A New Blog Best Offshore Cruising Sailboats < $40K
In the Summer of 2013 I decided to make a dream reality and buy a sailboat; and not just any sailboat. No, my boat had to be, at least theoretically, capable of a circumnavigation
. This requirement combined with a limited budget
led me to focus initially on traditional "bluewater" cruisers. Over the late Summer and well into the Fall I spent countless hours online as well as many days traveling to and physically viewing almost every "well maintained" "blue water" sailboat between 36' and 55' available for sale
on the US East Coast
. I crawled over, under and inside of Island Packets, Cheoy Lees, Tayanas, Passports, Hinckleys, Gozzards, Cape Dorys, Calibers, Pacific Seacraft
, Endevours, and many others. I started my search at newer boats with prices nearing the top of my allotted budget
hoping to find a larger boat (45' - 52') that was fully equipped and requiring very little in the way of refit
or upgrade. I quickly discovered such a vessel is very much a rarity and when found the price
is almost always far outside the realm of the possible. So I adjusted the search and began to look at slightly smaller and older boats (36' - 42') and found there were many more interesting candidates in this range but again, almost all required significant refit
or upgrades. I quickly came to the conclusion that a sail away "Bristol" condition vessel was not in the cards. If I ultimately wanted a great boat that wouldn't bust the budget then I needed to focus on fundamentally structural and mechanical integrity (Hull, Decks, Engine
, Standing Rigging) and accept that whichever boat I purchased it would need good bit of TLC. Bad cosmetics played in my favor. If the brightwork needed to be refinished that was great! If new cushions
and upholstery were in order, even better. If the electronics
systems still used vacuum tubes, perfect!
During my search I accumulated a wealth of information regarding the available supply of these types of boats and how to recognize a truly good deal on the rare occasions one surfaces. In the end I was successful far beyond my own expectations; buying
a 1980 Cabo Rico
38 that had been very well maintained and significantly refit by the previous owner. In my case, I scored a great price
as well due to the particular nature of the transaction and some negotiating tactics that I will touch upon in a future post.
Although my available boat purchasing
capital is now depleted I find myself addicted to searching for great boats at great prices and thought perhaps it would be interesting to offer my insights to others who may be in the market. In this way I can vicariously enjoy some of the excitement when they "score" a truly great boat at a great price.
As my interest and knowledge is narrowly restricted to what I refer to as "blue water" or "offshore" cruisers I will limit my efforts here to similar vessels. For the purpose of this blog the recognized attributes of an offshore/blue water
sailboat shall be:
Medium to Heavy Displacement
Reported Sea Kindly Motion
Relatively Narrow Beam
Ease of Handling
Undoubtedly, there are many other metrics I could use and readers will no doubt let me know about my oversights and omissions. That said, its my blog so I get to set the criteria. Ultimately, the purpose of this effort is not to debate the specific capabilities of one boat or another but rather to make readers aware of possibly great boats at potentially great prices.
One other comment - Limiting the negotiated sale
price to $40K or below will undoubtedly limit the length of most boats presented here to below 40' but I want to keep the blog focused on what appears to be one of the largest segments of the buyer community; those with about $60K - $75K in their boat budget. If they are like me, most of these buyers are assuming that if the boat can be acquired for $40K or less then the remaining $20K - $35K can be used for closing costs and upgrades. Larger boats selling for less than $40K will almost certainly have refit requirements which would drive the overall budget far above the stated total of $75K.