Oftentimes the old saying, “the best boat for you is the one you already own” rings true for mariners. But in Mark Hancheroff’s case, the best one was just slips away in the very marina where he kept his old boat. Switching from a 1977 Carver Mariner 3396 to the 1983 Sea Ray 340 Sedan Bridge John Buoy has had Mark and family in their new best boat for over a year, with dreams of exploring Puget Sound. John Buoy is homeported in Kirkland, Washington.
Tell us about your boat’s name.
This was the previous owner’s name. It’s pretty funny, so we haven’t changed it.
Have you owned other boats before this one? If so, what kinds?
Yes, our previous boat was a 1977 Carver Mariner 3396. We had that boat for 7 years.
Tell us a little about your boating background.
My father had a 42 foot Grand Banks when I was young. We would spend a lot of time on the water, including a few trips north as far as Victoria. That boat was beautiful, but very high maintenance because of all the teak. It taught me to appreciate fiberglass:)
I also learned to appreciate knowing the rules of the road, how to use a VHF, the basic COLREGS and how to read buoys. Know all that makes a big difference on the water in terms of safety for you and your crew.
What’s the history of your boat? (Where’s it been? Who built or designed it? Anyone famous own it before you?) Tell us its story.
We stumbled across this boat in South Lake Union where we had our previous boat in the marina. John Buoy was for sale at one of the big boat brokers, and while it looked very new, the price was ridiculously low. We took a look, and found out that it was a trade in from a buyer of a big yacht, and had battery issues, but that the interior and canvas had just been redone. No one was making any offers, but we were able to get it surveyed, started and found it to be a great cruiser. We got it for a song, and sold our older boat (at a bit of a loss, but it was worth it to get this boat).
What do you know now about your boat that you wish you’d known when you bought it? Would that have changed your mind?
Nothing. We had a great survey, and knew what needed to be done.
What’s your favorite story involving your boat?
This year we took it out of the locks to Eagle Harbor. We stay on Lake Washington mostly, so getting out was new for this boat. It was easy to navigate out on Puget Sound, and just right for a family weekend — we hope to get out more this year.
Describe the most challenging situation you’ve experienced on your boat and how it performed.
Rebuilding the battery system. The original battery charger on the boat was malfunctioning and had boiled the batteries dry. We got it with replacement starter batteries, but I had to haul out the house bank (four batteries at 70 pounds each), install new batteries, add a new ground point and then replace the charger. It took some time to find the replacement charger that was a match for the wiring, but once I had that I was able to pull the old charger (which was about 55 pounds) and install the new one (much lighter), which is a ProMariner model. I added an overheat protection sensor, a charge indicator and a remote display panel. It took me over a month to do everything, but it all works perfectly now.
Where do you plan to take your boat? Do you have a dream destination?
Mostly just around the lake in the summer. But we want to do a Blake Island trip and head up to the San Juan Islands someday. Penn Cove would be another amazing place — gotta love the Mussels!
If someone gave you $10,000 that you could only spend on your boat, what would you do with it and why?
A full tune up of the engines, fresh repaint of the hull, update the electronics, and rum, definitely rum…
If you could have any other boat, what would it be and why?
At some point I’d love to learn to sail, so a sturdy sailboat would be on the list, but not yet.
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