Chismosa – The purchase

Builder: Cheoy Lee

Designer: Wittolhz

Model Year: 1983

Type: Ketch Sailboat

Gross Weight: 45,000

Hull Material: Fiberglass

Keel: Long Fin / Draft 8’ 6”

Engine: Yanmar 2014 Model: 4JH4TE

Generator: Koehler 8kW Model: 8EOZ

Cabins: 4 / Heads: 2

Hull Color: Light Blue

Bottom Paint: Red (Micron 66)

The purchase of CHISMOSA was a relatively easy buy for Jen and I once we sailed her, but it wasn’t an easy find. In fact, finding the right boat for our family has been a long process. We previously owned a 2000 Catalina 400 MkII (2-cabin design) which we lived on for a period of time and sailed her often in the San Francisco Bay. We loved that boat, but she proved to be too small for our growing family and more of a coastal sailing boat and our plans for that changed as well.

We had spent months looking online for the right boat and have many friends and family members who are experienced with boats of all kinds recommend that we look for boats in Florida.  Simply put, they are cheaper and there is far more inventory there. We hadn’t really explored Florida much during our search because we did not want to buy a boat then have to pay to have it brought to California and I wasn’t sure how my employer would feel about me taking the time off to bring it back myself. We set those concerns aside and simply focused on finding the right boat. If we found one on the east coast then we would just have to figure the rest out from there.

We knew that we wanted stick to a purchase price of $200k or less, but I have to admit, on occasion I would remove the price range from the search engine and some really cool looking boats would pop up. Looking at the really expensive boats was always a bit fun but once we got really serious about our search we stuck to the plan and one day came upon “Chismosa” which means “Gossipy Girl” in Spanish. Her eye-catching photos on the listing quickly drew Jen and I in and from there we learned that although she was a 1983 model, she had gone through a 5-year refit in Cuba from 2009-2014. The boat from bow to stern had a make over with new teak decks, new standing rigging, fridge/freezer, haul paint, bottom paint, masts and booms repainted, new Yanmar engine installed…the works! At first, Jen and  I thought this is too good to be true for the price point of $139K.

We contacted George Ottoni from the Multihull Company in Miami, Florida where the boat was docked and made arrangements to fly out and see her. In November (2017) we arrived to Miami and felt that she was more eye-catching at the dock than she was in the pictures, which was hard for us to believe. We went aboard and found a very open concept design for the living space below. Although the galley has a linear design to it, it’s located to port and is really out of the way for most foot traffic. The settee, nav desk and other living space at the base of the companion way is open and spacious. The newly installed LED lighting provides great light below and each of her 4 cabins are comfortable enough for a 6’ adult. There are two heads both with showers and central air conditioning throughout.

The deck was amazingly wide at 14’ and her overall length of 53’ made her seem really spacious on deck as well. It was nice to see her deck wasn’t cluttered with excess equipment like we had seen on many other boats. All of the wenches, hand holds and hatches were all smartly placed to allow for an optimal work environment when underway. Of course a boat this old did have some minor work that was needed. Some of the wenches needed to be replaced, some light woodwork was needed below and other minor cosmetic issues would need to be fixed at some point, but nothing major. We still needed to sail her and haul her out for a bottom inspection before we could make a decision.

The bottom inspection was done at the Royale Palm Marina located at Dania Beach, Florida and the surveyor we went with for our inspection was Randy Boiko. To haul the boat out for the inspection we were charged $528, which was pretty typical for a haul out. The service team was very contentious of the boat during haul out and ensured that the straps were properly placed. I realize its their job to watch out for the boat, but not all marinas are skilled at this process.  Randy determined there were no glaring issues, but noticed the rudder had some softness to it and would need to be looked at if purchased.

After the splash, the boat was motored into the open water near Port Everglades, Florida for our test sail. Although the sea state at the time consisted of 1-2 meter swells and winds of 22 knots, it wasn’t ‘crazy sailing conditions’ by our standards the captain was a bit hesitate on heading out in those conditions. I insisted we do the short test sail anyway and he agreed. That was when Jen and I were sold on this boat. She handled the wind and waves beautifully. At just over 22 tons, she is heavy enough to feel solid in the open ocean, but not so heavy that her maneuverability was sluggish and slow. It turns out, Jen and I were spot on with her sail-ability as I would later discover when the crew and I left Florida bound for Panama 2 months later. In 42 knots of wind on our beam with only a staysail and mizzen flying with no reefs in she handled the waves and wind without any issue. We also were able to sail with a full compliment of sails (mizzen, staysail, main and genoa) at a speed of 5 knots in only 8 knots of breeze. Her complement of sails and long sleek design made her perfect for so many sailing conditions.

At the time of the inspection, Chismosa was lacking serviceable sails, had no navigational equipment on board and was in need of fresh bottom paint. We ended up negotiating a great price for her and a month later she was ours. This marked the beginning of the basic outfit process she would undergo in order to get her home to San Francisco. Our plan had always been to live on the boat once in California in order to save money and then one day when we were ready…begin cruising as a family. Chismosa had been built in Hong Kong in 1983, owned by an Italian, refit by a Norwegian while living in Cuba and is presently owned and sailed by Americans. For that, we think Chismosa already has an interesting past and its our hope that our family can build upon that by taking her to many places around the world. She sat for nearly 3 years after her refit before we purchased her and we are excited to breathe some new life into her and make her our new home.

In the next blog, I will discuss the basic outfit we did to get her ready for the 4500 nautical mile trip home, the costs in doing that and how we found crew. Below, I listed the contact information for the people and services discussed in this blog in case you are in the Florida area and needed a recommendation.

The Multihull Company  – George Ottoni

Phone: 877-242-3565


Royale Palma Marina

629 NE 3rd Street Dania Beach, FL 33004

Service Manager: Sean

Office Phone: 954-923-5900 Cell Phone: 954-495-6897

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