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Old 19-09-2011, 17:23   #1
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Designer and Builder Opinions Needed

Hi all,
Particularly you boad builders who have amassed years of experience and knowledge. I would like your opion to steer me in the right direction while I choose a boat that I'll likely spend the rest of my life on. I hope.
I retire in 5 years (4 years, 7 months, 14 days) and I'm going to buy in the next year, the boat that I'll live aboard.

To give you an idea of what I'm looking for I'll mention the boats that appeal to me functionally and practically while maintaining some sleek lines and not to ripe that I'll spend my savings on pouring money into neglected systems.

My criteria is as follows:
1. Sailboats Only-New and Used
2. Not older than 2001- the logic is that most of the fittings, hardware, seals, engine(s), and structure, including Keel, are in relatively good to excellent shape.
3. Not too worrried about sails or lines. I will purchase new if needed.
4. Space, space, space. The larger the interior space the better. For instance, if I found a boat with 4 berths, I would rebuild it to have 2. The boat is for me and my sqeeze. I'm not looking for a 4 masted schooner, just something practical. Or as practical as can be. Compromises forthcoming.
5. I'll be sailing the Seven Seas, not lingering around the islands. That's not a criticism, btw. I look forward to crossing the Atlantic and visiting Europe, the Netherlands, parts of Africa, the middle east and the far east. Fearing to sound sentimental, I'll sail where the winds blow. I see it as my turn to live life and seeing the world from the sea is my choice.
6. I can't see living on anything smaller than 45', more like 50 would be better.

Next post I'll list a few boats that look appealing.
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Old 19-09-2011, 17:35   #2
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Re: Design and Builder Opinions needed.

Part 2

This is the most important part, cause I would like honest opinions. Don't hold back.

6. I have just enough funds to buy a 55' French, German, or US hull. I've looked at Jeanneau, Beneteau, Catalina, and Bavaria. These 'types' seem to be the most affordable for the size.
7. I've also marveled at Choy Lee, Herrschoff, Alden, etc. But they might not fit my budget needs.
8. Not sure how much time I have to look. Sooner or later the market will swing and I'd like to work this out within the next year or two.
9. I'm trying to think practical but not so practical that I'll limit my choices to a select few that don't appeal to me at all. I'm not nuts about the bulky lines of the heavy cruisers, for instance.

Anyway, enough for now. So how about some ideas?
Thanks
Sailcat
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Old 20-09-2011, 06:44   #3
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Re: Design and Builder Opinions Needed

OK, I guess this subject is covered all over Cruisers. Sorry. I got all the info I needed form some other threads. Looks like I have some learning to do.
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Old 20-09-2011, 06:50   #4
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Re: Design and Builder Opinions Needed

Sound like some contradictions. If there are only going to be two of you then you need a boat that is manageable by a couple, and that usually means 40' or less. Yes, bigger boats can be managed by two people, but it requires more work, more planning, and more "help" in the form of things like electric winches and so on. Really, a boat as big as you're talking about is not a very good starter boat for a couple.

Then you want lots of space, but you want to sail the world. Ask experienced world travelers and almost to a man they will tell you that too much space inside a rolling, pitching boat is a serious liability. You need to be able to move around while holding on securely. You need good sea berths, not lots of space. You need a galley that the cook can work in while braced--able to reach everything from one, solid position--not a big kitchen like a home. Frankly, boats with lots of space inside are much better suited to coastal cruising than they are to sailing the Seven Seas.

Good luck, whatever you decide.

Edit: Looks like you and I were posting at the same time. The most important first step is realizing that you need to study and learn, and can't just get a quick and easy answer from someone else. Good for you, for realizing that so quickly.
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Old 20-09-2011, 06:51   #5
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Re: Design and Builder Opinions Needed

Keep an open mind for a while longer.

What sailing experience do you have and in which boats?
What did you learn from them?
Pros and cons?

You can ask, talk and listen to good advice all day but actually doing it will only give you the gut feeling you need to make this choice. It might not initially tell you what you like but I think its more important to know what you dont like.
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Old 20-09-2011, 08:10   #6
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Re: Design and Builder Opinions Needed

I would suggest both from the point of view of purchasing and from the place you want to be in your own seamanship that you target boat "types" (full keeler, performance cruiser, centerboard cruiser, etc.) in the size ranges you think you'd like and then try to crew on deliveries. You'll see how boat life REALLY is six days offshore in a nice little gale or two, and you'll see that you need enough room to carry a lot of provisions and spares, and enough room to install them. After that, it's pretty much esthetics: Your boat is either a floating chandlery in which a couple of lee-clothed bunks are stuffed, or it's a showroom condo with all evidence of passagemaking behind and beneath locked locker lids. Both approaches have their charm, but both also can be absent of charm, such as when you have people over at dock on the floating chandlery and can barely move in the "cozy" interior, and in the second case, when you are plummeting across the beam of the boat because it's fallen off a wave and there are insufficient handholds in all that gleaming interior to stop you from breaking an arm and a jaw when you hit the leeward cabinetry at speed.

Achieving a balance between those points of view is hard and means tough decisions, because unless you have a million or better for a Swan- or Saga-level cruiser, the boat you are happy to sail in the Atlantic in November is perhaps not the boat you want to enjoy at dock in May.

Only being exposed to opposing schools of thought outside of the boat shows will guide you.
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Old 20-09-2011, 13:25   #7
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Awesome advice! You are all spot on in describing a balanced and practical approach to finding a fit.

I do want a smooth ride and a full keel like an island packet would work. Make it a Ketch and a good balance might result. But the cost. I would need to compromise and your argument on size makes perfect sense. Being tossed about the cabin could be a serious problem.

I was wanting space so I didn't feel crowded. Somewhere to get away. I know that sounds ridiculous but I didn't want a sense of clostrophobia when at anchor.

You are all correct. I need to revisit the size and purpose of a cruiser managed by two people. And often only one. Thank you. I'll spend this evening reviewing narrower beams and more stable handling boats.

A thousand thank you's!
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Old 20-09-2011, 14:08   #8
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Re: Design and Builder Opinions Needed

If you buy a 10 year old boat, most of the systems will either be outdated or just getting ready for replacement. Older boats often have much newer equipment if the owner has upgraded the systems. Also, older boats are way cheaper so you can add state of the art goodies like electronics and sails as the need arises and have way less money in the boat than you would with a newer boat. Once a boat reaches that decade mark, it's the quality of maintenance and replacement of obolescent/worn out gear that determines how much and how often repair/replacements are necessary.

As far as size, it's not just the ability to handle the boat, but the cost of everything that goes along with BIGGER. Haulouts, labor costs, inevitable repairs, slip fees, etc. etc. If you'll barely be able to afford a 50' boat, are you going to be able to afford the cost of upkeep and the inevitable repairs?? Say you get a 50' boat, the anchor is probably going to be 70# with 3/8" chain. How are you going to get that back aboard when the electric anchor windless fails and it wil?? With a 40' boat, you'd only be dealing with 5/16" chain and a 45# anchor.

Unless you will have an endless line of guests, a 35' boat has all the living space you are likely to need. The space on larger boats is largely given over to additional guest rooms which will evolve into storage of more 'stuff.' Since 'stuff' is inevitable, the extra space can be utilized but is it really necessary given the cost and difficulty??
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Old 20-09-2011, 18:35   #9
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Re: Designer and Builder Opinions Needed

Funny you should bring that up. I was thinking the same thing. It stands to reason that the older boats might be well outfitted, better than say the 10 year olds. Since I got my first responses, I've been researching some ketchs and cutters and like what I see. They are affordable. But, will a bank lend on an older boat? For the time I have at work I would like to finance the boat while I can start to pay it down, then when I sell my property I can close out on the load. Just a senario to think about. I'm open to argument.

Yes, when I said I could afford a 50' boat, that was with the intention of keeping a little aside for the "inevitables." I'm not wealthy by any means, but I've been able to save some for the future and by selling my place, I'll have a nest egg of sorts to do as I wish. But I'm conservative, also. Since I'll be looking at older boats my pot just got bigger, allowing me to do more with what I have. I've scaled down to 35-42'. Of the larger, I'm singling out those with narrow beams taking into consideration what DenverDon pointed out concerning being toss around like a beach ball in heavy seas.

You've all pointed out some things I hadn't even considered in my "wild" dreams. I like the direction this is going and very much appreciate your help.
Thanks,
Sailcat
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Old 20-09-2011, 19:08   #10
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What sort of boat builder?

I've built a couple of boats from scratch and am nearing the "end" of the fitout of my steel Roberts Offshore 44.

I'm not sure you want a boatbuilder or a designer. You're not asking about designing or building a boat, you're asking about existing boats that fit your wants and needs. You'd like to maximize your "Bang for the buck".

Reading between the lines you want to discuss your options with the boat owners on this Forum.

From the broad outline of your plans you have three basic purchase options:- 1) A smaller, older "classic" cruising yacht like the Island Packet 420, 2) One of the bigger production boats like the Ocean Star 51.2 and 3) A mid range cat like the Fountaine Pajot Belize 43.

Would any of those boats be what you're after?
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Old 20-09-2011, 19:26   #11
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Yes, as a matter of fact. I lean toward the IP 38-42.
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Old 20-09-2011, 19:30   #12
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By designer builder I'm referring to what I've read recently about a discussion concerning Herrshoff. You may have contributed to that post. Dont know.
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Old 20-09-2011, 19:51   #13
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Re: Designer and Builder Opinions Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailcat View Post
I was wanting space so I didn't feel crowded. Somewhere to get away. I know that sounds ridiculous but I didn't want a sense of clostrophobia when at anchor.
You seem to be straddling two options.

#1. Newness. Space. Value.
#2. Narrow. Heavy/comfy (full keel). Classic (ketch rig, etc.)

Here on the forum, there are plenty of cruisers who are wholehearted #1s, and plenty who are wholehearted #2s. The arguments that each side presents are compelling.

You won't find a boat under 50' that satisfies both camps.
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Old 20-09-2011, 20:54   #14
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Re: Designer and Builder Opinions Needed

Just to make things more difficult by adding to the choices, have you looked through YachtWorld?
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Old 21-09-2011, 03:49   #15
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Re: Designer and Builder Opinions Needed

yes, plus several others.
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