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Old 05-03-2011, 13:28   #1
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Thoughts on a new boat with these caveats.....

“Hey what kind of boat do you guys think I should buy...”

Kidding! I do need some advice though. I am planning on buying a boat in June of 2012; 35-38 foot approx. We will live aboard for one year-ish leaving from DC area and hoping to cruise from Nova Scotia to Aruba during that period. Following good weather, gunkholing up the east coast and the Caribbean. Maybe a trip to Bermuda if I can convince my wife when we leave the North East heading south after hurricane season. Just general live-aboard stuff for a year. The departure date is a bit flexible as I see problems trying to get out of DC in December and even more problems in the discipline needed to LEAVE the Caribbean in the heart of the winter too.

I would like to buy a vessel for approx $65K. I would like to purchase the boat 6 months before we actually push off on the one year cruise. I feel the 6 months will permit time to adjust things that need adjusting, learn the boat and its nuances (or is that nuisances?), re-acquaint myself with some sailing etc.

We previously owned a Beneteau First-285 for approximately 5 years sailing it in the Albermarle sound, NC Outer Banks, and then taking it to the Southern Cheseapeake near Ft Monroe Va, sold it about 10 years ago. Now with the kids gone and retirement around the corner we are going bigger and farther. We had great “long weekend” trips in this boat but it woefully lacked fresh water capacity and refrigeration. It was a bit crowded but manageable for short trips for a small family. We’ve got to be more comfortable this time.

Lurking the sight for a few weeks and doing some looking around I weigh the risk of Older = Bigger based on my funds available. BUT (there is always a “but”) older can come with old boat problems. Ideally I find an older boat that has had extensive refit and upgrade and I am the beneficiary of someone else’s effort and money spent. Newer boats have some better layouts and “liveaboard” type features in some cases. There will always be “exceptions”, a cherry condition old boat or a newer boat that had a hidden problem, such is life.

What I would like from this esteemed panel is based on my situation above and funds available what boat would you buy given my plans as indicated? I apologize for the long post and the subsequent volumes folks could write on this subject. Most answers will have the “well it depends” in the answer too. I would welcome any response and will also be satisfied with “well I WOULDN’T buy a.... or here are the top THREE things I would look for first”. I’ve got over a year before I have to write a check so I have time to get this right.
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Old 05-03-2011, 13:42   #2
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Re: Thoughts on a new boat with these caveats.....

Buy the boat in the Caribbean and save the trauma of the 'Thorny Path'. Your wife will appreciate what you have done to make life easy for her and then on the return journey you can cruise all those areas you have missed with the wind and current behind you.
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Old 05-03-2011, 14:04   #3
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Re: Thoughts on a new boat with these caveats.....

I'd look now if you have the money. It is currently a buyers market, and the deals will be better. Or, try next fall at the end of the season when people are facing storage charges for the winter, etc. The more time to use and get to know the boat the better. I always say that it takes a minimum of two years to work out all the bugs, or at least most of them, in a new-to-me boat. You will find that some things you think are great now, will not be so great and need to be changed, and you will find lots of things that you don't like that need changing out. Plan on spending less for the boat than you have, because you will have to put a good chunk into whatever you buy in order to make it cruise worthy. I personally look for older boats that were structurally well built to begin with, but aren't glamorous and don't have all the bells and whistles. The quality of the build is important, but don't worry about the gear. Chances are the boat will have old electronics that will need to be replaced, inadequate anchoring gear, etc. I generally find that someone else's "refit and upgrade" is not to my liking. In short, don't plan on finding the ideal boat on the market that you won't have to fit out to your preferences.
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Old 06-03-2011, 06:37   #4
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Re: Thoughts on a new boat with these caveats.....

Moondancer,
You are correct in the "thorny path" being less than desirable but not inclined to buy a boat far from home. Have been forced to buy too many homes on short notice and in a situation like that there is too much pressure and compromise. I will be shopping withing "driving distance". I am lucky (debatable) enough to be in the DC area with tons of boats for miles around. Am looking for boats with some "cold weather" adaptations as my wife thinks anything under 70 degrees is cold. This is a good shopping venue for us.
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Old 06-03-2011, 06:47   #5
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Re: Thoughts on a new boat with these caveats.....

Kettlewell,
sage advice to keep some "spare change" from my overall target price for the extras that turn out NOT to be extras but really must have items. I think in my heart of hearts I knew this and was going to fund the "extras" out of savings and cash but you're right to target low. The other thought is I plan on financing this boat and very likely selling it back after the year depending on where I land my next job etc etc... so why not buy the best boat I can with costs in the monthly payment. We'll see how this plays out.

I feel the two years is a bit much as I don't WANT the boat right now and am relatively busy with work and the added work of retiring is like a second job in some cases. There's a lot of stuff to sort out and now this little hobby is in the mix.
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Old 06-03-2011, 07:01   #6
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Re: Thoughts on a new boat with these caveats.....

If you like the Beneteau, but it's just too small, how about a larger version or the equivalent from Jeanneau / Bavaria. The French don't make slow boats.

We came very close to buying an older Jeaneau Sunrise 34 which had cruised from UK to Antigua and back twice. Sadly the previous owner had the mast rigged in an S shape when you looked up the mast track and had glued the 4 house batteries in with expanding foam and they were now dead. Torn cushions finished it off nicely and we walked away, but it would have suited us if it had been in better condition.

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Old 06-03-2011, 07:40   #7
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Re: Thoughts on a new boat with these caveats.....

I know this is not what the OP wants to hear, but in my experience those who plan one of these year or two cruises end up not having all that much fun. Cruising takes lots of preparation, experience, planning, and stick-to-it-ness. The teething problems you will encounter are real, and sometimes can haunt you. Moving from a smaller boat is great meaning you have a store of knowledge to draw upon, but there will be lots to learn on the bigger boat. If you head right off to Bermuda on this new boat, with only a few months of trials under your belt, you are asking for trouble. Your plan will work much better if you at least start out with maybe a cruise up to New England in the summer and then a trip down the coast and Intracoastal to Florida and the Bahamas, so you can be in forgiving waters and in an area where you will be able to solve all the inevitable boat problems that will crop up.

By the way, boats are a lot cheaper in Florida, even though it is not your backyard. Lots to choose from in the Chesapeake, but you will find more boats ready for tropical cruising down in Florida too.
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:15   #8
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Re: Thoughts on a new boat with these caveats.....

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
Moving from a smaller boat is great meaning you have a store of knowledge to draw upon, but there will be lots to learn on the bigger boat.

If you head right off to Bermuda on this new boat, with only a few months of trials under your belt, you are asking for trouble. Your plan will work much better if you at least start out with maybe a cruise up to New England in the summer and then a trip down the coast and Intracoastal to Florida and the Bahamas, so you can be in forgiving waters and in an area where you will be able to solve all the inevitable boat problems that will crop up.

By the way, boats are a lot cheaper in Florida, even though it is not your backyard. Lots to choose from in the Chesapeake, but you will find more boats ready for tropical cruising down in Florida too.

Kettlewell,
I agree, a trip to Bermuda right off the bat is NOT a good Idea. I do intend to stick close to shore, short forays off-shore and see New England in the summer, Caribbean in the winter after the Hurricane season. My issue is having to stick in the DC area until December; my retirement month.

My wife and I have toyed with this idea for ages---living aboard. The first retirement, kids in college, job transition and a myriad of reasons give us a 12ish month period to try this out before I have to go back ashore and put on a tie again for another 10-12 years. I will be 50 when we do this, I want to know what this feels like before I am in my 60s and father time makes things a bit more difficult. As an active duty military family for +20 years we've endured lifestyle decisions that were "ordered" rather than choices, I think we'll do OK on this one.
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:06   #9
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Re: Thoughts on a new boat with these caveats.....

Well determination and the will to do it are important factors and it sounds like you have them. Good luck finding a boat--that is one of the most fun parts of the whole thing!
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Old 06-03-2011, 12:13   #10
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Re: Thoughts on a new boat with these caveats.....

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Originally Posted by F15EWSO View Post
or here are the top THREE things I would look for first
resale
resale
resale



Given your intention to sell after a year IMO then have to buy something that others also want. in the area you will be selling in. and the odds are that will be something modern with a name like Beneteau or another mass produced builder. The downside is that will be a higher price per foot than something older / less common - so in practice will likely be shorter. But your odds of selling will be higher - just a question of price, rather than not being any buyers.. newer also likely equal shorter....but with a 6 month window I would favour something under 5 years old (unless you really knew what you were looking at - not to say that some folk can't f#ck up a boat in under 5 years of course )..........layout and other requirements? I would make a list of what needed for you. and what would simply be nice - and if you can keep the needed list short the more options you will have........and I wouldn't get too hung up on an exact model or brand - the more options the better......the secret to getting a good sale price is getting a good purchase price

But whatever, I would start looking now - not just via Mr Google but boots on the ground / onboard. Both to refresh memory of what the dark crannies in a boat can hold (look above and below your intended price and condition)............but also to give you a good feel for the market in general and what is selling, what is not - and being in a position to lowball folks who have been on the market for a while (or a short time ) when the time comes. You only need one to accept
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Old 28-12-2011, 14:54   #11
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Re: Thoughts on a new boat with these caveats.....

I'll try a "bump" rather than a fresh post and see what it yields...

As about 7-8 months have passed since I first posted this, my time to shop in earnest is drawing near. I am looking to buy a used monohull as indicated above in the OP. Considering I find THE boat I want what is a reasonable timeline from saying "that's the one" to when signatures go on the paperwork? I plan to finance, find a slip near me and get the boat ready for our trip. How long to get a survey, sea-trial, set up financing, insurance, etc and whatever those more wise than I can think of? Should I plan some time for the previous owner to "make things right" regarding some survey finds? Obviously there are limits but what is a reasonable estimate for his boat yard to do some work as needed (talking some minor things, maybe even cosmetic). Afraid there are too many variables here so please try and limit to a reasonable "what if" approach. I suspect this could be done in days but that is most likely the exception not the rule.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance.
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Old 28-12-2011, 15:10   #12
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Re: Thoughts on a new boat with these caveats.....

What have you been looking at or have narrowed it to?
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Old 28-12-2011, 15:16   #13
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Re: Thoughts on a new boat with these caveats.....

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What have you been looking at or have narrowed it to?
shooting for 38-40 ft, sub 100K, center-cockpit (the Admiral likes the larger aft berth in these; centerline berth). The cockpit configuration is a "want" that will go out the window when we get closer to our need-date. We looked in our Md/Va area last summer but were only looking, now we need to buy early this summer.
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Old 28-12-2011, 15:34   #14
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Re: Thoughts on a new boat with these caveats.....

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Originally Posted by F15EWSO View Post
I'll try a "bump" rather than a fresh post and see what it yields...

As about 7-8 months have passed since I first posted this, my time to shop in earnest is drawing near. I am looking to buy a used monohull as indicated above in the OP. Considering I find THE boat I want what is a reasonable timeline from saying "that's the one" to when signatures go on the paperwork? I plan to finance, find a slip near me and get the boat ready for our trip. How long to get a survey, sea-trial, set up financing, insurance, etc and whatever those more wise than I can think of? Should I plan some time for the previous owner to "make things right" regarding some survey finds? Obviously there are limits but what is a reasonable estimate for his boat yard to do some work as needed (talking some minor things, maybe even cosmetic). Afraid there are too many variables here so please try and limit to a reasonable "what if" approach. I suspect this could be done in days but that is most likely the exception not the rule.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance.
As you say, possible within a day or so - but that depends on when you start counting. The key is preparation (doing as much in advance of pulling the trigger) and you knowing what both yourself and everyone else is meant to be doing.....and being the person managing the transaction (don't just rely on a broker).

From signing the contract I would guesstimate a month should cover it - probably nearer 2 weeks....but that supposing that folks do there jobs when / as expected (including you!).....if buying at the start of the season a boatyard is likely to be busy........so you may get end of the Q.....therefore for minor stuff you may want to consider trying for cash off the sale price instead of fixes and then sort out at your leisure (of course a Vendor does not have to either fix nor discount anything - on an older boat especially, can't expect a vessel to be in showroom condition. Some cosmetic imperfections? My answer (as a Vendor) would be along the lines of "No sh#t Sherlock - she's 20 odd years old, WTF did you expect? "....and "the price already reflects the imperfections".

But for getting her ready for the trip - that's a how long is a piece of string question ....but if simply adding a few bits and bobs (and getting a bit of seatime in to get familiar and make sure everything works as intended) then a couple of weeks, if not a month.
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Old 28-12-2011, 15:46   #15
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Re: Thoughts on a new boat with these caveats.....

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As you say, possible within a day or so - but that depends on when you start counting. The key is preparation (doing as much in advance of pulling the trigger) and you knowing what both yourself and everyone else is meant to be doing.....and being the person managing the transaction (don't just rely on a broker).

From signing the contract I would guesstimate a month should cover it - probably nearer 2 weeks....but that supposing that folks do there jobs when / as expected (including you!).....if buying at the start of the season a boatyard is likely to be busy........so you may get end of the Q.....therefore for minor stuff you may want to consider trying for cash off the sale price instead of fixes and then sort out at your leisure (of course a Vendor does not have to either fix nor discount anything - on an older boat especially, can't expect a vessel to be in showroom condition. Some cosmetic imperfections? My answer (as a Vendor) would be along the lines of "No sh#t Sherlock - she's 20 odd years old, WTF did you expect? "....and "the price already reflects the imperfections".

But for getting her ready for the trip - that's a how long is a piece of string question ....but if simply adding a few bits and bobs (and getting a bit of seatime in to get familiar and make sure everything works as intended) then a couple of weeks, if not a month.
David_old_Jersey,
thanks for the words, good point about the "work load" at the yards. Understood that the boat is "as-is" and what gets done is a moving target to a point.
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