Hi Newbie, another Newbie here. I think I can give you some thoughts as I'm going through the same process as you right now. I have just closed on my Catamaran (2007 Leopard
40), gone through insurance and am embarking on the training journey starting tomorrow in fact.
I doubt you'll find what you're after for less than 200K. The big dilemma for you is going to be whether you want to buy a boat that needs a lot of work and will be a constant pain in the a#$ for you as your inaugural boat, which will very likely make your life miserable and make you hate cruising and your decision to take the plunge. For example, I found what I thought was the 'perfect' boat for sale
, a Fortuna IS37 1999 for $165,000 USD. Went through the whole offer/acceptance/survey process and flew to Fiji
to close. The boat was fully kitted for long-term cruising and had already been around the world twice. However, even before survey
we started to notice all sorts of little problems and every time we started working on something it generated even more problems and things to fix. This went on for three days before the surveyor showed up. I had already noticed rust in the coolant
in the starboard engine, broken tackle, cracking in many locations, solar panels
only partially working and the list goes on. Owner pulled down the electrical panel and it was a total maze with obvious jury rigged electrical wiring
everywhere etc. etc. The surveyor started with a moisture check which revealed multiple problems around the windlass
and many other locations. He stopped after three hours and said, 'run, don't walk from this 'deal''. That saved me a lot of money and heartache but the whole experience still cost me $5000.
So I'm saying 'deals' can be found but you have to search and anything of the age you are looking at for 200K is gonna have problems as someone else has mentioned on here. I started with a 200K budget
and after the first experience I upped my budget
to 250K and ended up buying my Cat for $265K. That's not cheap
for the model but it is an owners version and never chartered only 1700 hours on the motors pristine (Bristol) etc. and already mostly equipped for cruising. My advice would be to up your budget mate. What I've heard is lots of people get turned off cruising because of a bad boat at the start. Really, what's 50 or 100K over a lifetime? Not much.
Insurance? We are paying 1.3% of hull
value with Lloyds. I can get you the contact information if you want it. We had to outline our training plan for them and we have some powerboat experience (I ran a fishing
charter business before). It is hard to get though, we went through several options and some were 2-2.5% of hull
value. After the first year we plan to get rid of the insurance except 3rd party liability. You don't need it unless losing the 250K is going to be financial ruin for you. I look at it like this, you can always get a job later!
Training: Lots of people on the forums
here will tell you that you need to start in dinghies and work up. I don't buy it. I have a pilot background, I'm used to making risk-based decisions, know about weather
and how to use a radio
etc. But look, I flew Cessna 172s and I flew heavy jets and the principles are the same. Experience counts but it ain't everything. I know lots of pilots that have a ton of hours and are still shitty pilots. Same probably goes for sailing. I'll find out pretty soon. I've read 5 books
on it now and it ain't rocket science. I start the practical this weekend and we've booked ASA
101, 102, 104 to get the day skipper
qualification and ICC
because in some countries you need that now or they impound your boat. That's as far as we intend to take the training. Rest will be experiential. I'll let you know how it goes. Most people say the best thing you can do is buy a boat and go for it. There is also a wide variance in the quality of training (just like pilot training) depending on your instructor and your school
. Its hit and miss, but either way you pay for it. I'd say don't overdo the training focus on the experience and get the training on your own boat if you can (that's what we've arranged as this was strongly recommend to us by others).
Grab some books
, buy the boat and off you go I say. But don't buy a 'fixer upper' that's my recommendation. Charter boats can be good buys in the BVI and Seychelles
for instance but you have to plan to get it back there. There are delivery
companies and you can join them as well which could be a great learning experience for you. I can put you in touch with some if you want. Went through all that already with the Fiji
option. It isn't that expensive to do it but there can be a lot of hidden costs. I also have some literature on buying a Cat that helped us a lot. Make sure the deal is air tight I'll say that. Have offramps (ways to back out) in it. I highly doubt you can get an already cheap
boat for 70% of ask price. Not my experience anyway. Most are priced a bit over market. I bought mine for 88% of ask price. It really depends how desperate people are to sell and where the boat is. That can make a huge difference. Hire a competent surveyor. There are certifications that some people have. We flew a guy in from New Zealand
to do the Fiji one and hired an Aussie guy for our eventual purchase
. Make sure you get a 'buyer' survey not a valuation survey and get a full report. Your insurance will need to look it over and make you fix the major ailments within a certain time as well. It pays to get a good survey.
Be honest about what type of cruising you're going to do too. We are committed to offshore
voyaging but if you're not just yet you can do well with something smaller and cheaper that is perfect for island hopping, then upgrade later. And the costs aren't 'sunk' either. You can always sell if it doesn't work out. You'll lose on transaction costs but an older boat has already depreciated the bulk of what it will. Borrow an extra 50K. At 5% interest (get a home equity line of credit) that's only $2500 bucks a year in interest! Cheap!
The answers to almost all of your questions are on this forum, on other forums like noonsite or elsewhere on the web. If you've wondered it, someone else has too and there are alot of smart and experienced folks on these forums, even if some of them still think that you need to know how to navigate with a sextant
with triple redundant GPS/charting systems with independent power sources!! LOL... Keep room for your 400 lbs of paper charts!
Good luck. Let me know if I can help in any way. I'll keep you posted on how I make out.