Survey and Self Aware
Being thorough and informed before making the big choice
For anyone choosing to embark on any trip I'd always recommend a bit of forethought. With equipment being such a big part of a travel, being informed is absolutely mandatory. Even if you're just backpacking somewhere you should never just throw a bag over your shoulder and go. Bags fit a certain way, or sometimes not at all. Not all gear is made the same. Any tool taken with you has pros and cons.
With a sailboat, meant to take you around the world, there is certainly no lack of cons. The pros, I think, speak for themselves... a means of home, safety, and travel. But like with any home there is maintenance and breakdowns. When you're out on the open water there's one person you can turn to to answer the call, you.
When you go to buy a car, you take it for a test drive. You at least glance at the carfax report. You kick the tires like it tells you something about them (it really does not but at least you look cool and like a veteran mechanic).
Buying a house, you walk around inside it, around the outside. You envision the furniture in certain rooms, consider the windows and where you put the bed so you can either sleep in or wake with the sunrise. You pretend what it would take to host a party, or bring a date over to enjoy an evening.
With a boat, that does both of those things? Learning to sail is the easy part, relatively speaking. Living on a boat, that is the difficult bit. Everyone wants to see the beautiful places in the world. No one wants to step up and be the captain to do so, because of the work it demands. Well, not 'no one,' obviously.
The furniture is built in. You can't really rearrange things, as someone has already stared at the very uniquely organic shape of the 'room' and figured out the best way to fill it. Its like a banana split... each ice cream parlor has its own version of it, but at the end of the day you have this curvy shaped thing that is the heart of a few expected bits. Oh, and there's no tires, though I hope that much is obvious.
And the real big thing to consider? Unless you're buying absolutely new, someone before you has already made some choices about tweaking that space you might not even be aware of or ready for. You look at the photos of the thing when it left the factory and walk around it today and realize definitely not the same. Someone, not you, has already called this home, a few times over in fact. Little things are broken that you'd never abide broken. There is features that previous owners clearly did not consider necessary that are gone, and you find yourself on EBAY and other sites trying to find someone else like the guy before you so you can replace that piece of tradition.
So with the Formosa, the sailboat I'm considering, it was absolutely imperative that I find someone to give me an unbiased look at the vessel. I was already wearing the rose colored glasses. These guys would be the service that puts my dream in check and allows me to balance optimism with realism as I move forward in the process. They opened every cabinet, door, hatch and hide-y hole. They at least stuck their head into each, if not their whole body, while the other took detailed notes. We got the boat out in the open water and raised the sails, tested the systems, the hardware, and the general feel of the boat.
If they didn't come back with "I'm surprised we didn't sink because of blah blah blah," I already knew... This one would carry me around the world and I would treat her as a jewel upon the ocean for providing me the opportunity.