You're on the East Coast
- you at least need a depth sounder
You can spend as much or as little as you want on electronic gear
and toys but you should make getting a good solid, sound boat your main objective because the electronics
are mostly extras you can either do without initially or add on later. They also become obsolete very quickly - if you want to find out about it the best way is to trawl the net, read the magazines and catalogs and talk to people, especially on forums
where there are so many opinions to choose from
Basic instruments are depth
, speed/log and it's nice to have a wind
gauge but it's not essential. Hand held GPS
is fine for local sailing (I had a friend who went liveaboard
for 4 years around the UK and Europe
with just a hand held GPS) but you should first do it properly with compass
etc so you have good back-up skills if you have limited experience. VHF radio
is not mandatory on a small boat but I am more comfortable with one than not especially with family
on board (plus you may need to help someone else out). Handhelds are good and reliable these days and not only waterproof but now float too. Or put a fixed one in with antenna
on the mast
for greater range.
You'll spend at least as much on safety gear
, lifejackets, harnesses, flares, possibly a liferaft
although this is a contentious point on some forums
Any cruiser you buy is likely to have at least this amount of kit on board anyway unless it was owned by a back-to-nature minimalist it's up to you how new sexy and modern you want it to be but make sure it works at least even if you want to replace it later.
I have a friend who has a very rare Moody 28 which is a lovely boat but like hens teeth on the secondhand market. We bought a Leisure23SL (£6-8k) as our first cruiser after dinghy
sailing and the Leisure27 (£14-17k) is good too we know many people with them. There's a lot of other good secondhand boats in the 23-28ft (£6k-28k) range on the East Coast
(Sadlers, Pegasus, BenJenBav etc) also worth looking at if you can't stretch to the Moody.
The Owners Associations are great sources of information on secondhand boats: Leisure, Westerley and Moody associations are all first rate and very helpful. You'll also find secondhand boats marketed on their websites (sometimes their owners sell through these channels only). If you have narrowed down to a particular model you really must have you can always place a wanted add there too.
So set your budget
and try not to go more than, say, 30% over it in your enthusiasm