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Closing the Deal

In the July issue of Latitude 38, Kristian Beadle shared the story of his family’s stressful time closing the deal on a new boat purchase …

We had 7-month-old babies strapped onto our bodies when the catamaran’s seller lost his marbles, and nastily told us to get off his boat.

I felt a sudden, slow-motion desperation. I was a new father of twins, and like an overconfident poker player, I had “put all my chips in” — and was about to lose it all.

In mid-pandemic (August 2020), my wife Sabrina had shipped all our belongings by cargo to the atoll of Rangiroa, in French Polynesia, where we planned to move aboard a 46-ft Fountaine Pajot cat whose owner had signed a contract the previous year.

The trip to the boat had to be delayed when our twin girls, Kaiana and Naiyah, were born prematurely (29 weeks) in January 2020. So those first months of life were a marathon battle, including three months living in the hospital’s neonatal ICU in the San Francisco area.

In July, the pediatrician gave us the green light. A month later, we flew with 26 bags from San Francisco to Papeete, along with our friend Alexandra to help us as nanny during this chaotic transition.

Kristian, Sabrina, Kaiana and Naiyah. The girls turned 18 months old in July.
© 2021 Selavi

By the time we arrived in Rangiroa, we were completely fried, yet we agreed to meet the seller at the boat the next day. The meeting went … very poorly.

“You’ve pushed it too far!” he yelled as he fired up the dinghy, in essence kicking us off the boat. “You don’t trust me! That’s it!” He was incredibly angry. He expected me to evaluate the boat in the span of a few hours. And I had the temerity to ask for what was spelled out in our contract.

Pandemic stress ignited his outrage. Later I learned that his wife and son were pressuring him not to sell the boat. Their other plans fell apart due to COVID, and suddenly, the boat’s importance magnified: It was their home and business, and one reliable foundation in life.

The family had lived aboard this boat for 11 years, running classy charters as their income, enjoying a good life. They had decided to move off to give their son a good education. But why should they now plunge into the uncertainty of terrestrial existence at the worst of times?

Our $20,000 down payment in the seller’s account was only secured by a measly contract — no broker, no escrow account (I know, I know … I’ve learned my lesson). Handshake integrity was the binding force.

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