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Old 03-07-2009, 14:45   #1
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Such Variety in Boats

Today I went down to Ft. Pierce, FL to look at a boat. I'm not to the point of actually buying one yet, but I did want to get an idea of what was actually out there.

I was also curious as I had found this Formosa on yachtworld:

1977 Formosa Ketch (CRUISE READY!) Sail Boat For Sale -

Mainly, since it was only an hour south, I really wanted to see what made this boat worth $240k when most other Formosas are between 60k and 150k.

It was a well kept boat with some creature comfort upgrades, but needless to say it's 100-150k boat and the guy will never get anywhere close to what he's asking for it. As I told the broker, for that price I expected to see a boat that was impeccable in every detail. It wasn't.

It did however do what all Formosas do, it immediately gets you with all the warm wood and plush surroundings. They really do feel like a floating house. That combined with the acres of usable deck space and can easily see yourself living on that boat.

After looking at the Formosa, we checked out a Benetau 50:

Florida Coast Marine, Inc. (Fort Pierce, FL)

I really hadn't considered a boat like this because early on when I first started looking at boats I had realized that I really don't like the lack of deckspace on most modern fibreglass boats.

I think its the lack of flat surfaces. Something about having 50+ feet of boat yet having to balance one foot in front of the other to move around the edges just really irritates me. It seems wasteful.

Needless to say these were two totally different animals.

The Formosa feels immediately like home yet also feels like you would need a fleet of industrious oompaloompas just to keep it running. It didn't feel quite like it would be fun to sail (and didn't look like the liveaboards on it had done much sailing themselves recently). It did however look like the kind of place you could enjoy many nights with a cold drink on with friends.

The Benetau on the otherhand definitely felt like a big sailboat below decks. It had a great look, but honestly wasn't very inviting or warm and cozy. At the same time though the cockpit was amazing!

If you look at the pics it has the dual helm setup with a great casual area in front. At far aft the middle seat opens up to a step down diving platform that you could just sit on for hours fishing or dangling your feet in the water.

I felt immediately like I could sail the benetau anywhere and enjoy every minute of the trip (it was also set up for single handing). The living space on the beneteau is definitely spartan compared to the Formosa, but at the same time is very well thought out and superbly functional.

Either way, both of these boats were out of my price range and both (from the comps online) are overpriced. But it's not got me thinking and willing to consider some other boats.

One has an interior and front deck you could fall in love with. The other has a cockpit that feels like you're driving a luxury sports car and an interior that feels cold yet reaks of quality yet you can't use half the topside of the boat. Interesting options and tradeoffs.

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Old 03-07-2009, 15:39   #2
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Great observations, the hardest part with choosing a cruising boat is narrowing it down to just one. There are so many good boats out there. As a kid in my twenties I crew on all types and sizes of boats. Fin keels, shoal draft, full keels and centerboards, from 26-52 foot, they all had their own personality offshore and in port. As I gained experience I got more choosy about the captain , crew, and state of repair of the vessel and less choosy about the boats design Have you ever noticed how a boat can reflect the character of the owner, pretty cool. I have noticed that those cold interiors of the benes can be warmed up just by adding a few personal touches.
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Old 03-07-2009, 16:50   #3
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Def OG,

I have to say that while the Beneteau was rather sterile, one thing I noticed was that the inside did NOT feel like a fibreglass boat. So many fibreglass boats feel like dressed up ice chests when you get into the interior. This one was 11 years old and everything inside still had a really tight fit and felt of high quality.

It finally occurred to me while typing this what it actually reminded me of -- a newer German ICE train. It had a similar style and feel on the inside.

I actually hadn't planned on looking at the bene but did so at the urging of the broker who wanted me to get an idea of the differences. It's actually well outside of my pricerange, but it was nice to see what else was out there.

We actually looked at three others as well: A 45' Gulfstar which needed a lot of work and looked like it wouldn't be much of a boat once the work was finished anyway. A custom South African boat that was so personalized that I felt like it could only ever be the efficient ocean crosser that it had been designed to be, and that somehow no matter what I did to it it would never feel like my boat. And, a custom steel Cat ketch that was really well-built and laid out, but had such a high level of fit and finish inside that I think the owners had actually priced themselves out of a reasonable resale. The super polish and wood inlays were nice to look at though, but again buying her would have been buying 'somebody else's boat'.

I have to admit, as I think about sitting behind that wheel, the bene is growing on me

One thing I did forget to mention, the beneteau (with it's shallower draft) was actually much more stable in the water. When it did move it tended to glide up and down whereas there were several times on the Formosa that I felt some noticeable jolts with the tide.

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