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Old 21-08-2009, 11:04   #1
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Retirement Boat

My wife and I are contemplating the cruising lifestyle for retirement. We are neophytes and as such my question may be to naive for anyone to be able to provide a rational response, but I will try anyway.

For cost effectiveness we will buy a used catamaran. I am trying to figure out what is the most cost effective strategy and the size/brands/models we should be thinking about.

1. “almost new.” A boat 1-4 years old.
2. “older but refit.” A boat 8-10 years old that has been refit in the past 1-4 years.
3. “project boat.” A boat decidedly in need of refit.
4. Other ideas

Here is what we are thinking that we need:

1. We want a catamaran
2. Big as we can afford
3. Small enough to be singlehanded if something should happen to one of us and the other has to get to get us to a port.
4. Sea worth enough to do a circumnavigation if we should decide to do so.
5. We consider the following to be essential
a. Appropriate sails, including sufficient back-ups to get us home in the event of major sail damage
b. Navigation/electronics
i. SSB radio
ii. VHF radio
iii. Radar
iv. Electronic chart plotter
v. GPS
vi. Whatever else should be on a well equipped blue water boat.
c. Parachute
d. Life raft
e. Personal safety gear including auto inflating vests, harnesses, epirbs
f. dingy
g. Water maker
h. Air conditioning
i. Refrigerator/Freezer
j. Stove/oven
k. Washing machine

Boat performance we would rank things as follows:

1. Ease of sailing—I don’t know enough to know exactly what this entails. But I gather from my reading so far that boats can be equipped so that most sailing operations can be performed from the cockpit, including switching between a jib and genoa, and reefing the sails. (I could be mistaken about what some of the terms I have been reading mean and this might be unrealistic; if so tell me.)
2. Speed
3. Comfort

Budget is probably in the $400,000 range.
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Old 21-08-2009, 11:24   #2
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This is a huge question and subject to a lot of personal opinions.

Many of your questions relate back to personal preferences. Only you can eventually answer what works best for you. Without experience, you don't know your personal preferences, just yet.

Keep doing your research and get experience. Learn how to sail so that you are eventually qualified enough to be able to do your own bareboat charters.

Do not buy a boat first and then learn, odds are it will be the wrong boat for you because you have not learned through personal experience which is the right boat for you.

You have the budget for a smaller to mid-sized used catamaran. Keep in mind you will have many expenses after you purchase the boat. Maintenance, upgrades, insurance and slip fees add up pretty quick.

There is a rule of thumb that applies to all boats. Speed-Comfort-Inexpensive. Pick any two. You want the first two but your budget does not allow for it. If you want a fast boat with all the goodies onboard that is also comfortable, you are looking at larger, million plus boat. With smaller cats you cannot load them down with washing machines, dryers, air conditioning and a genset large enough to power this stuff and then expect it to move swiftly through the water. You really need the waterline length and the displacement to get away with such luxuries.

Do not go with a project boat if you want to get out on the water any time soon. They always take longer and cost you more than you imagined. That is the reason why they initially seem cheap. If you are looking to save money and recover your costs, a project boat is not the place to be looking. You will never even come close to recovering your costs.
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Old 21-08-2009, 11:25   #3
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Just my opinion but the biggest mistake people make is not finding out first whether their perception of the cruising life is realistic. The story is the same with every used boat for sale throughout the Caribbean, Hawaii, etc. Before you start focusing too much on the wrong things, make sure you and your partner actually understand what living and cruising aboard entails and the only way to find out short of making a big financial mistake is not by reading about it but by trying it for more than a short duration charter.
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Old 21-08-2009, 11:46   #4
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Before you jump in get some sailing experience as others have said. Take some lessons, charter a cat and try it out. It takes many years of sailing before you know what you really want in a boat. What others prefer might not be to your liking and this boat will be for you and your spouse. I don't know how many years you're looking ahead but you should start now on the sailing bit. Worry about the boat when you're ready to buy. You are putting the cart before the horse.

You want a washing machine and air conditioning yet you don't list a generator. There is no mention of power generation at all and you will find, once you go cruising, this is a very important element to successful cruising. These are things you will come to grips with once you have a better idea of what type of "cruising" you're going to do.
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Old 21-08-2009, 12:17   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Just my opinion but the biggest mistake people make is not finding out first whether their perception of the cruising life is realistic. The story is the same with every used boat for sale throughout the Caribbean, Hawaii, etc. Before you start focusing too much on the wrong things, make sure you and your partner actually understand what living and cruising aboard entails and the only way to find out short of making a big financial mistake is not by reading about it but by trying it for more than a short duration charter.
This exactly right, except that I think with your budget a one week crewed charter in the BVIs for example is a good first step. It's a distorted view because they will take you to a new place every day, and cruisers don't do that. But you will get an idea of what living on a catamaran is like; you will learn some sailing skills; you can ask questions of an experienced skipper whenever they occur to you; you will discover some things that you like or don't like about that particular boat;and you will likely have a blast. For anyone with time and determination, access to and learning the sailing part is easy. Accessing the cruising part is much harder, and if you don't like it, learning to sail may be a waste of your time.
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Old 21-08-2009, 12:21   #6
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Agreed.
Being at sea is hard. Its more like camping than living in a tiny condominium. Its rewarding at times yes. See if this is how you want to live before putting down the big bucks.
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Old 21-08-2009, 14:15   #7
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Also try out a large trawler with a small diesel, lots of space, full kitchen, full bath, space for guests, a deck for yoga, your own computer room, etc. Something big enough to actually live on in comfort that will go anywhere.
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Old 21-08-2009, 16:16   #8
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Cost effective...

I have read that catamarans have many attributes, but up to now none of them has been cost effectiveness.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that a catamaran can be double the cost of a mono.

For cost effective I'd go with the trawler.
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Old 21-08-2009, 16:32   #9
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Anecdotal evidence suggests that a catamaran can be double the cost of a mono.
Yup. The common lore re modern cruising cats vs. cruising monos for a given LOA is:

1. Twice as fast.

2. Twice the room.

3. Twice the cost.

#3 is closest to the truth.
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Old 21-08-2009, 16:33   #10
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"Cost Effective?!?"

If it is cost effectiveness you want, don't buy a boat! They are lousy investments, in terms of financial return. If you add "fun" into the mix, then if you like sailing, traveling, meeting lots of really cool people, getting occasionally scared, learning lots of new stuff, having to keep on your toes (really good for 50+ year old brains), making great memories; then it is one of the best and most "cost effective" ways to do all of those. In my opinion.

By the way, welcome to the forum!

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Old 21-08-2009, 16:39   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Just my opinion but the biggest mistake people make is not finding out first whether their perception of the cruising life is realistic. The story is the same with every used boat for sale throughout the Caribbean, Hawaii, etc. Before you start focusing too much on the wrong things, make sure you and your partner actually understand what living and cruising aboard entails and the only way to find out short of making a big financial mistake is not by reading about it but by trying it for more than a short duration charter.
Illusion,
That is a great statement, it just sounds funny coming from a boat with your name: Illusion. Did you start out with illusions of what cruising was about?

Paul L
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Old 21-08-2009, 16:59   #12
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retirement

Twinkles,

It comes down to where you want to operate. Warm tropical waters=cat
In the 40's=mono.
cost Its nice to have two of everything-engines heads etc down side the cost when in marinas some will want to charge up to twice that of a mono but you can work around that. Hire & have a few trips on both.

regards Bill Goodward (retired)
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Old 21-08-2009, 17:46   #13
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Illusion,
That is a great statement, it just sounds funny coming from a boat with your name: Illusion. Did you start out with illusions of what cruising was about?

Paul L
My frame of mind when thinking about cruising was better described as a delusion. Having spent a year+ cruising, I'd never do it again although I am glad to have had the experience. When I consider that we had many years of local cruising under our keel before going to the Pacific where there were far too many people who gave up and walked away from their boat, I can not help but be somewhat negative when I read posts like this.

Everybody is different and there are certainly many people enjoying the lifestyle. It's just a good idea to know how deep the hole is before jumping in.

In answer to your question, the name on the side while we were out there was S/V Impetuous
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Old 21-08-2009, 18:47   #14
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Hi Twinkles,
If your wife / partner is not as convinced as you are that sailing away on a catamaran is the best possible way to retire, I'm afraid that she could use some of the replies to your post to dampen your optimism.
So I just wanted to send a short hello and encourage you to go ahead with the dream we all share, and sail away into the sunset. Many people sailing out there had not much experience (beyond what they had read) when they started, and learnt along the way. For example, if you read French, here is a blog I've just found: www.laruel.be
You have obviously read a lot, so the next step is to bareboat a 36-42 ft cat in the Caribbean (maybe you could arrange to have a skipper for the first 2-3 days). This will ensure that your dream becomes hers as well.
Cheers
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Old 21-08-2009, 19:31   #15
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Delusion ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
My frame of mind when thinking about cruising was better described as a delusion. Having spent a year+ cruising, I'd never do it again although I am glad to have had the experience.

Hi Illusion,
I would be grateful if you could please explain how your dream turned to delusion (I haven't found any clues in the threads you have started on this forum)
Has your delusion to do mostly with the people you met, the cruising conditions, seas, weather, moorings... ? Endless maintenance problems with your boat ? Or were your expectations too high ?
Thanks
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