Agreed - don't buy a thing until you sail at least a half dozen models. Here we're a handful of lessons/mistakes/steps that truly helped Erika (my wife) and I down the boat ownership
Lesson/Mistake #1: Wife and I bought a '73 33ft Islander Sloop
(6+ yrs ago) and got stuck with a huge lemon, BUT we learned from the experience and sold a few years later at a minimal gain.
Lesson #2: Then took the tiny proceeds we had from the sale
(~$1500 bux) and enrolled the wife and I in Steve and Doris Colgates Fast Track to sailing - a week long intensive liveaboard
chartering course - they run end if year deals when the economy was bad
. Again, learned a ton.
Lesson #3: Started to go chartering locally to Catalina
, and regionally in BVI's - tried Moorings, Sunsail etc and learned what we 'did and didn't' like with new production quality boats. Talked to weekend sailors and serious die hards while on the water
- had fun and learned to enjoy sailing as a couple.
Lesson #4: Went on the Alaska
Eagle 2x once from Hawaii
and most recently from Antigua
thru Panama Canal
", and got some serious offshore
'chops'. I now am a capable offshore
sailor vs coastal only experience.
Lesson #5: Attended the Strictly Sail Boat show
in Oakland last year, as well as the awesome John and Amanda Neil-Swan liveaboard
cruising seminar and focused a entire afternoon on boat selection and liveaboard criteria. John will actually help you and your partner personally!
Honestly - ONLY after all this, did WE Know what to look for in a serious offshore cruising boat and what we wanted size wise (42-50 footer). Before all the years of experience >> I was simply guessing.
We're now the proud owners of a 1982 46' Amel Maramu and couldn't be happier - YES it's always a compromise, but once you look at the purchase
as a vessel to cross oceans vs a floating condo; the Ikea McWater-condo mentality starts to quickly fade
trust me - I subscribed to Cruising World since Bernadette was a editor.
Make the plunge intelligently - you will be rewarded if patient!