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Old 11-08-2011, 23:13   #1
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Location: i am currently in central america
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What Boat to Buy

Im looking at buying a yacht to sail around central america. Im thinking of a fibreglass boat around 36 to 40 ft. Ive sailed on beneteau's and similar but want something a lttle more suited to blue water passages. I enjoy sailing shorthanded ( 2 or 3 handed ) what makes of boats would be worth looking at. Im looking at spending around 100k.
Thanks
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Old 12-08-2011, 12:23   #2
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Re: What Boat to Buy

Our last boat was a Catalina 30 and we now have an Island Packet 40 in the Great Lakes. I have also sailed Jennaeus in the Caribbean several times. We feel that the Island Packet is the best boat we have ever sailed. She does not point to windward as well as the others and can be slow in winds under 10 knotts (but a spinnaker fixes that issue), but in trade wind conditions she is fast and smooth. I have found that I prefer the fuller keel and heavier displacement. And the boat has fantastic storage and is very comfortable in port (which is where you spend most of your time). Hope that helps.

I would suggest joining SSCA - Seven Seas Cruising Association, as they have good resources.

One of the best investments I made in preparation for picking a blue water cruiser and for cruising in general is Beth Leonard's book - The Voyager's Handbook. It really helped me think through all the pertinent decisions associated with buying and outfitting a cruising boat.

You can find many spirited discussions about this if you search the forum!
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Old 15-08-2011, 12:55   #3
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Re: What Boat to Buy

Hello John,

I wish you well on your quest for a new boat and your upcoming sail. There are many boats that will suit you provided you do your homework. There are many areas to consider including the one you mentioned below; the two to three person crew. I have sailed on a number of different boats and each has strengths and weaknesses. One of my favourites is the '91 Sabre 34. It has a think hull which is good when you are trying to get some sleep. It also has a very comfortable cockpit, it sails very well even into the wind, and it is solid.

John makes a very good point about a full keel (I have also heard good things about the Island Packets but have never sailed one). The Sabre had a center board but the hull shape was closer to a full keel as opposed to a fin keel. In a storm this makes a big difference especially when hove to. When looking at a boat, see how easily it is to move about on deck and think about what it will be like in a storm. Will you be able to set an anchor or deploy a parachute sea anchor in heavy weather? Sure, many boats are rigged so you supposedly can do everything from the cockpit but you know what they say about the best laid plans! you should be comfortable (or at least confident) getting in and out of the cockpit and going anywhere on deck in any weather.

I have used a number of boats that have been loaded up with electronics of all types including radar and GPS. These are nice but DO NOT use these as a substitute for plotting on a chart. These should confirm what you have already plotted. Make sure that these are not positioned so that they distract you from sailing. Can you still see forward with any electronics mounted in the cockpit? Does the nav station allow you to plot and work in a practical manner? Do the electronics impede movement around the wheel? Some of the mounts I have see are huge and quite frankly in the way. At night, even with the back lights dimmed some still hurt night vision.

I also recommend you read Bill Schanen's column in June's issue of Sailing magazine. He talks about sailing in some of these new designs with flat bottoms, broad sterns, and light weight. They fly under the right conditions but can be very rough when the wind is from the beam or stern.

John's book suggestion is also money well spent. I would add to this Heavy Weather Sailing by Lin and Larry Pardey and Alder Coles's Heavy Weather Sailing. I prefer the 4th edition although I have both the 4th edition and the 6th edition. There are significant differences but both are good.

John's comment about equipping a boat is very important. Often how you equip a boat is as important as the boat itself. Does the boat have room for all you need including a parachute sea anchor, extra line, warps, spare sails, storm sails, clothes, books, tools, etc? Will you want a bicycle or bicycles to explore the ports you visit? If so, where will you put those? How much electricity will you need? Can you fit a solar panel or panels and/or a wind generator? If not, will you use a genset or use the engine? If so, where will you put the fuel?

I wish you great success in your search and your cruising.
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Old 15-08-2011, 20:58   #4
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Thanks for the post it was very informative im tending towards a full keel as alot of people say they are great in storms. I will as many books as i can as they are great to help you deal with situations that may arise
A sailor never stops learning
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Old 17-08-2011, 11:22   #5
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Re: What Boat to Buy

Hello again,

Something I just thought of was to check the websites of those who are currently cruising. You will notice that they have a great variety of vessels and rarely do they have the same boats. One of my favourites is Yacht Fiona Home Page - Yacht, Fiona, Forsyth, Sailing, Sail, Voyage, YachtFiona, Ocean Cruising however there are many others I also follow.

A very interesting and useful one is The Boat Galley: In-Depth Articles for the Cruising Cook. This one doesn't talk much about boats but does talk about a good galley while cruising. A good galley, along with the right galley equipment, is very important and can make a decent cruise a great one!

A good boat is important but more important is a good, well equipped boat that is right for your needs. The Hans Christian that is right for my friend Joe may be wrong for you and your crew. In my case I bought a '73 Dufour Safari 27 for a very small amount of money. It is a bit on the small side but for me, a single guy, it was perfect since it is great for day sailing and good for some cruising. More important, it let me learn. I also did a lot of sailing on other boats. Between the sailing/cruising on other boats and mine, I learned a lot about what worked well for me. I recommend cruising as part of a crew on other boats if you have the time.

Please keep us informed on this thread of how you are progressing with your search. I wish you well and hope to hear of great success and great cruises.
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Old 17-08-2011, 19:37   #6
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Save some of that money for outfitting

Through 45 years of cruising and writing about it, interviewing folks in detail on their boat purchase costs, outfitting costs and cruising costs we have learned, new or second hand it takes and additional 1/3 of the purchase price to outfit your boat for offshore work. As there are an amazing number of second hand cruising boats in the 35 to 40 foot range available for less than 70 grand, you should have a wide choice.

You might consider looking at overseas ports that are downwind for some well outfitted boats that are bargains. I.e. we know of many folks who sailed to New Zealand or Australia then had to change plans and stop cruising. Their boats are for sale at vastly reduced prices.

One more thought, when shopping, don't be swayed by a long list of electronic gear. Most people find that electronics over five years old must be replaced. Good sails, good engine, good galley equipment all add real value.

Best of luck with your search.

Lin
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