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Old 29-08-2012, 20:06   #1
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Which is Best?

Hello,all, hope you can help me decide. Things have finally worked out and have made it possible for us to chase our dream and purchase a sail boat. We plan on a "live aboard" life and keep ourselves anchored to the carribean and GIWW from the keys to S. Tx., perhaps farther south as experience expands. We live in extreme northern Mn. and have both been exposed to the sailing way of life, and we want it! Our most serious question; what boat is best? I know, what are you planning to do? What do you want out of a boat, etc? We have been thinking of a 35-40 ft cat because of the room and creature comforts, but would a keel boat be better? Neither of us are true salt water sailors, but do have the basics. I know, the basics will get you and others hurt, or worse. That said, wouldn't a cat be the obvious choice? We have been on charters on both style of boats, and both have their good and bad points. Just hoping someone here could give me(us) a better idea as to what we want,where we are going to be, in their opinion. I really would like to have other in-put. Always been a firm believer in; If you don't know, ask. I'm asking. New to here today, so for my first time, please be gentle.
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Old 29-08-2012, 20:54   #2
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Re: Which is Best?

Probably the most common question from new cruisers, certainly one of the most frequently asked on the forum and a very important question to the askers. After all, you could be spending thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands on a boat and what if you buy the "wrong" one.

Unfortunately there is no answer, at least no simple answer. What is best for me could be the worst thing in the world for you. Almost like asking someone else to tell you who you should marry. Also what you think is best now may change down the road based on experience, changing tastes, changing age, lifestyle or just your opinion.

And think about it. If there was one best boat then everyone would have that boat and that's all you would see in the marinas.

You have to decide what you like, what suits your needs, skills preferences. What is important to you.

I see people buy certain models or styles just because they like the look or mystique of that particular boat. Nothing to do with practicality or suitability. Often a choice is dictated by budget. You buy what you can afford.

If you want my opinion you can see in my profile what I have. Even with a much larger budget I would have purchased something similar, just a little newer and nicer. The reasons I picked this boat.

Cutter Rig. Several sail options for different conditions but simpler rig that a ketch. Also a cutter is usually better upwind than a ketch.

Modified fin keel. In my opinion the best compromise between performance, draft, maneuverability and stability.

Center cockpit/aft cabin. The only way I see in all but a very few boats under 50' or so to have a private cabin separated from the living quarters. Also like the visibility and easier access fore and aft of the cockpit.

If I had unlimited budget I might go for a 50-60' cat. To me most smaller cats just look too boxy but that's just my personal prejudice. Which illustrates one other point about boat choices, buy the boat you like, within reason and the dictates of common sense and suitability for your plans.
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Old 30-08-2012, 04:54   #3
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Re: Which is Best?

well the best boat is one that floats, after that only you are going to be able to answer the question

I think the best boat depends on what you doing with it at that moment, as the boat I would like while anchored isn't the same boat I would like during passage sometimes
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Old 30-08-2012, 05:23   #4
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Re: Which is Best?

Welcome aboard! You'll find a lot of insight in the forum, but ultimately buying a boat is a very personal decision. My advice: Pick a boat that works for the cruising you plan to do now...you can always trade later. Larger boats = more space but more expense, usually more draft, higher mast and generally harder to sail, and usually more parts of systems to go wrong. If you're not that experienced, simple is a great way to go. Good luck and happy sailing!
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Old 30-08-2012, 06:17   #5
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Re: Which is Best?

There is no 'best boat' only the best boat on the market when you are ready to buy, which fits your family and your pocketbook.

Go look at lots and lots and lots of boats. You'll get an idea of what features you must have, what you can live without and what is available in your rpcei range. Go sail on OPBs. Have fun and take your time. Finding the best boat for you takes time and it can be frustrating at times but can also be a lot of fun. Good luck!
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Old 31-08-2012, 19:04   #6
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Re: Which is Best?

Ok, sorry about that. I know, which ever suits your needs is best. I guess I was hoping to hear the bad stuff from both sides of the issue. I have been exposed to both vessels some, just wanted to hear from others what they thought were the up and down sides they have encountered. Just trying to weigh all the pro's and con's. Just FYI, I do believe we will be looking at a USED Gemini 105 or possible to a larger lagoon. Just wondering if anyone has had problems I wouldn't be aware of. Thanks again, Bob
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Old 31-08-2012, 19:56   #7
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Re: Which is Best?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Probably the most common question from new cruisers, certainly one of the most frequently asked on the forum and a very important question to the askers. After all, you could be spending thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands on a boat and what if you buy the "wrong" one.

Unfortunately there is no answer, at least no simple answer. What is best for me could be the worst thing in the world for you. Almost like asking someone else to tell you who you should marry. Also what you think is best now may change down the road based on experience, changing tastes, changing age, lifestyle or just your opinion.

And think about it. If there was one best boat then everyone would have that boat and that's all you would see in the marinas.

You have to decide what you like, what suits your needs, skills preferences. What is important to you.

I see people buy certain models or styles just because they like the look or mystique of that particular boat. Nothing to do with practicality or suitability. Often a choice is dictated by budget. You buy what you can afford.

If you want my opinion you can see in my profile what I have. Even with a much larger budget I would have purchased something similar, just a little newer and nicer. The reasons I picked this boat.

Cutter Rig. Several sail options for different conditions but simpler rig that a ketch. Also a cutter is usually better upwind than a ketch.

Modified fin keel. In my opinion the best compromise between performance, draft, maneuverability and stability.

Center cockpit/aft cabin. The only way I see in all but a very few boats under 50' or so to have a private cabin separated from the living quarters. Also like the visibility and easier access fore and aft of the cockpit.

If I had unlimited budget I might go for a 50-60' cat. To me most smaller cats just look too boxy but that's just my personal prejudice. Which illustrates one other point about boat choices, buy the boat you like, within reason and the dictates of common sense and suitability for your plans.

He's right. Everything on a sailboat is a compromise from bow to stern and from top of mast to tip of keel. The smaller the boat is, the bigger the compromises will be. For instance, I have a fairly spacious cabin. The cost is the TEENY galley (I've made the nav table my work table) and the TEENY TINY head. WOW is it small. It has a shower head, but my elbows would be bruised trying to maneuver in there. At least it has a door that can be shut. I know a man with a Catalina 30 whose bathroom is so small a man can't stand and shut the door. Nothing like waking up in the middle of the night to see some near stranger's naked butt in the head doorway ...
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Old 31-08-2012, 20:05   #8
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Re: Which is Best?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
--- Nothing like waking up in the middle of the night to see some near stranger's naked butt in the head doorway ...
Raku -
I enjoy your posts but this is one of my favorites - a "near" stranger?
Apparently memorable anyway.
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Old 31-08-2012, 20:38   #9
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Re: Which is Best?

Charter some boats of various styles and layouts to determine what YOU like.
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Old 31-08-2012, 20:43   #10
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Re: Which is Best?

There would be many boats out there to 'fit the bill' ... what I have discovered talking to a number of couples who embarked on this venture and never made it, is that it all starts out very exciting and can eventually become a nightmare because of a lack of planning ahead of departure.

First and foremost is money and sustainability. Choose a boat that 'fits your pocket comfortably' ... make sure you have enough left over to maintain the boat and retire comfortably ... always assume there will be gadgets you need to add to the boat as you live on it and have enough money to do the fitment!

It's a different ball game if you are on your own, but if you have a partner it is important to transfer the little things that make them happy on land, as far as possible into the boat ... make sure the boat is equipped to make life 'comfortable', especially for your partner (trust me, this will be your comfort too in future).

Age ... very importantly one should decide on a boat that fits with your life as you get older. We had a number of elderly cruisers we befriended in Grenada who wished they had easy access into and out of the dingy for example, a better mechanism to raise and lower the dingy ... space to relax ... a comfortable bed situated at a reasonable height off the floor etc. etc.

I watched in total amazement whilst docked at Cape Town as an elderly couple had arrived on a catamaran with the steepest steps on a stern I have ever seen. Not only were they steep but each step was high. Ana and I agonized as we watched them take 'forever' trying to disembark. I felt so terribly sorry for them that I made sure to be there when they got back from town to assist them off the dock and back onto their boat. They were a French couple sailing the 'many seas' ... I honestly don't know how they do it!

I'm not suggesting you are old and rickety, but I am suggesting you think all aspects of your life through on board.

One very simple reason why we purchased our boat .... wait for it .... here comes all the technical intricate engineering details of performance .... light ... yip, sun light. Ana hates dark places and wants light streaming in through windows and this is HUGELY improtant to her ... of course safety, sail ability and comfort were as well!

We wrote down advantages and disadvantages in every boat we looked at ... nothing personal toward other boat brands ... these were our OWN personal needs for a 'happy, healthy, safe and comfortable environment' on board!

Here we are ... we had specifically chosen to be without any air conditioning since Ana detests the things and we feel they are not healthy for one ... changed our minds due to the humidity factor and have just placed an order for the best air conditioning set-up we could imagine for our boat (including the ability to maintain air overnight with out the noise and diesel of a generator ... poor Kent at Just Catamarans in Fort Lauderdale was tasked to come up with a system for us that is 'ULTRA QUIET' since we like peaceful evenings)... another unforeseen cost, but fortunately we had budgeted for these events which has made life at sea a very pleasant experience for us!

You both will have the answers to the question you seek ... a boat that best fits your SPECIFIC needs once you have noted the critical things that you need to make for a healthy and happy partnership as you embark to live at sea!
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Old 31-08-2012, 21:22   #11
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Re: Which is Best?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
Nothing like waking up in the middle of the night to see some near stranger's naked butt in the head doorway ...
I will be suffering with that mental image for a while.
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Old 31-08-2012, 21:41   #12
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Re: Which is Best?

Quote:
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I will be suffering with that mental image for a while.
Me three!!!
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