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Old 15-05-2013, 18:01   #1
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Best boat for a family

I'm sure there have been threads on this before, but my searching ability hasn't been up to par lately I guess.

The short story. Small family. husband and wife in our 20's with a 14 month old, a black lab and a cat. Wife and I have never sailed (been on power boats out whole lives. I started piloting when I was 3 ). Sold everything we own. Moving to USVI in August. Need to liveaboard for a couple years (with increments of cruising the carribean/SA/CA during off times). Then circumnavigate at least once or twice before the kid turns 18.

Our only monetary concern is initial price of the vessel. Under $150k (and much under is better).

Pluses would be size, ease of sailing, ease of getting on and off (baby and etc), dependability, and blue water capability.

Keeping all cruising costs down is a double plus.

So what would YOU say the best boat is??
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Old 15-05-2013, 18:18   #2
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Re: Best boat for a family

There is no best boat. There are many families doing what you want to do and basically every one is on a different kind of boat. Look at the kinds of boats you see raising where you live and look at the lists of participants in rallies like the ARC, Caribbean 1500, and Sail Indonesia and then cross-reference the boats on Yactworld where you can see pictures and prices.

People will suggest boats to consider so I will start the process with the Hood 38 which is a rugged boat suitable extended cruising. BTW, you may find having a dog and cat problematic. Many countries have difficult, and often costly regulations for animals. In some cases you cannot import an animal at all.
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Old 15-05-2013, 18:52   #3
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BTW, you may find having a dog and cat problematic. Many countries have difficult, and often costly regulations for animals. In some cases you cannot import an animal at all.
Yea, we've researched heavily on cruising with the pets. So far I've seen the South Pacific being the "worst" place for the dog at least. The cat will have been gone awhile by the time we start a circumnavigation (or we'll keep her on board). We have no problem skipping the harshest places like Oz if need be. We've also seen "ways around" their quarantine.
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Old 15-05-2013, 18:54   #4
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People will suggest boats to consider so I will start the process with the Hood 38 which is a rugged boat suitable extended cruising.
This is basically what I'm looking for. Since our experience with sailboats is limited, getting pointed into directions would be appreciated!

I'll be looking into the Hood 38 tonight. Thanks!
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Old 15-05-2013, 19:02   #5
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Re: Best boat for a family

If you find a list of boats you think you want to buy, then rate them all and buy the one in best condition even it it costs more. You buy a boat and find out the things wrong with it and that can take a year (maybe less if you live on it). Then you pay again. The boat in better condition is the best choice. Don't get hung up on brand names as an old boat run hard is crap no matter what it used to be.

I would get at least 5 boats on a list of boats you have been on and looked at and liked with your wife. The admiral knows an ugly boat when she sees one! Boats you have not seen in person are meaningless. Boat ads show what they want you to see. being there is something that counts a lot.

Walking around and looking at boat together is a meaningful experience. You will learn a LOT! Practice looking at boats. It is something fun to do and it is cheap to look!
If you look at 20 boats inside and out you will be amazed how much better you get at looking!
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Old 15-05-2013, 19:04   #6
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Re: Best boat for a family

As you look at boats in your price range, try to imagine your family at adult size, especially if you're planning to have another child. At some point it will benefit all of you if each of you has a small space that is your "own". Husband and wife often share their space, but sometimes the kids need space, for homework, rest, or time outs, and after a certain age, it is best for opposite gender siblings to not have to share the bunk. So you'll need 3 separate spaces if there are going to be 2 children later on.

If you look at boats with pilot berths, consider whether that volume could be permanent "kid space". Some people convert pilot berths to pile-it berth storage, or do built-ins. Storage space is always at a premium.

Someone else mentioned difficulties traveling with pets. Yes, both cats and dogs are basically unwelcome in countries that have no rabies, and also, the State of Hawaii. The quarantine would be at your expense and can last up to 6 MONTHS. I know of one case where one of the cats of some friends of ours has never recovered, is now a "scaredy cat", hides whenever strangers are around, doesn't even want to go above-decks, and it's years after.

So that you know my bias, I think having pets aboard for blue water cruising adds a potential level of torture I couldn't live with. Imagine it's an uncomfortable, rainy, blowing over 45 knots wind kind of day or night and the pet goes overboard. Would you endanger the vessel or human crew to save the pet? A choice I'd have a hard time with, 'cause I love my pets. Not everyone thinks you could be put in this position, but I met a woman who still had nightmares about the dog they'd lost overboard at night [it hadn't even been blowy, the dog just slipped off], they tried and tried to find it, but didn't. It brings up a question I don't know how to answer: how do you best show the animal friend you love him or her? by keeping them with you? by finding a home for him or her? Something to consider, anyhow, not a decision someone else can make for you.

I hope this helps.

Ann
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Old 15-05-2013, 19:16   #7
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Re: Best boat for a family

No best boat for any particular person... but with a child that age, it seems a center cockpit would be nice.... makes a great enclosed space.
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Old 15-05-2013, 19:23   #8
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Re: Best boat for a family

Quote:
No best boat for any particular person... but with a child that age, it seems a center cockpit would be nice.... makes a great enclosed space.
Small boats with center cockpits suck! I would not say that a boat with these criteria presented has to be anything. At $150K you can't get that much after you fix it up and don't add a lot more cash.

It takes awhile to find the better boat for you. It might take two boats (it did for us) or you may find it in one! The more boat walking you do the more comfortable you may become with a choice. Small children grow if you raise them correctly! They adapt better than adults do.
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Old 15-05-2013, 19:52   #9
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Re: Best boat for a family

I believe you are asking the wrong questions and since you admittedly have zero sailing experience, you really don't know how to ask the right questions. There is no one best boat HOWEVER....for $150k you have many, many options. BUT would it not make more sense to take sailing lessons and then maybe to charter???? Consider what you wrote:
"Pluses would be size, ease of sailing, ease of getting on and off (baby and etc), dependability, and blue water capability.

Keeping all cruising costs down is a double plus."

What about draft? Rig? Age? Hull design? Center or aft cockpit?

What does that mean, pluses would be size? What size do you want? 28? 35? 42? How can size be a plus if you don't specify anything about size? Ease of sailing? What does that mean? Roller furling? Ease? Ease of getting on and off? Well it're pretty darn much about the same getting on and off any boat--more or less and broadly speaking. Dependability? What-that it won't sink? That means many things and different thing to different people. Now when you say bluewater capability--that means something BUT again, you are asking the wrong question because blue water capability is as much dependent upon the crew as it is upon the boat and right now--even if you got a Westsail 42 or Swan 47 or a whatever, your absolute lack of sailing experience would negate any such differences. My advice is to pay to learn from the experience of a really good sailing coach and try out different boats. That would be a real investment....You need a professional to show you the ropes--for everyone's peace of mind and safety.
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Old 15-05-2013, 20:06   #10
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Originally Posted by Paul Annapolis View Post
I believe you are asking the wrong questions and since you admittedly have zero sailing experience, you really don't know how to ask the right questions. There is no one best boat HOWEVER....for $150k you have many, many options. BUT would it not make more sense to take sailing lessons and then maybe to charter???? Consider what you wrote:
"Pluses would be size, ease of sailing, ease of getting on and off (baby and etc), dependability, and blue water capability.

Keeping all cruising costs down is a double plus."

What about draft? Rig? Age? Hull design? Center or aft cockpit?

What does that mean, pluses would be size? What size do you want? 28? 35? 42? How can size be a plus if you don't specify anything about size? Ease of sailing? What does that mean? Roller furling? Ease? Ease of getting on and off? Well it're pretty darn much about the same getting on and off any boat--more or less and broadly speaking. Dependability? What-that it won't sink? That means many things and different thing to different people. Now when you say bluewater capability--that means something BUT again, you are asking the wrong question because blue water capability is as much dependent upon the crew as it is upon the boat and right now--even if you got a Westsail 42 or Swan 47 or a whatever, your absolute lack of sailing experience would negate any such differences. My advice is to pay to learn from the experience of a really good sailing coach and try out different boats. That would be a real investment....You need a professional to show you the ropes--for everyone's peace of mind and safety.
Well you're just a lovely person, aren't you? Pretty arrogant to assume that we're just going to buy a boat and start sailing tomorrow after watching a DVD on sailing that night. I spent too many years in the Army to have patience with self-rigeous crusty folks, so excuse my response. Thanks for the bang up help Jack!
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Old 15-05-2013, 20:15   #11
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If you find a list of boats you think you want to buy, then rate them all and buy the one in best condition even it it costs more. You buy a boat and find out the things wrong with it and that can take a year (maybe less if you live on it). Then you pay again. The boat in better condition is the best choice. Don't get hung up on brand names as an old boat run hard is crap no matter what it used to be.

I would get at least 5 boats on a list of boats you have been on and looked at and liked with your wife. The admiral knows an ugly boat when she sees one! Boats you have not seen in person are meaningless. Boat ads show what they want you to see. being there is something that counts a lot.

Walking around and looking at boat together is a meaningful experience. You will learn a LOT! Practice looking at boats. It is something fun to do and it is cheap to look!
If you look at 20 boats inside and out you will be amazed how much better you get at looking!
This is really great advice! Thanks for the input. Being in the VIs for so long will give us plenty of time to brows a plethora of boats at really great prices.
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Old 15-05-2013, 20:17   #12
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Re: Best boat for a family

Please. I don't know if I'm a lovely person or not but I was trying to talk some sense and be helpful based on a lot of years of sailing experience. There was nothing arrogant intended in my reply and I did not make any assumptions--I only went by what you provided. But I am serious in that you are asking the wrong questions. Your goal at this point is not about the boat because you apparently do not know enough to really understand your needs, and your desires--as you admitted pretty much, but with $150k to spend, you have a lot of choices. There are plenty of good solid world cruisers for well under $150k or even under $100k but do you really know what will suit your needs or what eqpt you'll really need?. You say I should excuse your response but I don't know--it was obviously intended in a pretty hard manner, especially the "Thanks for the bang up help Jack!" Come on MB Little, I don;t know what your Army experience had to do with anything but certainly you are aware that equipment amounts to little when training is what really counts-right? If you and other novices want real advice and solid ideas from we experienced sailor, some of whom are "crusty folks" as you said, then be prepared to listen to some straight talk and not attack us personally or we might stop replying. Surely your years in the army prepared you for straight talk-yes? So I will excuse your response but please, try to understand how I am trying to be helpful.
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Old 15-05-2013, 21:05   #13
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Re: Best boat for a family

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
If you find a list of boats you think you want to buy, then rate them all and buy the one in best condition even it it costs more. You buy a boat and find out the things wrong with it and that can take a year (maybe less if you live on it). Then you pay again. The boat in better condition is the best choice. Don't get hung up on brand names as an old boat run hard is crap no matter what it used to be.

I would get at least 5 boats on a list of boats you have been on and looked at and liked with your wife. The admiral knows an ugly boat when she sees one! Boats you have not seen in person are meaningless. Boat ads show what they want you to see. being there is something that counts a lot.

Walking around and looking at boat together is a meaningful experience. You will learn a LOT! Practice looking at boats. It is something fun to do and it is cheap to look!
If you look at 20 boats inside and out you will be amazed how much better you get at looking!
Have to agree here. Make a list of boats, look at lots, and pick the best boat. If you have a list of priorities it will help, but I think what other poster partly means is that you don't have enough experience to effectively shop for a sailboat. That hasn't stopped thousands of people from buying boats, and re-selling them when they start to learn what features are important to *them*. Perhaps it is even unreasonable to think that any new sailor could buy a boat, and not need to move to a different boat within 5-10 years.

Anyway the more you learn, the more you experience, the more boats you look at and imagine living in with your family, the better choice you'll make.. Duh, don't mean to state the obvious here. And as Ann said, imagine your child as a pre-teen needing a place to plug in their ipod or have their own space with a lamp to read Harry Potter or Hunger Games. Adult children and extra children, well, maybe you can move up sometime if your family grows. I also believe in getting a boat that you can comfortably singlehand, and where maintenance isn't too much of a bear.

If you upsize too much for next three kids, you'll spend more time on maintenance than on a smaller boat of similar type that accommodates you family for the next 5-10 years. Look at something like a Catalina 320 or 350 and see if that suits you. I've never had one, but I have sailed one, and it is a good boat with good space below with good resale for when you either want out, or up. If you happen to really like the life, you may want a 40 footer sooner than later and you'll want a boat that sells reasonably well. Keep that in mind if you buy something with a lot of teak, depending on how you plan to maintain.

My family likes things like good shade, good working head, galley and storage, and they hate dealing with hatch boards. If you are serious about long range voyaging, that's a whole different set of criteria and catalina or the like *may* not be the right boat. I think they have a lot going for them in terms of space below, swim platforms, creature comforts for a family, and move well in light air. Get Beth and Evans book The Voyagers Handbook and read it. Lots of good advice there for someone in your position, lots of other good books too. I devoured books when I was at your stage, and over time learned how little it contributed to my overall seamanship. Have to start somewhere though; there is a lot to know about boat designs and their compromises before you drop 150 grand on one...
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Old 15-05-2013, 21:34   #14
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Re: Best boat for a family

I could sail on a monohull or a multihull on a circumnavigation. My wife would only go sailing happily on a catamaran.

It is important for you to try out different yachts to see how they fit the requirements of your family. Some of them heel over a great deal, some have lots of initial stability, some have a snappy unpredictable stiff motion, other have a smoother predictable motion.

Every boat behaves and feels different in a seaway, and you need to find out the type of motion that best suits your family. If the boat motion matches who you are as a family and is comfortable the way you like to sail, then it will be a much more enjoyable experience.

I care more about the motion of a yacht in a seaway than the arrangement of the accommodations, because I want to spend a lot of time sailing offshore.
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Old 16-05-2013, 15:07   #15
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I care more about the motion of a yacht in a seaway than the arrangement of the accommodations, because I want to spend a lot of time sailing offshore.
Sound advice!

And if I may, I'm kind of a fan I have been reading your blogs for years now. Y'all are on the short list of people that made us sit down and realize that we should do it. If we should ever run into you, the first few rounds are on us

Fair winds!
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