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At JMYS we strive to enhance our reputation with everyone we do business with. Buyers have many choices and complex decisions to make. We focus on keeping the purchase process organized, friendly and fun. The strongest endorsement for our business is a happy customer and we work hard to exceed even the highest expectations.
Buying a boat can be a complicated blend of emotions and logic and it is vital to select a broker who will not only be your advocate, but serve as a reliable partner throughout the entire purchase process and well after the closing. Often times many years go by from initial introductions to closing the deal. We never push and try to always be available. Regular communications with timely follow up and even stronger follow through are some of the traits that set us apart.
We believe that trustworthy, ethical business practices along with solid product knowledge and on-the-water experience are essential characteristics of a professional yacht broker. The relationships we create with our customers most often evolve into lasting friendships. We educate and inform as we guide you along the way. Our favorite stage is the hands-on training with check lists and procedures that we provide to new owners in order to insure our clients are competent with systems operations and comfortable when they take off on their own.
A satisfied customer is our number one priority and we know our success is directly tied to our clients’ happiness. Customer support and loyalty is our most valued asset. We are proud and privileged to have helped so many clients realize their cruising goals. Everyone has a story to tell and we think our clients say it best…
Rob and Deanna Piwowarczyk – Bella Luna
Brent and Sandy Vaughn – Lady Di
Bart and Julia Hedges – Vamos
We bought our Nordhavn 55 (5507) through JMYS earlier this year. We have known Jeff for many years and even though Jeff was our initial contact, we also had met with Ray to see boats and talk about Nordhavns.
Since this was a JMYS listing, when we made our offer through Jeff, he and Ray divided duties with Jeff representing us on the buy-side and Ray representing the seller. It was very transparent and professional, they work well together and we were always informed. Jeff guided us through the surveyor and diesel mechanic selection and both brokers attended survey and haul out.
Their network of connections for the entire process was extremely helpful – documentation, surveyors, haul out yard, insurance, etc. The transaction was straightforward, well documented and explained and painless. The purchase process was very well organized.
After acquiring the boat Jeff and Ray each spent time with us on different occasions doing all sorts of training including basic familiarization with the boat, getting us signed up for the Nordhavn Owners Group, organizing the registration paper work, preparing for a coast guard stop, detailed familiarization with all of the various systems on the boat and hands on docking, anchoring and navigating.
Ray, living local, spent several days with us, including one-on-one boat handling with Julia and we also practiced docking. Jeff and his wife, Pam, flew out for a couple of days with us to do our first offshore traveling on Vamos and we also did some running in the ICW, getting us familiar with running underway.
All told we spent about 40 hours of training. Now that we are about a month into our first real trip (Florida to Nova Scotia) the training has really paid off. The training reduced stress over so many aspects of our travels and has resulted in a far better experience than we would have expected.
We are extremely happy with or Nordhavn 55 purchase and would recommend Jeff and Ray to anyone considering buying a trawler (especially a Nordhavn) without hesitation.
Bart and Julia Hedges – Nordhavn 55 Vamos
Russ and Missie Low – Melissa Lynn
It all started with a dream of cruising in our very own Trawler Yacht. When we decided to make it a reality we soon realized that this would be a very complex process and we needed someone with extensive knowledge and experience to help guide us through the process. We met up with a few brokers and expressed our desire to have someone act on our behalf as a “buyers broker” and after each meeting we left feeling as though they did not listen to what we wanted or were more interested in selling us something before we were ready. Upon more research, we kept seeing the name “Jeff Merrill”. He was even mentioned positively on someone’s blog so we decided to take a look at his website and see what he was about. We were very impressed with what we saw and the honesty of what boat ownership and the search for the right one is all about. We were going to be in Jeff’s home area on a Business trip so we set up a lunch meeting on relatively short notice and Jeff was able to oblige. We ended up talking for nearly three hours receiving more helpful guidance and information in that meeting than we had received anywhere else. We were impressed and relieved feeling that we had finally found someone who understood what we needed and where we were in the process. Needless to say, we “hired” Jeff that day.
Jeff went to work right away. He contacted past clients in our area and arranged for us to meet with them and learn from their experiences in the process. He encouraged us to look at as many trawlers as possible before becoming too attached to a style and would set up meetings with listing brokers to see boats that interested us. Although he was extremely busy, he was very responsive and took the time to talk nearly every day and coach us. Jeff was our voice of reason when we thought the second boat we toured was the perfect one. He never wanted us to lose out on the perfect boat, but wanted to be sure we had done all our homework and could feel absolutely confident that we were choosing the right boat for us.
After looking at quite a few boats, we finally found the one! A 53’ Selene Trawler. Jeff looked after us and our best interest the whole way. There were several hitches in the purchase process once we had made an offer (none created by Jeff!) however Jeff was able to easily navigate those situations and counsel us on what course of action to take. It was very important to him to make sure we were happy with our decision during and after the sale. He was there every step of the way!
After everything had settled and we had our boat delivered to her home port Jeff scheduled a 3-day trip with his wife Pam to our home marina. This visit was to provide additional training on the use and care of our trawler, and was very valuable to us providing a great deal on how to operate her more smoothly and safely. We also had a lot of fun that weekend just hanging out with Jeff and Pam, what a great couple!
On a personal note, we began this looking for a boat and someone to help us figure it out. What we ended up with was new friends in Jeff and Pam. They are genuinely just great people to be around and we plan keep that relationship going. Jeff Merrill is truly a 5-star Broker (and friend!)
Russ and Missie low
Selene 53 – “Melissa Lynn”
Now that we have “Ophelia” safely home at the Lighthouse Point marina in Baltimore, Maryland I am inspired to write a short note to thank you for all of your guidance in helping us fulfill our long-time goal of becoming Nordhavn owners. First, thanks for flying back to Florida from California after the closing and yard projects were completed to crew on the northbound trip from West Palm Beach to Morehead City, NC. There are a lot of new systems and equipment to understand (this Nordhavn 50 is much more complicated than our Grand Banks 42) and to have you on board for the maiden voyage (51 hours nonstop including my first two overnighters) has given me much more confidence!
You have a very calm and easy way of explaining things and as a result of our time together underway I feel much better qualified to be the owner/operator/captain and the details we covered are still sinking in. Which is much more comforting than us sinking!!
When you spend time at sea with someone you get to know them better – especially 70 – 90 miles offshore with no connectivity (no email or calls, it was a great escape). It was a blast talking about the boat, doing engine room checks, eating, studying systems, reviewing the electrical and navigation in the pilothouse, discussing weather and music. Before I forget, please send me your list of favorite bands and I’ll email you a copy of The Hollow Hill band CD that I recorded with my group.
I know that “timing is everything” is an overused expression, but it sums things up succinctly to describe this purchase. It was my good fortune to check in with you shortly after you listed Nordhavn 50 hull 25 “Flat Earth” and before you were ready to put her on the internet. I’ll never forget me describing how I had just missed out on another 50 and telling you my wish list, and then the surprise when you told me you had a new listing that just might be a great fit – it couldn’t have turned out any better.
Once Missy and I flew down to Stuart, Florida and stepped aboard, buying and owning the 50 was all we talked about and we continue to be buzzed with enthusiasm. I’d like to complement you and Ray Danet for your professionalism throughout the purchase process. I’ve met many brokers, but feel like this was a much-improved experience having your extensive product knowledge and detailed organizational skills. With the offer accepted, we had to accomplish a lot of things in a short time, yet we always felt that we were your number one priority through your excellent communication and step by step approach (even though we knew you were being pulled in many directions).
Buying a Nordhavn 50 from the original owner and getting to spend time with Phil Eslinger was an absolute bonus. Hearing why he made the new build decisions he did and learning his thinking really helped us better understand the boat. I know many brokers don’t like the buyer and seller to meet, yet you not only introduced us, you encouraged us to talk and the unique relationship this created made for a virtually seamless ownership transition and as a result we each have a new friend. It feels good for us to know that Phil realizes his “baby” has gone to a good home.
Regarding your training…yes, I will buy a label maker and update all of the blue tape and Sharpie reminder notes you have plastered all over “Ophelia”. Thanks, you know I am a by-the-book checklist type of person and love this stuff. When you told me that training would start during the survey process I didn’t know what you meant, but now I can appreciate your attention to detail and certainly have a much greater understanding of so many aspects that would have taken me a long time to figure out on my own.
Missy and I look forward to touring “Ophelia” around the Chesapeake this summer and then hope to venture further as time allows. If any of your future clients want to speak with a more than satisfied JMYS customer please know I am a big fan and would be more than happy to connect with them. I know that even though this is a done-deal, that you view this as the start, not the end of our friendship. Expect me to continue pestering you with texts calls and emails and please also know that if you ever have the time you are welcome to join us for an excursion on “Ophelia”.
Charlie and Missy Hodge
Nordhavn 50 “Ophelia”
Bill and Cathy Cottingame – Big Blue
Much of my life had been spent in claustrophobic laboratories coercing finicky hardware to, perhaps, reveal some small esotery. Such research eventually led to a passage from Honiara, Guadalcanal to Long Beach, California aboard a Scripts oceanographic vessel – the R/V John V. Vickers. We were actually outside in amiable sunlight or under an ocean of stars, at sea in the seemingly endless Central Pacific. Our crew encountered both balmy calm and severe storm with brutal seas. We experienced the freshest of sushi and periods of persistent sea sickness. We became addicted to the adrenalin of discovery and endured the subsequent withdrawal once the measurements were concluded while still far from shore. Once finally ashore, even before gaining our land legs, the question was posed, “Would you do it again?” The unanimous answer was, “In a heartbeat.”
Since that voyage, I broadened my personal research interest to include long-range cruising. I studied the obligatory Beebe/Umstot Voyaging under Power, and George Buehler’s The Troller Yacht Book. I read numerous other books and magazines on seamanship, navigation, charting, radar, marine weather, marine diesel, navigation regulations, and the liveaboard lifestyle. I evaluated characteristics and reputation of the major brands, e.g., Nordhavn, Kadey Krogen, Diesel Duck, DeFever, Fleming, etc. However as a lifelong experimentalist I understand that when the time comes to transition from theory to practice, the value of actual hands-on experience is crucial. Based on exploring backgrounds and soliciting information form recent trawler customers and Southern California marine professionals, it was obvious that Jeff Merrill possessed the necessary credentials to provide that hands-on experience. After several discussions and meeting with Jeff, my wife and I concluded that Jeff not only possessed the desired credentials but indicated a real interest in assisting us explore the many trawler choices and eventually make an appropriate decision. We consequently ask Jeff to act as our broker.
As should be expected from any broker, Jeff managed the negotiation and purchase process flawlessly. However our choice of Jeff was based on a desire for competent assistance during trawler selection. And as his credentials suggested, Jeff’s knowledge of trawlers and ship’s systems was instrumental over the lengthy exploration process during which our initial assumptions evolved significantly. My wife appreciated the fact that he was equally sensitive to her concerns and showed no interest in rushing the process. Over a six month period Jeff assisted us inspecting trawlers from San Diego, CA to Anacortes, WA. This knowledge and experience subsequently allowed realistic comparisons between separate brands and individual boats equipped differently. He provided both a template for vessel comparisons and the rough estimates for retrofit cost to add the desired equipment, which proved reasonably accurate for the Selene 53 we eventually purchased.
We have had the Selene for six months and continue to be satisfied with our choice of trawler and with Jeff’s assistance in its acquisition. I look forward to once again experiencing voyaging over tropical seas – this time on my own schedule and this time with my wife.
Dr. William Cottingame – Selene 53 Big Blue
Richard and Valerie Harris – Bonheur
My journey to Nordhavn ownership started like so many others it seems and now four years after first setting foot on a N40 at the Southampton UK Boat Show in 2012. Now, I am the very proud third owner of N57 39 and I know I would not have succeeded without Jeff’s’ encouragement and unfailing commitment and patience.
I found myself a year later with a day to spare in LA on my way home to Australia at the end of a family holiday while planning my itinerary. So, I emailed Nordhavn Dana Point and fortunately for me I picked Jeff’s contact to write too. Jeff agreed to pick us up in Santa Monica in six months’ time, drive my wife, Valerie, and I to Dana Point, show me over any brokerage boats for sale at the time, and then drive us back to LAX for our evening flight. True to his word, he did not forget and kept in touch as the time approached.
Jeff asked two new owners if we could look over their 52 and a 60 that were being commissioned and then a couple of brokerage boats. Jeff took the time to listen to our position and was obviously proud and keen to share his experiences of the brand Nordhavn with us for the day, nothing was too much trouble it seemed.
We returned home to Adelaide, Australia and Jeff and I started more than three years of email conversations as my plans progressed. He was instrumental in re-introducing me to the new Australian owners of the N60, Dianne and Rick MacClure, and I was very fortunate that Rick invited me to return to Dana Point two months later and assist on his first trip up the west coast to Seattle. I was hooked.
Not long after this, Jeff advised me that he had decided to leave Nordhavn and start his own brokerage and I was very pleased to offer him my best wishes for his new venture. By then I thought I knew him well enough to sense he had too much energy and experience for the constraints of the Nordhavn sales office and would be far more successful on his own. Jeff’s passion for the trawler market and the lifestyle it can offer is infectious and unbounding and his genuine interest in his “clients” needs and aspirations I found helped me to keep going for several years as I sorted my business and personal life out to get to a position that I could be an owner.
When the time arrived in August 2016, I had no hesitation in asking Jeff if he would help me to find the right used Nordhavn for us. I felt with Jeff’s experience, contacts and support we would find a better boat and get a better deal. With one month’s notice Jeff agreed to fly to Australia with his lovely wife Pam, and spend a week checking out a N57 that was for sale in Brisbane, for a very reasonable and fair financial arrangement.
Jeff worked tirelessly for six days with me, going through every detail of the boat, checking, and at the same time “starting my training” in all the systems and what is involved in owning a Nordhavn. He worked all day and then answered questions and discussed the boat all evening. His support made all the difference in giving me the confidence to complete the purchase. I do not believe I would not have proceeded without his assurance that the boat was sound and an excellent example that would be perfect for us.
The search and purchase process is a large undertaking that invariably takes years for a first-time owner particularly, Jeff has been there for me the whole way, never getting frustrated or impatient, and I know that this support will not end now that I have purchased. Jeff is not the type of “salesman” who you never hear from again once he’s got his commission.
Thank you, Jeff, and Pam for all you have done to help me, I know I could not have done it without you. If any of your future clients would like to contact me, you are welcome to give them my details.
Kind regards from a very happy new owner.
Richard and Valerie Harris – Nordhavn 57 Bonheur
After giving the subject much thought during the last few years, my wife and I decided it was finally time to “cross over to the dark side.”
Once we made the decision to sell our Pacific Seacraft sailboat and become more serious about looking at Nordhavns, it soon became obvious that we had a lot to learn.
We did a lot of research online to find the right trawler and kept coming across Jeff’s name so we got in touch and asked him to become our broker.
Jeff was incredibly patient as he answered endless questions and guided us through the boat selection and negotiation process. All of this occurred during the busy year-end holiday season.
Prior to our trip north home to Washington, Jeff joined us aboard for a three-day weekend of training and orientation in April, providing hours of instruction and invaluable information.
The level of service from Jeff before, during and after the purchase of our new vessel, was truly remarkable!
An unanticipated benefit of working with Jeff is that it gave us the opportunity to also become friends with his incredible wife Pam!
Mark and Lisa Lund
Proud new owners of Chinatsu N4047
During Jeff’s first year as an independent yacht broker we asked Jeff if he would be interested in helping us find and purchase an American Tug 34. We knew this was on the small size of the trawler range where he usually deals, but it was no surprise that Jeff accepted—or that he offered terrific guidance and support right from the get-go.
We first considered an AT34 in Michigan, but the seller decided to keep her and took her off the market before we could make an offer. We collaborated to work through a detailed analysis of several AT34’s on the east coast so we could compare our choices. Our goal was to find a nice, clean boat that we could base at our home in Fort Lauderdale, a boat to be used mainly for cruising the Florida Keys.
Jeff found a great candidate at the Baltimore Trawler Fest where he was giving some talks and meeting with clients. He toured the boat (red boat) extensively and then emailed us a couple hundred photos along with a thorough report summary of his impressions. Conveniently we were southbound from Maine on our way home to Florida and were able to swing by the TrawlerFest for a firsthand look. We liked what we saw—in fact we were really impressed with the red boat. But by them we’d made an offer, sight-unseen, on another AT34 in North Carolina (yellow boat).
The yellow boat offer was accepted and Jeff flew out from CA for the survey, haul out and sea trial, but during the survey we learned some things that caused us to pause, and we withdrew the offer. Jeff flew back home and we continued the hunt. We considered another boat briefly (green boat), then decided to look more closely again at the Trawler Fest red boat. We joked that we were conducting “Operation Traffic Light” with the red, yellow and green boat mix.
Our research included a lot of online study and speaking with American Tug owners and representatives from the factory. By then we were convinced that an AT34 was the right boat for us, we just needed to find the right AT34.
After the haul out, survey and sea trial on the yellow boat, we felt better equipped to take a closer look at the red boat. Jeff and the seller’s broker had several conversations and we learned the seller side was even more motivated since they did not sell her at the Trawler Fest. We had hundreds of photos to draw from and our own recollections from being on board. One of our concerns was that the red boat had been neglected and needed a thorough cleaning, especially the engine room. We wrote up an offer and requested that the dirty engine room be detailed–this was one of the things that had put us off originally. The idea was to get the boat in a more acceptable condition for review.
Jeff helped us put together a good offer and was instrumental in guiding us through difficult negotiations on the red boat that finally lead to a deal. He then flew back east to Maryland for our survey, haul out and sea trial with Milt, while Judy stayed in Florida with our dog, Katy. This time it was meant to be, and we closed the deal and are thrilled with our purchase. We took possession of the boat in the Annapolis area just before Thanksgiving, spent a week moving aboard, learning her systems, and preparing her to go south. And we had an enjoyable 1,000-mile run down the ICW to the red boat’s new home in Fort Lauderdale
Working with Jeff was like consulting with a trusted friend. We’d first met Jeff more than a decade ago during his Nordhavn days and enjoyed his company well before we started looking at American Tugs. We continue to touch base on a regular basis. There was never any pressure during Operation Traffic Light, and Jeff was 100% focused on helping us find the best total package, always putting our best interests first and foremost.
When it comes to helping find you the right boat, then following through on every detail to get to closing, then supporting you waaaay beyond the closing of the sale, Jeff Merrill simply cannot be beat. If we hadn’t used Jeff as our buyer’s broker, we seriously believe the sale would never have closed. In our estimation he is the best of the best! And we were the true beneficiaries of his deep knowledge, his attention to detail, and his ability to negotiate a deal that’s fair to everyone.
If you are looking for a trawler, any size or brand, we recommend contacting Jeff to see if he can help you as much as he helped us.
Milt and Judy Baker – American Tug 34, Bluewater IV and Nordhavn 47 Bluewater
About five years ago Christopher was in LA for business and arranged to meet Jeff in Dana Point where they toured some Nordhavns together. We have been talking and planning ever since about the day we purchased our own Nordhavn and decided to attend the Baltimore Trawler Fest. In Baltimore we sought out Jeff, got reacquainted, and after hearing what he had to say asked him if he could find the right Nordhavn 47 for us. We looked at a few boats and whenever something came on to the market, Jeff was able to provide hundreds of pictures of every inch of the boat. It seems like he has been on just about every Nordhavn build either when it was commissioned or displayed at a boat show.
A few months later, after researching the available choices we made an offer on a Nordhavn 47 in Florida through Jeff and flew down to preview the boat before hiring the survey team. Unfortunately, when we arrived to take a look, the photos online did not live up to our expectations and we withdrew the offer. The Nordhavns we looked at were “fine”, but none of them was “the boat” for us.
Jeff asked if we had considered the Kadey-Krogen brand. We had not seen their newer offerings, just some of the older models, so we were not even considering Krogen. Jeff encouraged us to have an open mind and gave us some great guidance; since there was a Krogen Open House in Stuart, Florida, why not make the trip down to see their line up in person? Worst case we could confirm Krogen was not for us, best case it would open us up to considering some an additional trawler option beyond Nordhavn. Good news, we loved the Krogens, especially their new line of AE (Advanced Ergodynamics) models, and one of the highlights of attending was we were invited to go for a ride and drive a new 52 to see how they travel through the water – we were impressed!
A week after the Open House a one-year-old Kadey-Krogen 44AE named Sweet Ride came on the market with less than 100 hours. Jeff sent us a couple hundred photos that he had taken of Sweet Ride when she was brand new and on display at a Florida boat show and we were thrilled with the potential. With Jeff’s assistance we made an offer that was accepted. This is when all of the real work began and where Jeff really out shines the other brokers we have met.
We booked travel to sea trial her, have her hauled and surveyed. Jeff had provided us with list of items to consider and logistics that needed to be resolved in order to buy Sweet Ride and get her from Florida to our home in New Hampshire.
Once we got on Sweet Ride we were in love. This was the perfect boat for us! The sea trial was a breeze and we loved being at the helm. Work called and we could not stick around for the survey and haul out, but we felt very comfortable knowing Jeff would be there and would keep us informed of any issues. There were only a few minor issues (warrantee items) that needed to be addressed and Jeff provided us with photos from the haul out of the bottom, fins, rudder, prop etc. so that we could not see how she looked out of the water.
The deal closed very quickly and it was time to make the boat ours. We are new to boats of this size and complexity so Jeff walked us through the myriad processes to register her, get new MMSI numbers, equip the boat with safety equipment and make arrangements to have her delivered by a skipper he recommended.
Once Sweet Ride arrived home we puttered around on few short trips of less than 3 hours just to learn the systems and become familiar with her handling. A few weeks later, we wanted to move the boat down from New Hampshire to the Chesapeake Bay. Jeff and his wife Pam flew across country and met us at the Cape Cod Canal to begin the intensive training. Pam and Jeff are both world class sailors and yachtsmen. We could not have been in better hands. Jeff taught us engine room checks, built check lists for startup and shut down, labelled every component we should monitor and walked us through making a Red Binder with all the important info needed for the boat. He even included documents we would need if boarded by the US Coast Guard.
We had so much fun with Jeff and Pam and their relaxed approach that we didn’t feel like we were being schooled all day. It felt like we were cruising with friends who are well seasoned. We learned so much on our trip from the Cape Cod Canal through Long Island Sound (including not to anchor at Plum Island). We learned how the importance of picking suitable anchorages, before we had just looked at the charts for proper depth and some shelter.
As the sun set on day two we cruised through downtown Manhattan heading south for our first night run. After going through the final bridge in New York harbor and heading into the Atlantic we found ourselves in seas that were building and the wind was piping up. There is no way we would have felt safe without Jeff and Pam who were very calm and commented that it was “kind of lumpy”. Night running with a totally different beast that required us to rely on instruments so much more that visuals. Jeff helped us set up watches and tuned in our nav com and lighting for night running. A group of Kadey Krogens were about a half day ahead of us and they, like us, decided to pull in to safe harbor for a few days to wait for the seas to settle down. We ended up spending several days in Liberty Landing, NJ, with Jeff showing us more things about the boat and we even did some sightseeing in the city, all why staying at the dock waiting for a weather window. After several days of waiting, Jeff and Pam had to leave for another event and we were sorry to see them go, but much more confident that we could handle Sweet Ride ourselves.
After Jeff and Pam left we felt much more comfortable with the boat and did a 55 hour run non-stop to the Chesapeake, all alone and had a blast! We were exhausted because we didn’t stick to the watch schedule, but we felt safe and very proud of our achievement. We continued our journey south making a few stops and eventually reached our final destination in Florida.
We could not have done the trip done to Florida without Jeff’s guidance. Now we are headed back north after spending much of the winter in the Bahamas. Our plans are to cruise the Chesapeake until June then Maine for the summer.
We have spoken to many cruisers over this past year and when we tell them about our experience with Jeff, we have learned that this is not the norm. Jeff provides so much more guidance and training than anyone we have heard of.
If you are in the market to buy a trawler or cruising sailboat, we recommend you work with JMYS. Before you find yourself committed, interview the broker you plan to work with. You may be surprised how few have real cruising experience and even fewer stay involved with their customers after the sale is complete. We consider Jeff to be a friend of the family and he treats us the same. We keep in regular contact and he is always available to answer a question or provide a solution.
You will come to love Jeff and his Hawaiian shirts as much as we do if you select him to be your broker. We are looking forward to having Jeff and Pam back onboard Sweet Ride soon.
Christopher Bruce, Alexandra Boelte & Mr. Anderson (Ragdoll Cat)
Kadey-Krogen 44AE Sweet Ride