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Old 26-02-2013, 08:34   #1
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Phase one boat, about to pull the trigger.

First post but I have been lurking for some time and signed up recently as I get closer to pulling the trigger.

So here is the basic plan and keep in mind I could stop at any one of three phases and of course plans can change, they always do.

The basic plan is this;

Phase one - a boat to teach and weekend/long bay/coastal cruise on with 2 to 4 adults, some teens at times. Keep a few years and sell. Think 32 to 40 feet.

Phase two - a larger boat that is the learning curve to longer cruising and going more offshore at sensible times. Think 40 to 49 feet.

Phase three - This is the end game boat, large enough for 6 to cross in and yet can be handled by 2. Think 48 to 58 feet.

Now on to the PHASE ONE boat -

In the next one to three months I plan to purchase an older classic plastic sailboat. This is a boat for cruising the Chesapeake, coast, the ditch, with perhaps Florida and some of the closer islands an option but think more the bay, the rivers and creeks. I'll be having my teens and others on board so I will have a crew of new sailors so comfort below decks, at anchor or dock are far more important than pointing. Even if it were just me, I'd rather have the comforts when stopped then a fast, high pointing boat. The goal is a purchase price below $20K. I love working on boats as much or more than sailing them, it is how I grew up. My son and I are about to begin building a CLC Passagemaker dingy (waiting on delivery) and it is not my first rodeo. Really excited about the build!

Phase one boat requirements as follows;

1 - Purchase price under $20K
2 - Shoal draft - 5' ish and under. Centerboards okay, wing keels not, I'll already have anchors on board.
3 - Large cabin space with privacy for a couple from guests.
4 - Diesel.
5 - Wide decks.

After years of boating in sail and power from 8 to 72 feet, I have a good idea of what I do and equally do not want, so here is my don't list too;

No, wing keels, wood hulls, deep draft fin keels, gas engines, narrow beam, I am sure there is more...

My take is a 20 to 50 year old production sailboat at this time is pretty much going to be about the same based on her upkeep and not the original build. Design of course matters a lot! A project boat is going to be the same wether it be an Irwin, Pearson, Ericson etc..., a boat needing TLC will also be the same.

Here is my current short list - based on price, draft, cabin space and a few other features.

Irwin 32.5 - the shortest of the list but the center cockpit (I am a CC fan) shoal draft, queen berth aft, easy to sail. Every owner I speak to says the same, not the prettiest girl at the dance but very comfortable, a decent sailor and pretty reliable. I have found several and they past the mallet test and a number of other quick inspection checks.

Hunter C37 - These really run wide - from major projects for free to overpriced in decent shape. Not my first choice as they are a bit tender but still in the running. The free one has mold and would most likely need a gutting so it is off the list, there are some sub $20Kout there that are possible winners with TLC.

Irwin 37 - There are several and a MKI that while not my fist choice is also free but the interior is like hoarders buried alive! The topsides are good and the interior is pretty dry, mechanical, some rigging, aft cabin refit and other work is required but less than 100 hours to splash. There are some MKIII's out there too and they are on my watch list.

Formosa 35 - I know all about "leaky tiki" and rehab recore do not sacre me, been there, done that. The cabin is okay, the beam helps make up for the lack of privacy. They are workable.

Young Sun 35 - Same as the Formosa for me.

Pearson 40 - While no where near as much cabin as the shorter boats, it is close and workable. Great sailing boat and shoal draft thanks to her centerboard.

Boats I have looked at and are now off my list - Columbia 40, Tartan 34C.

I am okay with a boat that needs deck work, leaks a bit, needs cosmetic work, chain plates, rigging, even an engine rebuild (been there done that too), complete electrical (AC and DC), and all of the normal things that wear out.

Keeping in mind that over time this boat will be upgraded and improved while owning it and then sell it for what the market bears is OK. It is a process and learning vehicle. Teaching others to sail and cruise is more than what you do underway, it's also what you do when you aren't.

Ok now I'd like other suggestions on boats. I am willing to travel as far as MA and down to SC to bring her home. Shipping by land is possible too, I have a good marina nearby where she can sit on the hard a few months before I splash her and DIY is good.

Last - Given the economy and having CASH in hand at the dock should be a good bargaining chip. I have seen some amazing boats go cheap, like 35 cents on the dollar in places. A local Bendy First 38 went for 15K! So don't be insulted when I offer 8K on a 24K asking price with a boat needing 30K in work and list is 35K to 40K. Someone else will take my cash. I would love to hear what folks have paid recently and if you are worried - PM me, I won't share.
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Old 26-02-2013, 08:43   #2
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Re: Phase one boat, about to pull the trigger.

Too much planing....
What ever happened to buying a sailboat you can afford now, and see where it takes you...
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Old 26-02-2013, 08:56   #3
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Re: Phase one boat, about to pull the trigger.

Looks like a good plan.. Now that you know what you want take the better half with you when you look at what you like and have them pick the boat, veto the true lemmons. Less friction in the long run that way.
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Old 26-02-2013, 09:00   #4
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Re: Phase one boat, about to pull the trigger.

...that is what I am doing, I'll putting in offers in about two weeks. Just looking for ideas on other boats that fit my requirements, I'd hate to miss something really good.

The next few months are going to be more about the work as a result of planning. I'll be on the water in something before mid June latest but as soon as mid March or early April. I don't mind a few months on the hard to fix her up enough to get out there. The PMD will be ready by mid May latest too.
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Old 26-02-2013, 10:10   #5
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Re: Phase one boat, about to pull the trigger.

Can't help with the specific boats - not in the US market, but........

Personally I would miss out boat 2, or at least try to!

For boat 1 I would settle on pretty much anything available at the time (and in the place) you want it and in your wanted size range and basic requirements, with the main desire being to achieve best bang for the buck on overall condition. and with a decent chance of being able to re-sell.

Unless you really want a project I would avoid one, on the size, budget and likely age you are looking at will be plenty to do anyway to keep yer busy - or simply stuff you want to do.....and those are always better than "have to"!
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Old 26-02-2013, 12:23   #6
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Re: Phase one boat, about to pull the trigger.

I would throw out phase 1 and phase 3 and go with phase 2. Find a strong boat that can handle offshore...doesn't matter if you sail it only coastal for awhile...but it will allow you to focus all of your money and time into customizing it to your's and your family's needs.

The thousands that you spend customizing your phase 1 and 2 boat you will most likely not see back in resale unless the market does come back around, and even then there are no guarantees.

Every time you trade up you are exponentially increasing the cost of ownership from running rigging, hauling fees, paint, and basic berthing fees if you plan on keeping her at a marina, etc. etc.

Not to be a dream killer here, but after having purchased our 'phase 1' boat for 20 thousand and then sinking about that much in it and not making one cent when we resold her to buy the boat that we needed for cruising, I wished we had just bought the 35 footer from the start and taken the money and the years and invested them in her.

Food for thought...
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Old 26-02-2013, 12:37   #7
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Re: Phase one boat, about to pull the trigger.

Here's a Cape Dory 28 and the guy is only asking $9,900.00

Used 1976 Cape Dory , Norfolk, Va - 23518 - BoatTrader.com

there's also a Cape Dory 30 about 4 hours North of Va Beach and he is asking $17,000
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Old 26-02-2013, 13:38   #8
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Re: Phase one boat, about to pull the trigger.

@High Heels - I'm not worried about recovering costs, like any other hobby/sport, the journey is worth the expense. For me the graduations in size come about due to the experiences gained with the crew and family. That will drive what is next or not. I don't want to spend too much on a mid- 40' boat to discover that I am by myself with a large empty space. ...and hey, I am looking at a 35 footer or better for phase one so I might just end up there, though I have always loved the MOI 41' from the first time I stepped on board at the US Sailboat show in the early 70's.

@thomm225 - I like the Cape Dory's but those two are way too small for my needs. Here is a lake bound 33 that is nice but a little high in price - 82 Cape Dory Cape Dory 33 sloop sailboat for sale in Louisiana I like the 40 too! Just too much money this time around. thanks - I am adding them to my look at list if I can find a good deal on one.
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Old 27-02-2013, 19:29   #9
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Re: Phase one boat, about to pull the trigger.

Thanks to all for the comments here and PM's and a few others outside of CF!

So in a week or two the offers go out, I have my top three boats and plan to show up at the dock with cash in hand for a title. I'll make an offer on my first choice, if they say yes, we swap a stack of Ben Franklins for a title, if not, I will go to the next boat, repeat, head to the third. MY first two choices I will give them a few days to think, I'd hate to rush and end up short, I like the third boat and it was my front runner until the past couple of days.

Took the Hunter C37's off the list.

Stay tuned.
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:32   #10
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:15   #11
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Re: Phase one boat, about to pull the trigger.

Not a bad plan, since the going in assumption on ANY plan is that it will change, when you pull the trigger

So, no worries there, fine thinking, good to plan.

First thing to do is run to West Marine and buy the two volume set, Practical Boat Buying. Especially if you are looking at older boats.

I would stick with a boat that has a solid glass hull, if an older boat. If a 70's era boat, more emphasis on Columbia and Pearson.

IF you could find a Wauquiez Pretorian 35... JUMP ON IT. Out of your price range, but that boat and a Hood 38 are going for very good prices these days and would be all the boat you would need for Phases I and II.

For about $20k, you are really looking at an older, smaller boat that needs quite a bit of fixing up and equipment. Some nicer boats in that range, or just above might be:

Pearson 35
Tartan 34

Hope this helps
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:53   #12
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Re: Phase one boat, about to pull the trigger.

Hey SC - We spent almost 9 hours yesterday cruising marinas and hull thumping, 41 degrees and gusty March winds. This was the first time my primary came along, she is somewhat new to sailing but not boating. Yesterday was "confirmation day." We went out and confirmed each others suspicions on what she would and would not like. We went looked at boats I have already seen (but did not get on everything) the following and here is what we found out -

Features - We found out is that she likes the "U" shaped galleys, on paper she was not crazy but liked it in person. She also likes the more open cockpits, loves wider decks and bowsprits. She does not like the more utilitarian (read boring) cabins and rejected a number of boats over that and the "looks like any other boat" designs. The drive by boats included C&Cs, Ericsons, Catalinas, Gulfstars, Bristols, Morgans, a Nauticat, a Shannon, Tartans, Cape Dories and many others.

The Gulfstars, Morgan Out Islander 41, Nauticat, Island Packets and Shannon are on our watch list for the next boat, most are just to pricey for us at this time and I don't want to break 40 feet coming out of the gate with her. (She fell in love with a Chris Craft Connie 51, but my word is NO! Gorgeous and expensive to feed!!!)

In addition to the boats listed, we looked at a number of boats from the car and never bothered to get out as none of them caught her eye. That list included many boats that others love and many would recommend as great sailboats.

So how did we end up?

We visited in detail the following order;

Cheoy Lee 35 Perry Design.
Formosa 35.
Young Sun 35.
Pearson 39.
Irwin 32.5C.

...and our now short list is;

1) Formosa 35.
2) Cheoy Lee and Young Sun 35 in a tie.
3) Whichever loses the tie above.
4) Irwin 32.5

How did we get here?

The Formosa is just too sexy, we both love the look and having sailed on a few, I like the way they feel. We both are boaters that love working on the boat as much as sailing, it is part of the lifestyle to us. The character and personality of these (and all "Leaky Teakies" come at a price and one we enjoy paying.

The Cheoy Lee and Young Sun both need a LOT of cosmetic work to bring them up to snuff and the Young Sun has other apparent issues ( a weak engine for one), no deal breakers but I want to see her out of the water and fully check below the water line before I'd make a final decision, she has had the decks redone in glass so she has lost some character but we could fix that issue. The Cheoy Lee has been on the hard for a long time and has had a ton of work done and it's all stuff that has been replaced but never turned on. I have concerns that there might be a lot of nice stuff that has "died in the box" though it all looks new.

The Pearson was rejected by her outright, I am really glad she never saw the Columbia 40 I looked at, she'd have probably told me I was out of my mind and never set foot aboard! In her words "the plastic feel and lack of personality" of the Pearson, hull shape and look of her and others like her are not boats that pass the, "You look back at the dock one more time before leaving the marina test."

The last is the Irwin 32.5, it is in many ways very different from the other boats but it met certain early criteria, the cabin layout was at first eye catching to her. The boats overall condition was a little better than the Formosa we looked at and she loved that queen berth in the aft cabin, the rest of the boat was a little plane but the features of it keep it in the running. She's not the prettiest girl at the dance but there is a lot that is just right about this boat too.

Friday the 15th is "D-Day" and some time this week I will know how much cash in hand I will have, that will be the final driver and bargaining tool. I am not in a hurry and will wait out a seller as it is a buyers market and the number of boats for sale to buyers with cash is small. I won't take advantage of someone but I will get the best deal for me as possible.

I really want to have enough to buy the Formosa, I will accept being a little boat poor for a few months to get her but if not we like the other boats.

I will post a picture as soon I have the title in hand!
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:07   #13
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Re: Phase one boat, about to pull the trigger.

Love the detailed answer RM. Especially the wifes point of view as I am similar. I see your a logical planner and I appreciate that in your thinking. Must be my previous life as a bean counter that can relate. I do understand other posters comments on skipping a phase as well. In my plan, I would probably skip phase two and buy at the bigger end of phase one and then do phase 3. I think you will outgrow phase 1, with a smaller boat, very quickly and unfortunately I feel when one goes to sell there will be loss becuase you will be chomping at the bit to buy the next phase and will let the previous phase go quickly. Just a thought....
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:21   #14
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Re: Phase one boat, about to pull the trigger.

SC - you're probably right and DOJ made them same comment about skipping the phase two boat. Especially given looking at 35' plus in the phase one boat. Since we are primarily sailing on the Chesapeake shoal draft is important too. Some of my favorite gunk-holes are 5' MLW to get into and no, I am NOT sharing those locations! :P

Down the road we may buy a bigger boat that needs a major refit and have the work done while enjoying and keeping up the current boat, selling it once the new boat is ready to sail.

We take delivery of the PMD in the next week and I can't wait to begin construction, I'll link to the blog once we start.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:49   #15
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Re: Phase one boat, about to pull the trigger.

Is the Formosa 35 a CT-35 similar to a Mariner 35 Garden design?
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