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Old 23-12-2014, 10:41   #16
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Re: Hiring a consultant to help choose The Boat

I think you are getting good advice all around. You should do your own research since you must own the decision. Of course, we don't mind being your kibitzer consultants. Just keep in mind the aphorism, "You get what you pay for." If this thread has legs, I expect you will get a diversity of opinions spanning the gamut. If you think you must rely on a professional consultant, the two mentioned, Bob Perry and John Neil, are competent and have good reputations. In any case, I second the motion that you should retain a reputable and competent marine surveyor (marine, haulout, and engine) before you make a purchase decision. If at all possible, you should be there for these surveys to see firsthand, ask questions, and learn.

Merry Christmas!

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Old 23-12-2014, 12:15   #17

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Re: Hiring a consultant to help choose The Boat

1. take formal sailing classes.

2. Go sailing with the folks you met in class. Or, get certified to charter boats, and spend some time on chartered boats.

Any way you can do it, spend some time on boats. Book learning is all well and good, other people's opinions are all well and good. But nothing will replace your own opinions after you've spent time on the boats.

What one sailor calls "stable" the next calls "tipsy" and the third calls "a real slug". What you call "spacious" the next calls "cabin fever" and the third complains they're getting thrown around, it is way too big.

Get on some boats. Odds are, the first one should be one that can easily be resold without a great loss, because after one season, you're going to decide something else might suit you better.

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Old 23-12-2014, 12:22   #18
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Re: Hiring a consultant to help choose The Boat

A consultant, even Bob Perry, or a very experienced buyer's broker who specializes in blue water boats is going to give you generalized advice. They are going to put a list of boats in front of you that you can, for the most part, pretty easily assemble yourself from a bit of Googling. Narrowing down the list is something you have to do yourself, and the best way to go about that is to get time on those boats, preferably away from the dock but even up on the hard if that's the best you can do. Take your time. Some features will advance to the fore as being really important to you, while others will recede into being of trivial value.

More time on the boats = a better decision that you'll be happier with.
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Old 23-12-2014, 12:47   #19
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Re: Hiring a consultant to help choose The Boat

Latchdaddy, the trick to buying boats is that the boat you may like now may not be the boat that will fit you best in a year or two after you have more knowledge and experience. The things that seem mysterious now will likely be familiar and comfortable, but you'll always have new questions and challenges and things to learn.
So the advice to look at a whole lot of different boats, take lessons and go for rides on many boats, go on charters, chat up old salts, take basic classes, and learn as much as you can, is all spot on. Sailing is many things to many people. And learning to sail and cruise works differently for different people. And, dreams do change and evolve. And for some, the dream isn't always what was expected -- which could be bad or good.
It can be frustrating to have so many choices and possibilities and not know just how to find the right fit, but the process is resistant to shortcuts if you want a boat with which you can be really happy.
A consultant can help, but you'd have to put a lot of energy and time into making sure the consultant really knows what you want, is fully supporting your needs and wants and listening carefully, and is knowledgeable and patient enough to insist on doing the right search and not go for a quick fix.
One other issue that impacts how happy boat owners are is how independent or dependent they are on outside help. There's lots of potential to be frustrated if you are very dependent upon outside help and that help lets you down by being less competent, diligent, efficient, affordable, or honest than expected. The more you learn about boats and participate in selecting, evaluating, and customizing your boat, the better able you'll likely know just what help you need and to evaluate the competency and value of the help.
And, yes, the really well-off folks can hire captains and yacht management companies... but if you have to ask how much that costs...
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Old 23-12-2014, 12:47   #20
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Re: Hiring a consultant to help choose The Boat

Look at the number of different boats and different cruising styles out there. Look at the number of debates on this site over seeminly trivial differences in boats. Generally no one is wrong (unless they don't agree with you that is).

Any consultant you pay will be biased towards the approach HE prefers. I really wonder about someone who is planning to buy and move aboard but doesn't know what they want (at least in rough terms). Do you have any boating experience?

The money might be better spent going to one of the big boat shows (annapolis or miami) and in addition to getting on dozens of boats also go to the cruising seminars, so you get a wide range of views. Worst case, you get a nice trip out of the deal.

You really need to do a lot of research and not try to just hand it off to a so called expert.
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Old 23-12-2014, 13:32   #21
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Re: Hiring a consultant to help choose The Boat

With your time frame and money, you can buy a pretty nice intermediate boat, and figure out what you like and don't like about it. You then can select a boat with what you learned.

Buy the boat you can use now, and the perfect boat for your next adventure will just sort of show up.
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Old 23-12-2014, 13:38   #22
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Re: Hiring a consultant to help choose The Boat

If you are not comfortable making this decision you are not yet experience enough to skipper the boats you are looking at. Get something small that you can handle able build up experience so that you know what you are looking for. Basically you are looking for some sort of marine realtor, how many realtors have you met that you would trust with your life!
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Old 23-12-2014, 13:46   #23
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Re: Hiring a consultant to help choose The Boat

Call Tony Duni owner of Heritage Yachts in Wilmington or Long Beach California. I've used him a couple of times. Very honest and patient. He will help you find a boat anywhere including Europe as a buyers broker.
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Old 23-12-2014, 13:49   #24
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Re: Hiring a consultant to help choose The Boat

So far you've gotten good advice all around.

One thing I'd like to add is that cast iron keels are generally a maintenance headache, long term. Ferrous metals and salt water don't belong together. They only exist to reduce build cost or to accommodate a complicated mechanical lifting keel. I'd never own one again.
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Old 23-12-2014, 13:55   #25
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Re: Hiring a consultant to help choose The Boat

"...You should do your own research since you must own the decision. Of course, we don't mind being your kibitzer consultants."

You're right about it being a small field, I'd never realised there were such animals as boat consultants until I got to this side of the Atlantic. In the Caribbean and mainland US we've now met three long-term cruising/potential circumnavigating yachts which were bought and fitted out under the guidance/supervision of a 'Specialist Consultant'. All three have subsequently had a whole lot more expensive work done on them to make them more suitable/user friendly; what sort of 'expert' sends people of cruising on yachts with no electrical generation capability beyond the engine's alternator?
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Old 23-12-2014, 15:01   #26
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Re: Hiring a consultant to help choose The Boat

I agree. John Neal at knows a great deal about bluewater boats and is a great resource and sounding board, all for a flat fee with no vested interest in a particular brand. Although in the end you need to make your own decision based on budget, emotion, experience and research. But why not get input from a guy that has sailed 10 times round the globe and keeps detailed notes on every blue water boat out there. You can ignore his advice if you have evidence to the long as you believe your opinion is as well validated, and your experience equal.
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Old 23-12-2014, 15:03   #27
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Re: Hiring a consultant to help choose The Boat

Originally Posted by Latchdaddy View Post
Greetings, this is my first post.

I'm looking for recommended consultants who specialize in helping choose a boat. I understand this is a small field but they do exist.

Anyone with experience using one would be very interesting.

At the moment the choices can become overwhelming and I would be happy to have some guidance.

Merry Christmas!

Since you say this is your first post in the forum, "Welcome Aboard!"

I have read all of the responses you have gotten so far, and it appears you have picked an opening topic on which there are many different opinions, something you might see as common here on the forum.

Ask any two sailors which boat is best and you will get at least three opinions.

I can understand the role of a good consultant and how one could help you or others who get overwhelmed with the choices and decisions and the learning curve (if one is new to sailing or buying boats).

Some here think you need to do it all yourself. I can see their point, but I also know that for some, it is a good idea to have some expertise (real experts) helping them in a trusted advisory role, as a consultant who will develop a real understanding of what the boat buyer wants and works to help them get it. And, while some of us have lots of time to learn about different boats and gear, some others may want to focus their time on enjoying a boat without having to spend years learning about other boats.

Since buying a boat may be a significant investment of money and time and possibly an emotional commitment (e.g. to make a life-long dream come true), I can see how hiring an experienced and good consultant could be a smart move and could be less costly than making a mistake in choosing the boat, or the fitting out (equipping or customizing) and many other decisions that require some knowledge and experience in order to know what is best to fit the buyer.

Many members of this forum have years of experience with a single boat, or perhaps with several boats. Many "trade up" or down over time too. But, I can also see a role for a consultant to help someone who may want to "get it right" (as much as possible) in the first boat. Some of us just don't have many years to move from one boat to another and years to learn the nuances of what gear is best for the projected use of the boat to satisfy the new owner.

So, yes, I see a very good role for an experienced consultant who could help a new boat buyer get the best fitting boat for them.

I wish you the best of luck on your decisions, and I also wish you a Happy Holidays too!
Ahoy All Sailors! I love traditional sailboats of all kinds (e.g. gaff rigged, schooners, cutters, smacks, woodies, etc.). See my CF Profile "About Me" page for details.
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Old 23-12-2014, 15:10   #28
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Re: Hiring a consultant to help choose The Boat

Many might want instant gratification, while making no real effort, themselves. But I think you get out of this what you are willing to put into it.
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Old 23-12-2014, 15:39   #29
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Re: Hiring a consultant to help choose The Boat

It begs a poll: "Did you hire a consultant before choosing a boat?"
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard

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Old 23-12-2014, 15:59   #30
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Re: Hiring a consultant to help choose The Boat

Whether it be someone like John Neil or some other sailor the advise will come with bias. If you have not done enough homework yourself then you will simply inherit that bias. Much better to educate yourself, makes for great conversations. Remember often the sizzle is almost as much fun as the steak!

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