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Old 20-03-2013, 16:31   #1
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Smile First boat choice

Could someone experienced give me some advice. I have just turned 60 and retired. All my life I have been very interested in sailing but had a very demanding business and life so have only done very limited sailing, most of it 30 years ago. Total experience is:
RYA qualifications.
1 week Elementary dayboat course.
1 week intermediate dayboat course.
Then owned a laser which I raced on a lake weekends for a couple of years
Then about 400 hours in 1 week jaunts with the “lads” on booze cruises from England to France via channel islands in charted yachts with a skipper-us crewing. Two weeks Greek flotilla sailing. Passed day skipper practical and theory and coastal skipper theory. Then, 28 years ago I met and married this georgeous woman who I was much more interested in I was in boats !! She was not interested in Boats but fortunately was in me !! I became a vicarious sailor !!

However January 2012 with retirement in sight, I suggested we went to the boat show in London –had not been for 28 years ! Sue could see the passion was still there and suggested we give it a go. So we have been on a couple of weeks sailing as crew/skipper in the solent/south coast and we both loved it. We have recently moved to Gozo in the med so are blessed with great weather and some wonderful places to sail to and cut our teeth on. However, 99% of my sailing experience has been from an armchair, I have over 100 sailing books which over the years I have read from cover to cover, Eric Hiscocks, Adlard coles, Bernard Moitisier, Chay Blithe, Kohn Kretschmer etc etc—so I know the theory pretty well but lack experience and confidence. Fortunately we are in good financial shape and could afford to buy and maintain a substantial new liveaboard yacht. However I think we need to build our confidence on a smaller boat we feel we can handle, have complete confidence in and enjoy as a first boat. Also we need to prove this life is for us. We also would like a boat that we could sell after 1-2 years to buy our dream boat without losing a fortune. Over these first 1-2 years we envisage a lot of day sailing, over night passages and some 4-6 week trips in the med. I think at this stage complete confidence in the structural integrity, safety and pleasant handling of the boat is more important than luxurious and spacious accommodation. We have looked at many secondhand production boats available in Malta (Bavaria, Dufour, Jeaneau etc etc) and are not impressed by their build quality or cruising suitability, we are not interested in racing. A boat we are particularly impressed by is the Contessa 32. We know it is very compromised below in terms of size but it has such a great reputation for seaworthiness, build quality and being a delight to sail. It also pleases us to look at. We could get a good one (new engine, standing rigging, winches etc etc) for about 35,000 GBP and although this may be relatively expensive for a 1980 32 ft boat they hold their price well so we probably would not lose too much when we sell.

Is 32 ft a good size to have as our 1st boat ? What about the Contessa 32? Any advice or info would be very much appreciated. At 60 time is becoming more important than money so we want to get cracking !! When we eventually get a larger cruisng boat we envisage a bluewater medium displacement sloop such as a Bowman, Rustler, kaufman, Hallberg Rassey, nauticat etc.

Thanks, Nick and Sue.
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Old 20-03-2013, 17:21   #2
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Re: First boat choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gozo Nick View Post
We also would like a boat that we could sell after 1-2 years to buy our dream boat without losing a fortune.

We could get a good one (new engine, standing rigging, winches etc etc) for about 35,000 GBP and although this may be relatively expensive for a 1980 32 ft boat they hold their price well so we probably would not lose too much when we sell.
I think these are going to be your problems. Unless you buy a fairly newer used boat you are going to lose money.

A refit boat is only a deal if you are going to keep it till it is time for the next refit. In 2 years it sells against the same boats that haven't refit in 15 years.

When I was in your same position I decided it was better to just take a shot at getting a boat I felt could be the "one". For the most part if/when you have decided you were wrong enough to replace it you will lost the same amount of money as the other "starter" boat. But if you are right .......you saved.
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Old 20-03-2013, 17:28   #3
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Re: First boat choice

32 is a great size for 2 people. I swear I had just as much fun in my 30 footer as my 47 footer, and my back didnt hurt from raising and cranking on sails either!
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Old 20-03-2013, 18:37   #4
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Re: First boat choice

Kinda depends on the size of you. The Contessa 32 is a great little boat, I used to own one. However "little" is the operative word. I'm 6'-1" tall and the V berth was very tight for me and the headroom was limited. If your a smaller person it might be OK. Look before I go any further the boat sails like a witch, it handles beautifully. Its a pretty boat to row away from and it will take almost any weather/sea conditions that you can throw at it. It proven in everything from the Fastnet Race to sailing around Cape Horn against the wind. Its ability to right itself from a large knockdown is unmatched by any boat I'm aware of, something in the order of 156 degrees righting moment.
OK with all that said unless you and your wife are smaller people it might just be too damn tight. If you are around the size of the Pardeys then you just might be happy with the Contessa because its probably similar in size to their 30 footer.
If you don't really plan on crossing oceans then it probably makes more sense to buy a larger 32 footer. If you see lots of offshore sailing in your future and your on the smaller side your not going to find a better choice than that pretty little Contessa 32, its timeless lines are beautiful.
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Old 06-05-2013, 23:52   #5
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Hi Nick,

Good luck with your boat selection exercise. If you have a minute, browse the Voyaging Yachts website. You will find that we are selling a boat that seems to fit many of your criteria and, probably as importantly for you, we want to support your transition to proficient live aboard offshore cruisers.

Regards
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