Cayman - It really depends on your long term plan. My plan is coastal cruising ? weekenders and learning
for the next 5+ years. Then I want to buy the boat to retire on. That boat will cruise
SEA and perhaps Australia
. No Pacific, Indian Ocean
or Atlantic crossings for me. That boat has to be a tropical "pleasure" boat that I can live on. I am sure it is either a 38+ Cat or a 40+ Pilothouse design. I can't imagine not looking out over the water
from my living room.
We bought the "smallest' boat we could that has "bigger" boat systems. Inboard engine
, on-board water
, lights etc. I partnered with a great guy and so the fixed costs are divided by 2 and I have an enthusiastic sailing buddy.
Our boat is 27 feet long. Often we have 8 people on board for day sails
. We have never slept more than 4 on board for a weekend. There is not a huge supply of boats here so we were somewhat limited in choice. In hindsight I would have waited for a 30 footer. The 3 feet makes almost no difference in sailing difficulty but the 3 feet and more importantly extra beam make a lot of difference. Again this is a boat I plan to keep 5+ years and the 3 feet is about the only complaint I have.
We get tempted to look at 32-38 footers but I know unless the boat is a really sweet deal and I don't lose money
swapping out Relax Lah! it doesn't make sense. We'll keep looking because 5 years is a long time and with our handicap and boat speed we are always last to the bar after the club twighlight races and that sucks - LOL.
Here's the best news - We bought the boat for $10k US and have put about another $4k into it. We have sailed 2-3 times a week since March and are having an absolute blast. That's 100 days on the water or about $140 per day. Divided by 2 this arrangement means I am sailing for $70 per day if the boat is a total loss. When we sell the boat our costs will go to practically nothing.
Here's a couple of thoughts that I went through or learned.
1/ Get a boat that has a bit of a following and online groups- catalina
etc. "Unique" boats are nice but harder to sell and way harder to support. On our Maxi
there are very few people in the world I can ask questions of.
2/ Make sure the standing rigging
and engine are in good shape. Either before you buy or put the money in right away. These are the big ticket items. A failure of any of these could overcome the entire value of the boat.
3/ Headsail furler
. The second best thing on our boat. We are underway in 5 minutes. It makes after work sails
a no brainer. We wouldn't go out as much and probably never during the week without the furling
headsail and lazy jack system on the main.
4/ Good prop. This is the best thing on our boat. We replaced the folding prop with a MaxProp feathering prop and it changed the whole experience. Motoring speed went from 3 knots to 5.5 knots and makes crappy days bearable.
The final piece is don't second guess yourself. There is no perfect boat. That's why there are so many different designs. Get one that fits your "realistic" usage over the next 3-5 years and then pull the trigger and have fun.