Hav­ing made the de­ci­sion to down­size, it’s just a mat­ter of find­ing their sea legs for Gil­bert and Maire

Motorboat & Yachting - - Contents - Gil­bert Park

Gil­bert Park down­sizes to a Sealine C330 and Mark Weiss looks back on a year with his Pres­tige 680

Over the years I have been boat­ing I have bought and sold many craft, all of them used. In­creas­ing age and the de­gen­er­a­tion that naturally oc­curs with it led me to spend some of the chil­dren’s in­her­i­tance on a brand new boat for my­self and my wife, Maire.

Why did we choose to down­size from a Sabre­line 36 fly­bridge to a Sealine C330? There were sev­eral rea­sons. The Sabre­line we had be­fore was a great boat; it was com­fort­able, safe and spa­cious. How­ever, it did need a bit of look­ing af­ter and fol­low­ing a winter with an ex­pen­sive gen­er­a­tor re­pair, three days of pol­ish­ing the hull and with the thought of more nec­es­sary jobs to come, I de­cided I wanted to do less main­te­nance and more boat­ing. Liv­ing on the French canals for much of the year, we also re­alised that the Sabre­line was too high for some bridges and the Cater­pil­lar en­gines weren’t en­joy­ing a lot of slow-speed cruis­ing.

So hav­ing made the de­ci­sion to change to a smaller boat, why did we go for the Sealine? For starters, there is a Sealine dealer half a mile away from our berth in France, so we thought that would make any teething prob­lems eas­ier to solve. In fact, we ended up buy­ing it through Thames Boat Sales in the UK as we bumped into the bro­ker who had sold us one of our pre­vi­ous boats at the Southamp­ton Boat Show. He was work­ing for Sealine at the time and TBS had a stock C330 that could be de­liv­ered in time for our late spring/ early sum­mer cruise. He of­fered us a tempt­ing deal that in­cluded a handy dis­count off the new price and tak­ing our Sabre­line 36 in part ex­change, so we went for it. We named our new boat Let’s Go as it summed up our fresh ap­proach to boat­ing.

We wanted Let’s Go de­liv­ered to the South of France and the part ex­change col­lected at the same time. The first les­son we learnt was that mov­ing boats this dis­tance is not an ex­act sci­ence. Although, de­liv­ery and pickup were promised for a Wed­nes­day in May, Let’s Go wasn’t in the water un­til the Satur­day morn­ing. How­ever, we were grate­ful to ‘Lenny the Lorry’ for giv­ing up some of his hol­i­day to en­sure the boat ar­rived in time for the week­end. The sun was shin­ing and we were ready for the off.


As part of the deal, we had ar­ranged for the af­ter-sales man­ager Chris to come down to Aigues-mortes for three days to com­mis­sion the boat and give us some in­struc­tion on her. This was eas­ily the best part of the deal and one I would rec­om­mend to any buyer. Even if you are buy­ing a used boat from a bro­ker, don’t just ac­cept a brief han­dover at the dock­side – in­sist on at least a day on the water as part of your deal. This means that any prob­lems can be ironed out and you can fa­mil­iarise your­self with all the boat’s equip­ment and how it be­haves on the water.

The first morn­ing, Chris took me through every sys­tem on the boat, check­ing I knew where the stop­cocks, water pumps and other key items were and how the elec­tri­cal sys­tems worked. Once done with the daily checks, we headed out to sea to play with the en­gine con­trols. Th­ese are so much more com­plex than the 18-year-old Cater­pil­lars on the Sabre­line and hav­ing Chris to show us how to make the most of them meant the learn­ing curve was much quicker. We soon learnt how to trim the legs and when to use the tabs as well.

Both my wife and I ben­e­fited hugely from our time at sea, es­pe­cially when it came to moor­ing up. We be­came much more con­fi­dent at just us­ing the en­gines and keep­ing the bow thruster in re­serve.

We were plan­ning to spend a night on board with Chris but never did man­age to. Typ­i­cally, on our first night alone, we couldn’t find the light switch

in the heads (you press the light it­self) and there was only luke­warm water from the tap (the mix­ing valve near the calori­fier had been turned all the way to cold). Chris soon helped us sort it out over the phone but even he couldn’t help us with the next is­sue – where the rub­bish bin is. There isn’t one, nor is there space for one in any of the lock­ers. A real tri­umph of form over func­tion!

Be­fore we bought the boat, we did iden­tify an­other prob­lem for us – there’s only one for­ward-fac­ing seat. As Maire suf­fers from sea­sick­ness, we had to over­come this prob­lem. With help from Ham­ble Yacht Ser­vices, we changed and re­in­forced the pil­lar for the sa­loon ta­ble so that we can mount a seat on it when un­der­way. Once we’re berthed, the seat stows neatly in a locker and the ta­ble top goes back on. The ta­ble sup­plied with the boat looked re­ally beau­ti­ful but wouldn’t work for us; it was too highly pol­ished with holes in the mid­dle and no fid­dle round the edge. So we bought a stan­dard teak table­top to re­place, which works bril­liantly.


One of the ben­e­fits of buy­ing a new boat is know­ing that every­thing is cov­ered by a war­ranty, but although the Ray­ma­rine AIS and radar we had retro­fit­ted came with all the cor­rect pa­per­work, we weren’t sure if the rest of the Ray­ma­rine kit that was al­ready fit­ted as stan­dard was cov­ered by an on-board war­ranty. As I write this, I am still try­ing to es­tab­lish if the three year on-board war­ranty for the fac­tory-fit­ted Ray­ma­rine equip­ment is in place. I am as­sured that the mak­ers will reg­is­ter it, but I am still await­ing con­fir­ma­tion. In the fu­ture, I’m told it will be au­to­mat­i­cally reg­is­tered us­ing the hull num­ber.

Thank­fully the twin Volvo D3 en­gines and out­drives had been prop­erly reg­is­tered for war­ranty cover. I know this be­cause there was a re­call on them soon af­ter we took de­liv­ery. The boat had to come out of the water to have the gear­boxes fixed, post­pon­ing our plans for the sum­mer. But at least I didn’t have to pay any­thing. The war­ranty also proved use­ful on a Bank Hol­i­day Mon­day in Toulon. Af­ter fu­elling at Toulon’s only diesel pump, a warn­ing came up say­ing the elec­tri­cal steer­ing had failed! Hav­ing read the hand­book, I knew there was a 24/7 helpline in English, so I rang the num­ber and a few hours later, a tech­ni­cian ar­rived and found a high­pres­sure hose had split and spurted oil into the bilges. We were al­lowed to use one en­gine to get back to our berth and a cou­ple of days later, the part ar­rived and was fit­ted.

This ex­pe­ri­ence led me to reread all the in­struc­tion books and I dis­cov­ered I had to reg­is­ter sev­eral other parts of the boat such as the TV, en­ter­tain­ment cen­tre, spot­light and so on to en­sure the var­i­ous war­ranties ap­plied . Since Chris left there have been a few nig­gling things such as a screw from the panoramic win­dow go­ing miss­ing, but th­ese are only to be ex­pected with a com­plex piece of ma­chin­ery. A re­place­ment was swiftly sent from the fac­tory in Ger­many and couri­ered to us in France. One of the great ad­van­tages of the time spent with Chris is hav­ing a con­tact point we know and trust. Noth­ing is too much trou­ble for him.

Now that the usual teething prob­lems have been sorted, we are start­ing to re­ally en­joy the boat and know how to have fun safely. Cru­cially, we also trust TBS to look af­ter us and fix any is­sues that do arise – so now it’s re­ally just a case of LET’S GO!

Maire gets to grips with their new boat’s han­dling un­der the watch­ful eye of TBS’S af­ter-sales man­ager

Let’s Go was de­liv­ered to the South of France by road

The new Sealine C330 of­fers the kind of sim­ple turn-key boat­ing the Parks were look­ing for

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