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Old 18-04-2015, 11:48   #1
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Advice Welcome & Wanted

I want to purchase a small(ish) sailing yacht, budget necessitates 'previously owned' for the purpose of long term blue water cruising. I am budgeting 100k for the purchase and my first priority is safety followed by comfort. The plan is to travel with my son daughter in law two grand children (5 & 10) and possibly my Godson. As you would expect everybody I speak too has a different view, which is fine but nobody that I have spoken with has ever under taken any long term blue water cruising! My questions are for those that have!

1) What in your view is the optimum size for such a venture?
2) Is there any particular craft that you would recommend?
3) Is there anything in particular that you didn't take or you weren't equipped with that, with the benefit of hindsight, you regret?
4) Are there any markets where as a result of the local economy (ie Greece perhaps?) where better value for money can be achieved?
5) Any other 'Do's or Don'ts' that you only discovered afterwards?

Many thanks for your patience in reading my post and further thanks in anticipation of your giving a response to my questions.

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Old 18-04-2015, 12:10   #2
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Re: Advice Welcome & Wanted

Where do you plan to buy this boat and where do you plan to sail? To me, the biggest question of all is about your experience and that of the interesting family arrangements you have in mind. I'd be way more concerned about everyone's comfort and abilities and willingness rather than about the specifics of the boat itself. Before I can provide helpful answers, it would be very useful to know more about your sailing experience and abilities.
1. There is no "optimum size". It depends on many factors.
2.There are many particular craft I might recommend but see above
3. The snarky answer might be my children and grandchildren but that is not a "sailing" question per se.
4. As for markets--again--where do you wish to buy and sail from? What is the exchange rate you are using--or will it be Euros or Pounds?
5.As with 3, this is a very big question. As with all of them--more depends upon the crew than about boat specifics.
Please tell us more about everyone's background and abilities and sailing goals perhaps we can be more helpful.

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Old 18-04-2015, 12:33   #3
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Re: Advice Welcome & Wanted

What Paul said...

The question you may want to add is...
1) How long will it take us to learn to sail a safe journey?
2) How likely is it that my spouse and son/daughter in law will want to learn to sail and be proficient enough that I can sleep while they're on watch?
and so on
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow - what a ride!"
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Old 18-04-2015, 12:35   #4
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Re: Advice Welcome & Wanted

Take some lessons and charters together before you buy a boat...hat will be a great investment!
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Old 18-04-2015, 12:38   #5
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Re: Advice Welcome & Wanted

Many thanks for your response Paul, now to your questions:

Where we buy is fairly academic, but ideally somewhere within the med where we can buy what we want/need at a hopefully favourable price. Initially it would be our intention to sail the med, once we are comfortable with what ever it is we purchase we will venture further afield. As for experience 40+ years but only ever in day sail boats, my son the same type of experience but fewer years and my grandson mainly wind surfers! Finally my Godson, experience very limited and my daughter in law? Has multiple degrees in shopping! However on a more positive side my son Godson and myself will all be taking all of the relevant RYA courses.
We can effect payment in any currency, but ideally 's sterling would for me be simplest and might well prove advantageous to someone in Greece or Spain perhaps.

Many thanks Paul for your response, I hope the above clarifies things.
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Old 18-04-2015, 13:53   #6
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Re: Advice Welcome & Wanted

Steve I think you all will be more comfortable and better prepared if you were to do some short sails together before you decide what kind of boat you want. There are so many from which to choose--ho do you begin? How do you narrow it down? You will wan your crew involved as well but it will be a very steep learning curve. Again--I suggest chartering and lessons and trying out other boats first. And bigger is not always better!
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Old 18-04-2015, 16:23   #7
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Re: Advice Welcome & Wanted

I think there are plenty of sub 40' boats that tick all the boxes.

I found best boat deals actually in countries with strong economies: the US, the UK, etc. I think many owners in less happy economies used plenty of credit leverage to purchase their boats. Now they seem to be sitting on the market with the owners locked in 2008 vision of what their plastic toys were supposed to be worth.

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Old 18-04-2015, 17:36   #8
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Re: Advice Welcome & Wanted

you are likely to find the best deals on ex cruising boats in the uk.
lots at around the 60k mark on appoloduck,boats and outboards etc,budget 20 k on upgrades.
much better to start in the uk for a venture like this,then a pretty easy sail to the med once the boat is ready.
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Old 19-04-2015, 03:23   #9
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Re: Advice Welcome & Wanted

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, SteveLydd.
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Old 19-04-2015, 09:41   #10
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Re: Advice Welcome & Wanted

We recently purchased what can best be described as a family boat capable of overnight cruising. I wanted a sailboat although it was not appropriate for my wife, daughter and grand daughter. We settled on a restored vintage 1967 Chris Craft Cavalier 33'. Sleeps six comfortably. We've done upgrades that basically doubled our cost. I should mention that all of our upgrades were in the interest of safety. Small children and adults that are not capable of ocean swimming is a huge concern. We do have a Zodiac in a rack on the stern. We looked for almost a year before buying ... and made the purchase the same day the boat was listed. The best prices I saw was on St Croix, USVI. Unusually low prices ... cruisers sail out of Florida east coast ... cross the gulf stream and head south. When they burn out it's either sell or hire a crew for return sail. Looking back there is only one thing I would do differently ... find a really good marine mechanic and be prepared to pay $90 an hour. A good mechanic will have his own covered slip with a lift. It gets interesting when family and children come aboard. With the twin 350's we can always get back to the marina. Good luck on your search.
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Old 19-04-2015, 09:56   #11
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Re: Advice Welcome & Wanted

Best advice I ever got was from a boat broker when I came knocking on his door to see a boat advertised on Yachtworld was " Go and charter a half a dozen boats and then come back and see me". He was right ...after chartering a Jeanneau, a C&C, a Bavaria, a Catalina and an Island Packet I had a really good idea of what I wanted in a boat.

Remember its easy to buy a boat ...not so easy to sell it
(PS: Finally bought a Gozzard 36)
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Old 19-04-2015, 12:23   #12
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Re: Advice Welcome & Wanted

I'm no "long range cruiser" by any means (my longest run was a 5-day motoring up the ICW), but while all of the above suggestions seem perfectly logical, when considering the 6-member motley crew you've described, I'd be more tempted to book a Transat Cruise on the QM 2.

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Old 19-04-2015, 15:23   #13
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Re: Advice Welcome & Wanted

With the crew you describe, your going to need a pretty Big boat, at least three state rooms or you'll be at each others throats in no time. Everybody needs their own space.

Chartering is a good idea so you can at least sample the life style, but don't forget chartering is a vacation. Cruising is a life style. That goes for charter boats, too. They are set up to sleep a lot of people for a week's vaca. That's not cruising, where everybody needs their own space and space for their stuff, not to mention space for the boats stuff: tools, spares, cooking stuff, provisions, a spinnaker, storm Sails, etc, none of which you will find on a charter boat.

Buy and read John Kretschmer's book Sailing a Serious Ocean. There is a whole chapter on John's favourite blue water cruising boats, and he knows what he is worrying about.

Given your budget and the size of boat your going to need, your looking at a 30 year old boat. I'd recommend the Gulfstar 50 (three cabin layout), the Stevens or Hylas 47 (virtually the same boat) or the Columbia 57 (if you can find one for sale). Plan to spend considerable time and money refitting a 30 year old boat.

Good luck!
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Old 20-04-2015, 11:24   #14
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Re: Advice Welcome & Wanted

Hi Steve,

Welcome to Cruiser's Forum!

It seems that your family has a lot of sailing experience, so you probably already have a pretty good idea of what you're looking at when you charter or view a boat. Finding a good interior lay-out for your unique crew is going to be one major deciding factor.

If it were me, I'd consider an older multi-hull as it may have a better interior arrangement for giving everybody some space and some room for the little ones to run.

You may want to look at Florida or the Caribbean as possible locations to buy. There are a lot of used boats, and the Caribbean is a pretty good learning ground with lots of destinations and not too many passages.

Keep us posted on how things are going as you plan your adventure.
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Old 20-04-2015, 15:18   #15
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Re: Advice Welcome & Wanted

This could fall apart if the d-i-l is not "on board". Perhaps, since you say she is an experienced shopper, you can interest her in helping select the boat, but within parameters you set.

If your grandkids are going to be home-schooled, the parents really need to be on line about that, too.

In your shoes, I'd start looking at 40 footers which have 3 cabins. That would mean that you and your [probably adult] Godson will be sharing a cabin, so you'll have to work that out, too. Perhaps separate berths within one cabin? IMO, the passages will be easy, with watch standing, but time in anchorages, there's only so much room, and you need both a below-decks and a cockpit that accommodate 6 basically adult size people.

Everything is easier and more affordable, if you stay smaller, but you're going to need some space. Good luck with it, the boat search should be fun.

And now, a cautionary tale: Twelve years ago, we bought this larger boat in hopes that our kids and grandkids would come visit us. Of five families, only 3 have ever visited. What we failed to consider beforehand was the difficulty that young people with children have in taking off for extended periods of time. For them it is a time largely devoted to child rearing and career building.


Ann & Jim, U.S. s/v Insatiable II, SE Qld, for a while
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