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Old 19-02-2009, 16:29   #1
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Information Overload

I am hoping someone can help me find a way to filter out the noise - so to speak. I have been looking for a boat that we can sail for a weekend or even a week. Maybe spend time on it when I am away as two or three day home. It would have two sleeping areas (one for the kids and one for the Mrs. and I). The Mrs. and I have been small boat sailors for years, but this is a big step up. It seems when I go looking for information - lacking is not the problem - knowing what to listen to is.

We were looking at the Gemini 3400 for a while, then a Hunter, then ... ask anyone and thier boat it either what you want or what you want to avoid (and sometimes its the same boat - different members of the family). With so many choices, it is complicated by opinions of people.

I was hoping by this time, there would be a "Vehix" like site for boats, but it seems to be a different world. Answering a question like "Is a hunter 37 a better choice than an Island Packet 32?" or an O'day 37 Center Cockpit from 1982 is typically a better investment than the 1983 when they starting painting them hot pink.

Is archive diving really the only choice? Should we expect anyone selling a boat to let us take her for a spin? (I cannot say I would feel good handing the keys to my house to someone). I feel by the time I get through all the information, I will be too old to be anything but buried at sea.

And MAYBE that is what this really boils down to. What is the best approach to finding a boat when you are open to all the options and information overload is easy on the internet.

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Old 19-02-2009, 16:41   #2
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All boats are a compromise.
Everyone wants something different.
No one really knows what they want when they buy their first boat.
Get close to a decision, buy the boat and learn what you like and don't like.
The second time you buy will be better.

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Old 19-02-2009, 17:03   #3
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Yeah, it's hard to get any hard and fast information. So much depends on how well the boat was looked after. There are no maintenance records except possibly a maintenance log kept by the owner. Ask to see it. You don't know who did what, when they did it and why. If you find a boat that you like, take some time to just look it over real well before making an offer, then if you decide to go ahead, make the offer contingent on a satisfactory survey which should include a test sail to make sure the sails and deck equipment work. Then after you buy it (if you go ahead) you will have to spend time fixing or replacing all the things you missed, glossed over or just plain ignored. Just make sure that when you do that you don't decide to build a new boat out of the one you just bought. And spend time sailing it and enjoying it. After you get the safety items up to snuff that is...<gr> Have fun.

Oh, engine rebuild means nothing. Completely refurbished means nothing. It is really buyer beware. Don't let the stars get in your eyes.
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Old 19-02-2009, 17:11   #4
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Where would you be keeping the boat?...and what waters do you envision spending time in? Barnegat Bay, Delaware bay? Chesapeake bay?
I think it would be a helpful to know where you'll be sailing to help try to match the boat requirements to the sailing grounds.
For Barnegat, for instance, you'd want a shoal draft vessel 4 foot or less would be optimum, you wouldn't need a " blue water" vessel..etc.
A little more info, could help narrow your search.
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Old 19-02-2009, 17:43   #5
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What is the best approach to finding a boat when you are open to all the options and information overload is easy on the Internet.
Internet information is a spectacular resource but it suffers from one very serious problem - Information overload!

The Internet works best when you already know what you are looking for. Search tools work perfectly fine and you can do searches in seconds. When you don't know what you don't know it seems to fail quickly. How does the search engine know to give you what you need instead of what you asked for.

To get a better sense of where you all fit into the whole idea of a boat takes a different approach. I would say you need to get out on the water for just a bit. It helps for a lot of reasons. It concentrates what you like about it so you feel it and the rest of the does family too.

To sail or to more importantly start sailing it is 100% about showing up. You need a way to do it as much as practical. For Barnegat it's clearly shoal draft. But even that isn't the real issue. It's about a way that works for you. Where you start sailing today leads you to where you might do it later. You grow and change and confidence soars. It's a beginning and not the end. Find a way that works in terms of showing up on a regular basis. It should not be a huge financial commitment (based on what you can afford). It's all supposed to be fun. If it does not start out fun it won't be. Make it as fun as you can.

Things you can do to start. Try out an ASA of US Sail sailing course. It is fun and you learn - a whole heck of a lot! Key point - they supply the boat! Look for sail clubs where you pay a fixed fee and sail a group of boats on a reservation basis. Here the idea is you don't know what boat suits best you so don't buy one until you do. No one really knows what you need. If you were like everyone else you would look like them too. You have to make the money work or it's not all fun. When the fun stops you won't sail ever again. Be the having fun people!

Finding the way that works for you isn't the same as everyone else. We all come to sailing from a lot of directions. The only thing in common is - it all is supposed to be fun! If you show up a lot it's more fun.
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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