The purchasing process (Part 3/3)

Our experiences during the purchase of our first and second sailing boat

In this three-part series we dive into the different aspects we encountered during our search for and purchase of our perfect sailing boat. We share our experience with finding a sailboat, what we paid attention to during the viewings and how the purchasing process went. We benefit greatly from the experiences of other sailors, so we are happy to share our thoughts and tips!

This is part 3 of 3

This may seem obvious, but purchasing a sailboat can consist of many different steps. Buying both of our sailboats differed, and during our search it became clear that different people have different views on buying a boat. No problem, as long as you try to be as transparent as possible in advance. Just like with any other major purchase that requires a lot of money, the purchase of a sailboat is often accompanied by a lot of personal interest and emotional value. Especially if, like me, you quickly become attached to vehicles such as sailboats and cars (hi Betty!). If you are unsure about purchasing a sailboat, perhaps our experience can help you! At least you know what you can expect.

Timelines may vary, but the process usually consists of a few recurring steps:

Financial situation

Everyone's financial situation is different, but the costs of a sailboat can vary considerably. Bolle cost a few thousand euros as a 7.5 meter cabin yacht. Ori, as a 12.5 meter sailboat to live on, costs a little more. It can quickly add up and not everyone has this readily available. Nothing wrong with getting some outside help. Reliable financial institutions can help with this. If you use this option, keep in mind that this can add 8 to 15 working days to the process, which can amount to an additional 2 to 3 weeks.

We had saved for years for this dream that we have before purchasing our boat. We want to live on it, so all the savings we had put aside for a house went into our boat pot. Big amount in the end, but it's totally worth it!


An inspection is a major part of the purchasing process. However, an inspection is not a standard part of every boat. For Bolle given the age, length and condition, we decided not to do an official inspection, as it can be quite expensive, especially if you want to have it being carried out well and thorough. At Bolle we decided to embark on an adventure and see what we would encounter.

We knew in advance that an inspection of a sailboat like we were looking for would be mandatory, at least for us. We happily pay money for our peace of mind and for the expertise of others when we have to make such a big choice. As a condition on our bid for Ori, we added an inspection carried out by a HISWA expert. When the offer was accepted, we made an appointment for a day of inspection in Zeeland.

The expert comes to the boat in the morning with sandwiches and immediately starts tapping, measuring, asking questions and taking notes. Lars loved that and stayed with the expert all day with all his questions. The day includes a general inspection, viewing the underwater hull (i.e. having it hoisted) and doing a test sail. But with the weather on November 9, 2023, we only sailed onto the Oosterschelde for a while. Too much wind and rain to open the sail with confidence.

At the end of the day we received an overview of the sailboat's defects and the expert's advice. In the purchase contract, you write down what both parties will do if substantial defects are found during the inspection. These significant defects are determined by the expert, and advice is immediately given on how to resolve them. In theory, this can reduce disputes during the purchasing process. In practice you will probably always have a discussion.

At Ori, a defect emerged in the anchor box to which the anchor winch is attached. This is loose, causing water to enter the boat. Not so much that she immediately sinks, but enough to have caused some damage on the inside. We managed to handle this neatly through the contract by reducing the purchase price a bit for repairs.

Within a few working days, the expert provided us with an overview of all the major defects that we can properly resolve in the coming years. In the end this costs money (depending on the length of the sailboat, but for us this was about 1700 EUR including hoisting), a full day and a some discussion, but it was well worth it for two neurotics who like to know everything and can now go onto the Markermeer with peace of mind.

The purchase contract

During an earlier purchasing process last year, things broke down during contract negotiations. This time we decided to hire someone for this. A yacht broker who can help us draw up the contract and, as a third party, takes care of the financial transfer. A wonderful solution for us, because they also turned out to be a great source of advice and knowledge. The contract is drawn up under HISWA conditions, which are generally very standard conditions with little room for discussion. The only point we had to agree on was up to what amount the material defects would be treated.

We can recommend everyone to have a contract drawn up by a yacht broker. The costs in our case were approximately EUR 500 and for this we received an extensive contract, a registration check, an escrow account and a patient man who answered our many questions and provided us with a lot of advice. As soon as a third party arranges this, the selling and purchasing parties are part of it, instead of responsible. That position saves a lot of stress and decision-making.

The transfer

Once the inspection has been done, the contract has been signed and the deposit has been paid, it is time for the final step: The transfer! The most exciting step, we would say, during which you make sure the sailboat is delivered as agreed. Ori was located in Zeeland, so our key transfer was done on a Saturday morning in Zeeland. A strange realization when the old owners press a bunch of keys into your hands and then leave. We immediately arranged the insurance, because from that moment on we are responsible. There you are, on your recently purchased, much too large boat, which you now have to sail home.

How we sailed from Zeeland to Almere you can read here!

The timeline

Once again it is important to emphasize that any boat purchasing process can be different. But it often helps us to read other people's experiences, so that you can create a realistic picture. So here is our timeline:

We made an offer on October 17 and received the keys on November 19. The offer was accepted on October 18, financing was completed on November 1, the contract was signed and the down payment was made on November 4, the inspection was on November 8, and the official agreement was on November 15.

A golden tip for anyone who is going to buy sailing boats and ends up in such a process: try to estimate the steps you want to go through and the time involved. Expectation management can avoid a lot of discussion, irritation and misunderstanding for both parties. A lesson for us too, if we ever buy our next boat. For us, the financing took a little longer than expected, and if we had communicated this in advance, we would have been on the same page for a little longer. There can be 8 working days between the inspection and the inspection report, and also a week when creating the contract and any discussion.

The purchasing process (Part 3/3)

Our experience during the purchase of our first and second sailing boat


Melanie de Leeuw

4/20/20245 min read