The story of how we fell for our boat is funny.
I (Jørn) have had a boat for a long time but there have been motor boats. Growing up with the carpentry life in the Mandal archipelago, had friends by dinghy and boat and as an adult it was cabic cruises that mattered. Scand, Askeladden, Marex and Bavaria – had them all with good and bad experiences and learned a lot from this.
Jill’s experience is also with motorboats, mainly for fishing in the hometown of Harstad.
As you can see, when we decided in late summer 2015 to sell our Bavaria 35 Sport, a boat we must admit did not become our favorite and realize our dream with a sailboat, the knowledge to choose the right boat was limited. What got us started was the meeting with SY Empire with crew in Sandspollen and hearing about their experiences after 7 years of land sailing. Fantastic ability to share knowledge and experience caused our last part of doubt to disappear, we should become sailors and we should be there now… well a little easier said than done … this was not the easiest time to sell.
Either way it was right on Boats in the Sea and watching boats and we ran aboard all the sailboats we found with little knowledge of what to look for .. but we found the dream boat. We were well received by Kristin Heitmann himself and got a fantastic tour of their Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 469, a boat that we dropped off before but was too big and expensive for us. The living room behind the anchor well ahead, the solution downstairs in the cabin and the large bathing platform were what we fell for, so as you see, the sailing knowledge was limited. In any case, we gained good confidence in Heitmann and the hunt continued but the motor boat was not sold.
Early in 2016, the Bavaria was finally sold and although the price was not quite what we wanted, we were happy to find a sailboat. We searched for a long time and found many nice boats, though not as nice as the Jeanneau. We had almost decided to bid on a 40-foot Dufour when we took a tour of Heitmann’s indoor spring fair. We agreed that we were looking for a boat at around 38-40 feet due to the boat space we had then and that we wanted to learn how to sail in a boat that was not too big but at the same time could accommodate the whole family. We were down and watching a new Jeanneau SO 389 when we met Peter Heitmann who more than happy we wanted an offer on this one. I stated clearly that it was not appropriate to buy a new boat now with expensive purchased experiences from the Bavaria. For a joke, did I add that it was actually the 469’s farther down the hall we dreamed of so maybe he had a pig offer on it? Peter said it was probably not for sale this year but would be for sale next year, but he could offer a new one of course, something we were not interested in, we would learn in a smaller boat. To pull the joke even further, I said that then he could only lend us the 389 for one year and we could price the 469 already now. Both laughed a little but I could see that an idea had been planted with Peter. However, we left home without pursuing the matter further except to think a little about it. The morning after we got home, and had turned our minds off, Peter phoned and wanted to make an offer. This was in the county’s time, we were just about to bid on the Dufour. The offer came, we went down and looked at both boats again, talked to Peter and went home… it was too much money. However, the desire for the dream boat was so great that we were discussing and discussing. I ended up telling Jill that if she got the price down a substantial sum as well as obtaining boat space I was included. Jill grabbed the pipe and discussed with Peter for a long time … and finally I think Peter got so bored that we came to a consensusJ. We signed two boats for the first and last time in our lives and started looking forward to May 1st.
The 389 season was absolutely amazing! It was so right to learn how to sail in this easy-going and easy-to-handle boat. We had courses on board in the cool and windy, educational but also somewhat frustrating. We sailed the Hiking in the Færder’n and made our way down to Gothenburg in the summer. A great learning year but we should not put under a chair that we thought a lot about the boat we should have next year.
Beginning of May 2017 came the day we took over our dream boat. Amazingly, we ended up with the same boat that was the first 469 we saw in 2015.
It was a bigger transition I would have thought to go up to a 46 footer and especially port maneuvering was a challenge to begin with but a friend to everything. After a sun cruise from Koster to Gothenburg, the feeling of mastery was there and we are very pleased with the boat and not least the sailing properties. After a 5th place in the Tour class on the Færder’n and 4th place in the same class in the Dutch, we feel that we can call ourselves sailorsJ.
Many will say that we have bought a boat that is not suitable to sail far in. Well, the type of boat has disproved this many times and we are comfortable with our choice. The boat sails very well, but we must increase the sailing wardrobe a bit before we leave. Buying a boat is also a lot about choosing the right supplier and service equipment, especially with a boat that is under warranty. The experience with Heitmann Marin is very good. As with all boats, there are mistakes and things that need to be corrected and taken care of very well. We have not always had the same experience and therefore we are both happy and relieved at the service level we experience at Heitmann Marin.