It’s been three weeks since we’ve taken possession of Brilliant, and almost every day I become more convinced that we have purchased a great boat.  Brilliant is a boat of good lineage.  Moody Yachts UK Ltd. is a company with a record throughout Europe of sound manufacturing practices, and Bill Dixon is a designer with a reputation of clean designs.  The Moody Owners Association is an international network of owners who willingly help each other enjoy their boats to the max.  This information was easily found through some Internet research, and we have Cruising Friends who previously owned  a Moody and speak highly of them.

What’s not so easy to research is how well the previous owners used and cared for a boat that is over 25 years old.  In our cruising “career” Carrie and I have seen older boats that have been well cared for, boats of the same age that have been badly neglected, and any number of boats somewhere in  between.

From the moment we met the previous owners of Brilliant we enjoyed a connection and have come to find that they not only express a sincere love for this boat, but their love is truly evident by how they cared for her.

When we first contacted them to set up an appointment to look the boat over, the owner willingly sent numerous additional pictures to show us her various attributes.  Not uncommonly among sellers, the pictures weren’t all recently taken, which can be deceiving because you don’t know how the boat looks now.  But while the pictures were all nice, the list of installed cruising systems was what really peaked our interest.  Everything on our wish list for a cruise-ready boat was there.  The question was how well it all worked.

As we climbed aboard Brilliant for the first time we found both husband and wife aboard, something you don’t find very often, but then again you normally view a boat with a broker representing the owners.  We somehow paired up immediately, Carrie with the gal and me with the guy, and began our tour.  Mine was more oriented to the mechanical aspects, the “guy stuff”, while Carrie’s seemed to be more focused on the living spaces.  We don’t normally separate like that, but it seemed comfortable so we went with it.

When we joined back up again the owners willingly left the boat to give us time to talk together, and we quickly determined that this was a real find, one seriously worth considering.  After talking it over we left to consider an offer, but it didn’t take us long to realize that this was the boat we both wanted to have surveyed.  We made an offer that was readily accepted within an hour of leaving and got back together with the owners that same day to seal the deal.

Then we began juggling times and places to haul the boat out of the water temporarily to conduct a full survey, which requires viewing and testing the integrity of the underwater hull, return it to the water to test the engine, and then conducting a thorough inspection of everything onboard from stem to stern at the dock.

When the owner stated that he would like to be aboard for the haul-out and survey, we were a bit apprehensive that his presence would somehow compromise the objectivity of our Surveyor’s assessments.  But since there wasn’t any evidence that he wanted to hide anything, I was just watchful to ensure this didn’t happen, ready to step in if things didn’t seem to be working out.  As the survey progressed I found his desire was only that the surveyor’s questions be fully answered and that the inventory of onboard systems and equipment be fully accounted for.

Unlike many boats we’ve viewed (did I tell you that this is our 4th boat as a couple since 2006?), Brilliant had only been sitting idle at the dock for about 6 months, and the results of the survey were not too surprising.  The only disappointing part was the surveyor’s valuation of the boat.  He was admittedly unfamiliar with the Moody, a British-made vessel, and didn’t know what other boats to compare it to.

About a week after we signed the papers and money changed hands, the owner emailed me his complete Brilliant Owner’s Manual, covering each area of the boat and what you’ll find there.  It is a very comprehensive document covering every compartment and its contents, one that I’ve referred to numerous times in the few weeks we’ve been aboard to answer my questions.

Since purchasing Brilliant and moving aboard, Carrie has cleaned the entire boat to her exacting standards, and I have searched through each and every compartment to get familiar with where everything is and testing it out.  I’ve come to call it “treasure hunting” because I have repeatedly found numerous treasures that came with the purchase; tools and spare parts that I didn’t have to buy, LED bulbs in all of the fixtures to save energy, inflatable life vests with built in harnesses ready to go, and many well thought out modifications and upgrades that I don’t need to fix or replace.

I have been repeatedly impressed with the workmanship and attention to detail, traits that Carrie and I both aspire to when we add or modify a system or make a repair.  I was reminded of that yet again today when I opened up the electrical panel to wire up 12 volt power to the portable freezer we installed to make additional space for frozen foods.  This is a space that normally remains hidden until something goes wrong, and when you find wiring that is well organized and routed smartly, it speaks volumes about someone who has taken the time and effort to do something right the first time instead of hiding it behind the bulkhead.

This is clean compared to what we've seen

This is clean compared to what we’ve seen

The previous owner has been more than willing to answer questions or talk about his work aboard Brilliant, in fact he seems to be following our progress as a new Friend on Facebook.

Any boat owner will tell you that there are several things that they’d like to modify or install on their boat.  They’ll also tell you that the list of projects they’d like to accomplish regularly gets interrupted by things that break down or need attention, given the difficult environment a boat normally operates in.

I read somewhere years ago that there are two types of Cruisers; the ones who are afraid to leave the dock because of the fear something will break, and the ones who happily leave the dock knowing that something will eventually break while they’re having fun out there.  The second set just prepares themselves to deal with those eventualities when they arise.

We prefer to be the latter of the two, and work diligently to do a job right the first time so we won’t have to take more time to do it again later.  I believe we have found kindred spirits in Brilliant’s previous owners, and hope that they enjoy our travels vicariously in the future.  We plan to carry on the tradition of care and attention that our “new” boat has obviously enjoyed over the past several years.