April 22nd through 23rd 2016

Our latest boat trip involved a beautiful Wauquiez Pretorien in Greenport, up in the North Fork of Long Island, New York. Now Greenport is a place we are familiar with as it is one of the few places we have sailed out of before; once on an overnight trip to Sag Harbor, and again on an overnight trip to Essex, CT with our sailing friends from Manhattan Yacht Club.

A little bit about Greenport:
Greenport is a beautiful little town with around 2,000 habitants. Historically it was a fishing and whaling village, but in the last few years its started to accommodate more and more seasonal tourists, which are mostly overflow for the South Fork (Sag Harbor, the Hamptons) since that part of Long Island gets too crowded and expensive for the average New Yorker.

As an old fishing village, Greenport benefits from great access to water with marinas throughout the village. The trip was supposed to be a day trip. While a little tight on scheduling, it is definitely possible to travel from NYC to Greenport, see two boats, and travel back to NYC in a single day. Ahead of our trip, Galina reached out to our friend, Wolfgang, who has a Swan moored at the Brewer’s Marina (the boat wasn’t in the water for the season yet so we saw her on land).

Google map Penn station to Greenport, NY
Penn station to Greenport, NY via the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR)

Wolfgang and his friend, Andy, who we met sometime last year, were both in Greenport that weekend and they offered to let us sleep on Andy’s boat, which was great since we really did not want to do the round-trip in one day.

So off we were, going to Greenport!

We bought our train tickets from Penn Station, waited for the train to Ronkonkoma (about half way to Greenport) and boarded our train. There is a connection in Ronkonkoma to the train to Greenport; however, once we arrived to Ronkonkoma we were told that the Greenport train starts running on the last week of April (this was the week prior). So there we were half-way to our destination with appointments with a couple of brokers and no way of getting there… Luckily we found another couple who made the same mistake and decided to split the one hour cab ride to Greenport.

Finally we arrived, met with the brokers, checked out the Wauquiez Pretorien and a Beneteau. Galina and I both loved the Pretorien, the interior was more or less exactly what we had been looking for: two mostly private cabins, a spacious cockpit, and decent water and fuel storage. We did have some concerns (we tend to have a lot of concerns on all the boats we see as most of them are in the 25-30 year old range, and time does take its toll). Also, we have very little experience buying boats, so anything that looks off is very concerning to us.

After meeting up with Andy and Wolfgang, having a couple drinks at Billy’s By The Bay, they both agreed to come with us and take a look at the Pretorien, since she was docked nearby. After some time looking her up from the dock we all agreed that she was a beauty and they told us the deck crazing was totally normal and within reason (we would most likely have to fix it at some point, but it was definitely not structural). This eased our mind quite a bit and after some reflection and a good night’s sleep we decided to put in an offer. Note that our budget is between 30k and 40k, which is quite limited even for boats that age. Now the boat was listed quite a bit above that, but we had been told in the past that some owners are sometimes willing to let their prized possession go for substantially less as docking fees and general maintenance can be quite expensive. So we thought why not, lets make an offer and see what happens. We made sure in our letter to convey that our budget was very limited and what we were offering was essentially the maximum.

Unfortunately, our offer was rejected some 13 hours later. While we were sad to see that boat go, we did not have too much hope, since it was essentially a low-ball offer.

The next day, we helped Wolfgang mark a mooring placement for a friend. This was quite interesting as we had never done that before and were unfamiliar with what needs to be taken into account. Basically you have to find a plateau on the floor of the bay so that the mooring does not slide deeper as water currents move it around. We used the Navionics app to check the bathymetry lines and found a plateau. Once dropped, we noted the GPS coordinates and took a couple of photos so the actual mooring could be dropped by a professional.

Inflating Dinghy Greenport NY
Romain inflating the dinghy

The rest of our Sunday was pretty low key. Having checked the Jitney’s schedule, Wolfgang offered to drive us back since the earliest bus going out of Greenport was still pretty late and we all wanted to get back a little sooner.

Opening Oysters Greenport NY
Opening oysters
Little Creek Oysters Greenport
Having a glass of white wine at Little Creek Oysters

We ended up spending the rest of the afternoon eating oysters and having a couple of drinks at the Little Creek Oyster Farm to celebrate the day’s mooring marking and to our (hopefully soon to be acquired) future boat.


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