I am going through the same process and here are the questions people asked me, and you may want to add now:
- How much can you spend?
- How experienced are you at sailing?
- How experienced are you at fixing sailboats?
handed or a crew?
- How many people on board? Sleeping?
- Rank comfort versus ease of maintenance
? (50/50, 20/80, 80/20, etc.) (If you have a significant other - they get a vote too, maybe a bigger one)
I have found (for me) - going for a new smaller (31-32) Beneteau
311 or Catalina 320
was better than older/larger. However, I also was looking for something sail ready. If you are willing to spend 6 months making her ready, then your options are far more open.
In addition, I have been told by several people, including a Hunter
sales rep at the boat show
, that pre 2000 hunters are different than 2000+. I am not sure why, but perhaps a hunter owner can explain.
Some warnings provided to me:
- Avoid no name brands. Finding parts
and needing to customize everything will drain your wallet.
- A solid, dry hull
is 80% of the boat. Everything else can be added, nothing will fix a bad hull
. This means seeing a bunch of boats before picking one.
- Brokers pressure - I have met a number of good brokers. However, they all work for the seller, even when helping you.
- Surveys pay for themselves. When you are certain you have the right boat, call in the survey
team. Find someone who knows the specific manufacturer and not recommended by the broker. Even if you are buying
a "fixer upper" you will know all the things that need immediate, intermediate, and long term attention.