This is my first post to the forum and I am a newbie in sailing, will very much appreciate input on a boat I am contemplating to buy.
First a bit of a background. I always had a passion in sailing. Even though I have lived in three different continents, no place I have lived before allowed me to go into sailing. About 4 months ago, I moved to San Francisco
Bay Area and starting sailing immediately. Funny
that I got my first US sailing certificate (Basic Keelboat) before I got a US driver's license
, one needs to get their priorities right ;-) I took the path of learning
, I recently got my Basic Cruising certificate, my intention is to get all US Sailing certifications up to and including Offshore Passage
Making. I like my sailing school
things in a systematic and structured manner. I am an engineer
by training so, a systematic learning suits my thought process well. I am fascinated by the idea of making an ocean passage
one day. At this stage, this is more a dream but I am trying to get everything right to achieve this one day.
After this rather long introduction
, here is the reason I am writing my first here on this forum: I would like to buy a boat to get me more into sailing and understanding things about boat upkeep, maintenance
, bring closer to the sea etc. Since this will be my first boat ever and I have been into sailing pretty recently, I would like to start with something relatively cheap
. The budget
I have in my mind is plus minus $20k. I can spend $3-4k for some immediately necessary upgrades and about $2-3k a year to make gradual improvements. I could keep my budget
higher but given that I don't even know what to expect, I would like to keep my potential losses at a minimum. At the end of the day, if I stay in $20k range, even if I lose all my investment (I will be unhappy but...) it will not be the end of the world. If I go higher, it's toll on me will be bigger. I am trying to avoid it at this stage.
Here are my overall criteria for a boat:
- My goal is a combination of fun, adaption to sea-life and learning. I hope to be prepare for an eventual live aboard in some (distant?) future.
- With my skill level right now, I am not planning to get out of SF bay
, so no blue water
cruising capability is needed.
- Anything smaller than 30 feels a little too small and anything bigger than 33 makes me feel uneasy especially with crew shortage or eventual single
handing. So I am looking at 30-32 feet boats.
- I am not into racing
. While I don't want an excessively slow boat, I am not particularly into high performance. Solid sailing that can teach me stuff is more important.
- I will want to spend 1-2 nights a week on the boat itself, so space and comfort down-below are also important.
- I prefer wheel steering
over tiller steering
but this is not an absolute must.
- I am an engineer
by training and I am pretty good with technical things in general. But I don't prefer doing things myself when I can pay someone else to do it. I understand this is undesirable to keep the costs down but I am ok to do the research
, analysis, planning etc myself and pay reasonable amounts to someone else to do the actual job. If the amounts become too high, I am ok and capable to do them myself. Since I have no background in sailing and boats, it may be easier for me to initially buy something where there is more information out there (for instance, I will prefer a 'production boat' over a 'custom boat' at this stage, for this reason alone. This assumes I can more easily find information on production boats)
- I haven't single
handed any boat to this date yet, but given my personality I know I will end up sailing alone a lot. So I need to learn doing this and the boat needs to be suitable for a new sailor to learn and continue single handing it.
- I do understand that boats are not for investment and depreciate in value. I am ok for this, obviously I would prefer a boat that would depreciate less relative to other boats over a course of 2-4 years, in which period I will probably look for selling and buying
a new one.
- Last but not least, I would love if I could get a boat that I like aesthetically. I collect art and decorative thin and one of the first things that strike me in a boat is its 'beauty'. To not to be too rigid, I can let this go as it might be too much to ask in my price
With all that said, I have been looking for boats on yacht world and other places that fit this criteria. It is clear that I need to look at 30+ year range to fit to my budget.
I have found several boats that are of particular interest:
- Two Catalina
30s from 1980
- An Ericson 31C
from 1977 which absolutely looks very beautiful but not sure will be too demanding for me to take care of
- Ericson 32
from 1971 that was apparently just sold
Before I get serious with any of them, I obviously want to pay an independent professional to do a survey
. But until I get there, are there any opinions or suggestions given this criteria and the boats I have found so far?
Thanks for the time and very much appreciate your input.