• Ian Watts

Flying Cloud : Found

Updated: Jan 10

Finally... lying in Benalmadena, Spain, we found her !


Carerra Yachting International had one for sale at a seemingly reasonable price.


Apparently her German owners were now rather elderly and hadn't been on board for the past 6-odd years. She was very, superficially at least, tired and in need of a LOT of tender love and care - but the price reflected this - kind of...

And she was berthed nose-to-the-jetty which didn't make it any easier for the broker, Adam, to get on board to take pictures and give us a walk-through


Nevertheless, he did get on, we did get our pictures and a video walk-through... at the end of which we were rather daunted at the boat's visually apparent state of (dis-) repair and upkeep. To be fair, with the best will in the world, distance and age are no friends to a yacht the size and likes of a Vag 47. Two masts, two headsails, cavernous interior and miles and miles, yards and yards of varnish work and teak decks... A LOT to keep up with for anyone and the mediterranean sun hadn't helped much on the topsides but, on the up-side, Benalmadena is pretty dry... great for the insides... not so great for the tired teak decks and bright-work !!


A lot of cosmetic work was foreseen, sail condition (and number thereof) was unknown, engine condition was unknown but internally she still looked pretty good and un-spoilt (original), there was a pretty new-looking generator on board and she did fit our "we need a boat to refit / refurb" criteria. We remained more than interested...

"Flying Cloud"


a tiny idea as to the damage / required repairs topside...


...and some of the potential...

The quality of the woodwork below decks looked simply superb. With an interior like this (at 37+ years old), we could only imagine how good she looked on the exterior when new... and THAT was to be the aim over the ensuing 2 years; to bring her back to an as-new standard with 21st century materials and equipment... IF a survey threw up no major issues...


Under sail, to us, she looked FANTASTIC - although this photo was good 10+ years old... and the broker had no idea as to current sail condition or even the number of sails to be found on board...

No doubt about it, we were definitely buying into a dream...


Three big questions remained :

  1. her visual condition waht would the owner consider a 'fair' price ? We knew what he was asking but would he be willing to drop to our price ?

  2. How would she fare during a detailed professional out-of-the-water survey and subsequent sea-trial...

  3. Was was she too far gone ? Would we be able to bring her back to her original standard or would the simply overrun us / our budget and grind us down ? Only time will tell, I guess...


Anyways, it all seemed rather pointless to delay and, although we hadn't yet seen the boat 'in the flesh', we'd had a video walk-through and a load of photos. We knew we loved Vag 47s and were keen not to lose this one but...

At the end of the day, we made our offer and negotiated through the broker...


We had only one 'get out' / one 'condition' / one proviso - and that was that, no matter what the professional survey may highlight (to be fair, we expected a heap of issues), the boat simply HAD to be sea worthy enough for us to relocate her from the Med to Camaret, Brittany later that month - toward the end of October. Pretty much, that only meant that her engine and rig had to be operational and that she still had a keel and a working rudder ! To us, that seemed the fairest way to proceed; the owner had a rock-solid offer with funds transferred to the broker. 'All' we wanted was a survey that was no worse than the visual appearance of the boat ! Seemed pretty fair to us... but what would the owner think ?


Well, one week later our offer was accepted... and we (as agreed) transferred the funds to the broker's Spanish account . A couple of days later we finalised a three day visit, a lift out and a professional survey - all at the same time.


We then feverishly planned, planned, dreamed and planned some more... In the intervening week we kept asking ourselves 'What if.. this... ???' and 'What if... that... ???'... 'Were we too hasty to transfer all the money... ???'...


I arrived in Benalmadenea on the morning of the survey... Things didn't start too well...

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© 2017 Ian Watts