Seems like you looked at a boat and feel in love with it. That might not be the best thing because you might not be looking at it rationally. For instense, I remember boarding my first Beneteau
. Beautiful. But today I would never want one for the type of sailing I want to do.
While I know nothing about Tartans other than they are supposed to be solid boats (don't know anything about current problems), I do know that you can get a lot of boat in excellent condition for much less money
For example, I was looking at a Catalina
42 Mark II (1999) in the Great Lakes
region. From the photo
it looked like it was in excellent condition with lots of extras (including a dingy, motor
and davits). Also, it had only been in fresh water
. They were "asking" $129,000. I figured it could be had for less, but I would still want to add a few extras like a life raft, additional anchors and a few other things. But it sure is less than what you are looking at and the 42 Mark II, while not decked out with teak
, is a very, very nice boat. I've sailed a bunch of Catalinas (25, 27, 31 and 36) and they have all been rock solid. I sail on the San Francisco
Bay and they handle strong winds well. I'm sure that there are other brands, e.g. Hunter
, that can be gotten quite reasonably and will give your wife the creature comforts she desires.
One other thing you should consider. How much "good looks" do you want in exchange for extra maintenance
? I personally like no wood above deck
because it reduces maintenance
. Of course some people must have the wooden trim because it is traditional.
You mention one of my concerns ... draft. All the boats I see on the west coast
have deep drafts even if the manufacturer offers a shorter fin keel
. For example, the Catalina
42 comes with a standard keel
and a fin keel. I seem to remember that the fin keel draws no more than 5.5 feet. That sure beats 7 feet.
Since I like monohulls, I'm not going to get a real shallow boat like a cat. But I'm certainly going to try to get something no more than 5.5 feet. That will limit the length of the boat, but the Catalina 42 is definitely enough boat for my wife and I and a couple of friends.
One of the instructors at the sailing club I belong cruises 6 months out of the year. His 44’ Nautic Santionge has a draft of a little over 6 feet. When he recently moved it to Florida he had trouble with the depth in places. In the Bahamas and South Pacific you will probably also have trouble with 7 feet. On the West Coast, Sea of Cortez and Carribbean you should be fine with 7 feet.
If you are interested in used boats with fin keels, then look for boats for sale in Florida. There are lots of them and good prices.