A 20 foot cruiser is going to be hard. Most boats this size are going to be day sailers with scant to no accommodations or weather
protection. The West Wight Potter and Flicka are two notable exceptions. The Flicka being a true offshore passage
maker! But finding either for a grand is about as likely as catching a unicorn.
At 22 feet, two great boats come up; the Macgreggor Venture 22 and the Catalina 22. The pop top feature gives you standing headroom
in the salon
, the only boats in this size range that can claim that as far as I know. Just putting your pants on in a boat you can't stand in becomes an aggravation. being able to stand up and take a quick 360 degree look around is very useful, too. Porta Pottis negate the whole marine head
and holding tank
Of the two, I like the Macgreggor, because the centerboard
swings completely up into the hull
. So it floats in six inches of water vs 1 1/2 feet. And it dries out level. Though the Catalina may generally be better regarded.
The best thing about these boats for you is that you can actually find them. There are, literally, hundreds if not thousands of them mouldering away on trailers in people yards that haven't seen water in years. They are weekenders, really. But I know people who have lived and cruised for months on them.
Now if you can get yourself up to 24 feet, you move into a whole different class of boat. There are some comfortable and seaworthy
cruising classics in this size, many of which are mentioned above. And these boats will tend to be better equipped. And much more stoutly built. And even more common.
My personal favorite is the Folkboat
. But you're unicorn hunting again if you want one for a grand!
At this price
is actually more important than the boat. You can spend thousands to equip even a 22 footer if it needs all new sails
, wire rigging
, sail handling lines, anchors, wiring
, lights, motor
, gas tank and fuel
line, instruments like a compass
, depth sounder
, binoculars, etc., PFD's, Bimini
top, cushion covers, deck hardware
, stove, propane
tank, and on and on and on and on.
Interesting exercise: log onto West Marine
or Defender. Add up all the stuff on the list I just mentioned. See what you come up with!
A lot of this stuff can be rounded up pretty cheap on Craigslist and at nautical flea markets. But if you don't know what you're buying
, you can waste a lot of money on junk that never works quite right for your boat. Much better to find a boat that has all this stuff on it already. And a lot of this gear
will have been stripped off the typical thousand dollar boat.
Look at it this way, what you're really looking for is a bunch of cruising gear
with a free boat thrown in!
A cruiser for a grand? A great challenge! But i think it can be done. Much depends on where you are. But if you are willing to hunt, are mobile, can be patient and diligent, I bet you can do it. Now if you only had another thou, or could go another four feet....lol. You can play that game
There is someone out there with the perfect boat for you and in just the right situation to let you have it cheap. Someone who is moving or has lost
can be very motivated to get rid of a boat they have no use for.
Read, study, go look at some boats for sale
. Start trolling Craigslist and the local DYI boat yards and talking to people. No local boatyards
? Then you're in the wrong place! Educate yourself. Keep an open mind and be flexible. Some will say you can't afford to be choosy. I say you can't afford not to be!
But once you figure out generally what you're looking for you'll need to be quick and decisive. The good deals go fast. If it's on Craigslist, you may have only hours or minutes to pounce!
But don't buy junk. It will only cost you more in the long run.