Let me try to be a little more constructive here. First, I prefer not to talk in terms of strereotypes but as a general rule
may not be the best venue for your seach. The conditions down there really can age a boat. While you will sometimes see boats that seem very inexpensive down there, they are often not as good a deal as boats that have lived with the shorter sailing season, longer maintenance
season of the North east and mid Atlantic States. Obviously this is not always the case, but again as a broad generality, the boats that I have looked at in Florida
often were more expensive to bring back than boats seen further north.
As to brokers, it is harder to find a good broker when you are dealing with less expensive boats. It takes as much effort on the part of the broker to sell a $30,000 boat as a $90,000 boat, but their commission is three times greater. There are brokers sho specialize in older and less expensive boats and you would be best served by working with one of them. If you were in Annapolis
, I could make a recommendation but I don't know one in Florida. My best advice on the 'Broker thing', in these days of the internet
, is to find a single
broker who is interested in you and the type of boat that you are buying
and stick with just that broker rather than getting a lot of brokers in different regions involved.
If you are visiting a region to look at boats, it is very helpful to identify a broker upfront and send a list of boat models that you think suits your needs well in advance of your visit. While these boats may not be available in that area, it should afford the broker the maximum opportunity to put together a list of likely candidates which may include similar but different models than were on your hit list.
If I had to put together a 'hit list'' for someone doing what you are proposing, and with your budget
, it would include the following boats: (Also, if you have a purchase
price limit of $30K, do not be afraid to look at boats with asking prices up to $35-36K as you should be able to buy them in your price range):
These J.G. Alden and company designs have a very strong following and offer a lot of boat for the money
Not the best choice on this list but close. Nice designs well constructed. Good ventilation, Keel/centerboard.
Great all around boats. You some times see nice condition versions well within your price range.
Same comments as the Cal 40.
Not as robust as the other two Cal choices but good sailing boats that can be found in nice shape.
Chris Craft Apache 37:
Good boats but you would want to find a pretty well maintained model. Pay especially close attention to the rudder
34 mark 1 (mid 1960's)
While the build quality is not as good as some of the other choices on this list, these are still very good boats that can often be bought in the mid-teens. I would suggest a keel centerboard
version, but one word of caution, the rudder is quite vulnerable on this design. (same problem with the Islander by the way)
These are a more modern design NZ built cruiser. They are an earlier and slightly smaller version of my own boat which to a great extent I bought to do what you plan to do. They are a very highly regarded in NZ as distance cruisers and should be easy boats to handle. They would be number one on my list if I were doing what you are doing but perhaps are a little sporty.
38 (late 1960-early 1970's model):
Really great sailing well constucted S&S designed boats. Near the top of this list. There were two interior
layouts and I would try to find one with the aft galley
34 (mid 1960's era keel/centerboard version)
These boats were built for the kind of island hopping that you want to do. I would try to find one of the rarer aft galley
These are good all around boats. Apparently there were some variations in build quality over the production run but the better ones would be ideal for your purposes.
This is a bit of a long shot, these were old race
boats. They came with first rate hardware
and quite a few of them have gone through extensive refits to become good cruising boats. I looked at one here in Annapolis
that had a beautiful custom interior
and a major rigging overhaul
that sold for somewhere around $25K. In stock form they make no sense at all.
The early versions of these boats sell in your price range. These are well constructed boat with a very nice layout. They are one of the better sailing boats on this list. These are a near perfect boat for your needs.
These would certainly be near the top of this list. They offer a really nice blend of good build quality, and nice sailing ability in a well thought through design.
I would forward a list like this to a potential broker and see what he can find.