the camper and headed to the next campground in St. Marys, just north of Jacksonville. We ate at Bojangles, a popular chain in the south, for lunch and it was pretty good. Aaron liked the "bo sauceā€ for dipping his chicken tenders and Anna liked the biscuit. The gas station attached to the restaurant sold boiled peanuts which appeared to be peanuts in the shell sitting in some hot water. Someone had told us about them at one of our departure parties but we can't remember who. We were not bold enough to try them.

We liked that Hunter 376 layout a lot so while driving today we started working on plans to view other Hunter 376 boats. There is one for sale in Port Charlotte, FL that does have a windlass and is reportedly kept up better cosmetically. The salesperson told us it had been run aground, keel damage professionally repaired. He also said the boat had been tipped off or floated off of its stands during Hurricane Irma where it took on water and caused an electrical issue which was supposedly professionally repaired.

We are planning to stay in St. Marys for 6 nights. During that time we will spend a day on Cumberland Island visiting Ann and Ralph, potentially drive five hours each way to Port Charlotte, look at some boats in the Jacksonville area, and partake in some tourism activities. Regrettably, we did not see much of Charleston except the marina so we have promised ourselves we will park our sailboat at the city dock and see the town in the future.

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