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Old 12-02-2012, 19:25   #1
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Help with Finding the Right Family Sailboat

Hi,

I have 0, none, nada, etc....sailing experience other than a small catamaran when I was a teenager. Now at 42 I am looking towards a dream of owning and sailing a part to full time live aboard. We have hopes of sailing the Caribbean. I have been learning as much as I can in the recent weeks, but want some suggestions for narrowing down boat searching. I have a wife and 2 boys (13 and 11). I think this is what we are headed towards.....

2 bed / 2 bath
35' - 42'
10y old or newer
$100k - $125K

Yes, I know that narrows the list down to a million choices. What would you recommend? Are there any boats with this criteria that have bunkbeds for the boys? I've recently looked at a 2000 Hunter 410. Seems to meet most of what we want other than the bunkbeds.

Sincerely,

Lance
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Old 12-02-2012, 20:02   #2
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Re: Help with finding the right family sailboat

Impossible to answer what is the best boat for you, but those Hunter 410s are pretty nice!
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Old 13-02-2012, 06:27   #3
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Re: Help with Finding the Right Family Sailboat

Best advice would be to get some experience chartering various types of boats to see what you need and what works for you. That way you will have some idea of what it is really like to live on a boat (even if just for a week or two) before you plunk down a pile of money for something that LOOKS nice, but doesn't actually fit your lifestyle.
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Old 13-02-2012, 07:00   #4
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Re: Help with Finding the Right Family Sailboat

Ditto on the chartering recommendation. Basically - go sailing. As often as possible and on as many boats as possible. You'll quickly come to realize what you like and don't in a boat. You may find that a cat gives you more room for the boys. You may want a center cockpit monohull with a private aft stateroom. One thing we found when sailing with our kids at that age is how important the "toys" become. We sometimes looked like our own parade heading down the Chesapeake with a dinghy and a force 5 in tow along with other things on deck. But it was worth it - made for great family times and fostered a love for boating in both kids.

Whatever course you decide, it'll be great times!
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Old 13-02-2012, 07:08   #5
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Re: Help with Finding the Right Family Sailboat

I go along with the suggestion to charter or in some other way, get some experience on boats.

I can almost guarantee that no matter what you like know, after some time on boats your opinion will change.

That being said I will offer one suggestion that others may not agree with. If you decide on a monohull then a center cockpit with a separate aft cabin is the best option for giving a separate space for the kids and parents.

There are a couple of other boats that offer a private aft cabin but also an aft cockpit like some of the Hunters, Beneteaus and the Pearson 424 but not quite the separation you get with the center cockpit.
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Old 13-02-2012, 07:12   #6
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Re: Help with finding the right family sailboat

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Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
Impossible to answer what is the best boat for you, but those Hunter 410s are pretty nice!
Says the man with a Hunter 410.

So what is the layout of your Hunter? I chartered a forty something Hunter a few years ago and it had an aft cockpit with two separate aft cabins. Got a bit crowded but we managed to take 6 on a dive trip to the Bahamas quite comfortably.

I think that type of layout would work well for the OP. Each boy could have his own aft cabin and the parents the master stateroom forward.
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Old 13-02-2012, 12:48   #7
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Re: Help with Finding the Right Family Sailboat

spending a large amount of money as well as your valuble time chartering is not the answear .most of the stuff you can charter is probably not what you are looking for anyway. It is unlikely that a charter company is going to let you take a Hunter into some serious weather or any other yacht for that matter. You are at the lower end dollar wise of a serious blue water cruiser and it would be very easy for you to be impressed by the apparent value of a Hunter ... There is a reason these boats are super cheap and its not because they are good .

We are a family of 3 who have sailed halfway around the world .our boat is solid and strong but i do not believe it was the right choice for us having more knowledge i could have done better . P.m me and i will give you my opinion about what i think would suit you in your price range.

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Old 13-02-2012, 12:51   #8
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Why PM? Other posters, like me, would like to hear your input as well.
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Old 13-02-2012, 13:09   #9
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Re: Help with Finding the Right Family Sailboat

I too would like to hear your thoughts TOM. We were at the boat show this weekend and both hubby and I liked the Hunter 33 layout but I have heard that they are not great boats and given all the composite (as opposed to real wood) in the interior and the many "systems" on the new boat, it is not the boat for us I think. Hubby is a bit warmer to it and also like the Catalina. I like simple and real wood but would love to hear the thoughts of other people on the construction/ systems issues with newer boats.
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Old 13-02-2012, 13:17   #10
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Re: Help with Finding the Right Family Sailboat

I would also like to hear your input TOM. We are a family of 4 and while the boat we have is great for a weekend to maybe a week away, I have my doubts it would be ideal for any extended amount of time.

I signed up to this forum in hopes to hear the opinions of other cruisers so that when we did make the 'big leap' I would have some of those opinions in my back pocket!
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Old 13-02-2012, 13:31   #11
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Re: Help with finding the right family sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Says the man with a Hunter 410.

So what is the layout of your Hunter? I chartered a forty something Hunter a few years ago and it had an aft cockpit with two separate aft cabins. Got a bit crowded but we managed to take 6 on a dive trip to the Bahamas quite comfortably.

I think that type of layout would work well for the OP. Each boy could have his own aft cabin and the parents the master stateroom forward.

My 410 is the owners version with a queen aft stateroom and a forward double pullman stateroom with its' own head. But the boat also was available in a 3 berth arrangement with 2 doubles aft instead of the stateroom (an excellent choice in the OPs question).

There probably lots of charter boat type arrangements available in the 40-45' range that have 3 private berths. Doubt that a center cockpit in the size range would have 3 (not that I have anything against a CC). So I would think looking at ex-charter boats is going to turn up a winner!

While charter may be a good thing; I think if you know you are going to get a boat and that you want to sail you should just get a boat! Spending a lot of money chartering I feel becomes more money wasteful that getting your own boat. For what it cost me to sail on my first boat (a 39') for 2 years I could have chartered 5 times or so. I bet I learned a lot more about what I wanted over those 2 years than I would have learned in 5 weeks of day hopping on a charter boat.

PS - far as "composite" wood, there is nothing wrong with that and it is probably stronger. I bet that Catilina wasn't any more "real" wood than any other!

And Tom, do you suggest you are an expert on all models of Hunters to be able to make the standard internet expert claim about them?
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Old 13-02-2012, 15:25   #12
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Re: Help with Finding the Right Family Sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by TOM View Post
spending a large amount of money as well as your valuble time chartering is not the answear[/URL]
Well the OP did say he has zero, nada experience with a cruising boat. Yes it is a lot of money to charter but cheaper than buying a boat that you don't like and it gets the whole family out there to share the experience. Plus you can charter a smaller boat and go off-season for not that much.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TOM View Post
.most of the stuff you can charter is probably not what you are looking for anyway. It is unlikely that a charter company is going to let you take a Hunter into some serious weather or any other yacht for that matter. You are at the lower end dollar wise of a serious blue water cruiser and it would be very easy for you to be impressed by the apparent value of a Hunter ]
The OP didn't mention serious blue water cruising, just Caribbean which, in my opinion, can be easily and safely done in most production boats, including a Hunter. Takes just a modicum of caution and good sense to avoid serious weather in the Caribbean so why buy a boat suitable for serious weather when your plans are island hopping?

Quote:
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it would be very easy for you to be impressed by the apparent value of a Hunter .
Well isn't that the point of a Hunter. They are a good value and a lot of boat for the money. Not the boat I would pick to go around the Horn (although a Hunter 54, Thursday's Child did so and beat Flying Cloud's record NY to SF) but that did not seem to be the OP's plan.
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Old 13-02-2012, 15:46   #13
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Re: Help with Finding the Right Family Sailboat

I am sure the Catalina wasn't any more real wood than the Hunter, I'm thinking more along the lines of Pacific Seacraft construction. I could be wrong but I thought composite was basically sawdust & glue and my concern with using that extensively in a boat is how would it respond to wet over time? I think it has a tendency to warp and stain and blister and such and boat cabins get wet, have condensation issues etc... so not strength as much as durability.
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Old 13-02-2012, 16:54   #14
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Re: Help with Finding the Right Family Sailboat

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Well the OP did say he has zero, nada experience with a cruising boat. Yes it is a lot of money to charter but cheaper than buying a boat that you don't like and it gets the whole family out there to share the experience. Plus you can charter a smaller boat and go off-season for not that much.
.
True

5 years ago I had nada. So:

Took ASA lesson on a 36' boat and got Bareboat certified (will need to do to charter anyway).

Then joined a local club and sailed on 33-34' boat for 3 months

Got my first boat a Cal-39 (could have taken us anywhere)

Sailed it for 2 years and decided we would like something a little better/bigger

Traded it in for our Hunter 410 (which I should have gotten in the first palace because it was the type of boat I felt we wanted but the anti-Hunter thing got in the way).

So chartering is nice I guess (never have done it). But for the money I got to sail a lot more.

The bottom line is just to get out there and sail. Then get the boat that YOU like

And Skip you know I seriously considered those Pearson 422/424s
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Old 13-02-2012, 18:40   #15
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Re: Help with Finding the Right Family Sailboat

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
...
That being said I will offer one suggestion that others may not agree with. If you decide on a monohull then a center cockpit with a separate aft cabin is the best option for giving a separate space for the kids and parents.
...
Just wanted to cast my vote strongly in favor of center cockpit monos for cruising boats (before everyone else jumps you for saying that!)
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