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Old 22-12-2009, 19:29   #1
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Question Getting Closer to Sailing Off

We've made the decision to go. I'm making arrangements to sell by business, and we'll put the house on the market in February - hoping to have a close by summer.

We don't have a boat yet (we have a 26 ft Pearson on a nearby lake and will put it up for sale in the spring too). My question to y'all is - how long does it take to find a good boat, close and take possession? I can find a lot of boats in the range we're looking for on-line - but if we buy now, it will sit in a far off marina while we're still working and living on land. I don't want to wait too long - and end up sitting somewhere, waiting on the boat to be ready.

I don't care really where it is (in the US) - that will just be our starting point. We are shooting for a 37-40 foot boat that is blue water capable. A new boat is not in our budget, but would like to find something that is less than 10 years old as insurance and financing seem to be more problematic with older boats. I'd like to keep the purchase price around $125,000 and know that we'll need to spend another $40-50,000 to get her ready.

We'd like to plan on getting the boat somewhere that we can stay the first few months to get a good feel for systems and handling before we head off - probably to the Caribbean or Central America.

We are relative rookies - I've passed the Advanced Coastal sailing and Navigation courses from ASA. My wife has taken and passed the basic keelboat, bareboat, and basic coastal cruising.

I hope this is enough information to get some meaningful suggestions from the experienced members of the forum.

Thanks in advance

Dave
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Old 22-12-2009, 20:09   #2
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Hi Dave,

Very difficult question. How long to find the right boat? For one thing, it will depend on how flexible you are on the exact boat. Of course first you have to narrow the field to a list of boats that fit your budget and are suitable for the type of sailing you plan.

Then from that list, if you have very specific likes and dislikes then it could still take months. If you are willing to accept a much wider range of models, layouts, colors, figs, etc, etc then that could happen a lot faster.

However, once you get the boat it is extremely unlikely that the boat will be turnkey, ready to sail off into the sunset. Even one in really good shape I would plan on spending many weeks at the least, more likely months, checking the boat, inspecting and learning the systems, how to work them and maintain them. Since you admit to limited experience the learning curve will be a good bit steeper.

I do think you have a realistic budget and for that should have no problem finding a suitable boat.

Good luck. Ask more questions.

Skip
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Old 22-12-2009, 21:16   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davegnvl View Post
We've made the decision to go. I'm making arrangements to sell by business, and we'll put the house on the market in February - hoping to have a close by summer.

We don't have a boat yet (we have a 26 ft Pearson on a nearby lake and will put it up for sale in the spring too). My question to y'all is - how long does it take to find a good boat, close and take possession? I can find a lot of boats in the range we're looking for on-line - but if we buy now, it will sit in a far off marina while we're still working and living on land. I don't want to wait too long - and end up sitting somewhere, waiting on the boat to be ready.

I don't care really where it is (in the US) - that will just be our starting point. We are shooting for a 37-40 foot boat that is blue water capable. A new boat is not in our budget, but would like to find something that is less than 10 years old as insurance and financing seem to be more problematic with older boats. I'd like to keep the purchase price around $125,000 and know that we'll need to spend another $40-50,000 to get her ready.

We'd like to plan on getting the boat somewhere that we can stay the first few months to get a good feel for systems and handling before we head off - probably to the Caribbean or Central America.

<snip>
This seems to be a timing and tasking exercise. I think your budget is very reasonable. However, spending 40-50k in upgrades will take some real time. Selling your current boat, selling your business and selling your house also take some real time. One way to approach things is to guestimate the timing for each major task. That can help you decide when variable tasks need to be done.

1 - Sell the business - 4 months?
2 - Sell the house - 6 months?
3 - Sell the boat - 6 months?
4 - Research and buy a boat - 6 months
5 - Refit the boat - 6 months

You can run a lot of this in parallel, of course and the timing of each sale can be compressed based on pricing. There is also the location factor. You need to be in your current location, probably, to sell your business and your boat. I know many people that have sold their house remotely.

You say that you don't care where the boat is that you plan to buy but based on where you want to cruise the East Coast is really where you want the boat to be.

If it were me I would focus on selling the business. Once that is done you now have the freedom to work full time on the other tasks. Get the boat listed in January with an April sales expectation. Spring should be a better time to move a boat.

If the business and the boat sold by April you could then relocate to a target rich environment for boats - Southeast US probably. Get a cheap small apartment. Get the boat in May-June and look for a 3 month refit.

You could be cutting lines in August - IMO.
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Old 22-12-2009, 21:54   #4
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I would say you could do it really fast if you wanted. I got the first boat I saw. When it comes down to it, it takes as long as you take
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Old 25-12-2009, 19:55   #5
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Thanks for the replies

We're going to the Chicago Simply Sailing show next month and that may help answer some of our many questions.

Another quick question comes to mind: Have you had better luck contacting a broker and having him search all his sources, or are the listings on the internet good enough to find "the" boat?
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Old 26-12-2009, 06:42   #6
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Dave, IME you will be much more responsive to your own needs - and better able to efficiently zero in on the boats that appeal to you - if you are the primary searcher, and you use brokers only insofar as they can help you burrow in on the boats you have found. (After all, broker's advertise extensively...so yours isn't an either/or Q).

You have mentioned 'finding & buying a blue water capable boat', 'a size of 37-40', '$40-50K of upgrades & personalizing being done' and 'limited experience in owning/living aboard/offshore sailing'. Given that, I'm afraid your goals are wildly optimistic, even before we look at the landside logistics (selling house, biz and boat) that you must also be doing.

Oh, you could meet your sked, to be sure. But if you are hoping that you'll depart within a 'few months' after the summer arrives, with all the boat's systems (including many new ones, apparently) fully installed & tested & tweaked, that the crew will get its own thorough shakedown and be comfortable dealing with the boat, in a blow, offshore without great anxiety, and with all the tools and at least basic skills/knowledge to repair what (inevitably) breaks, wears or needs to be re-engineered, I'd suggest you will find your sked very, very hard to meet.

My suggestion: Definitely, stick with the overall plan to unplug and move aboard. But give yourselves the first year to do little beyond moving aboard (an exhausting task, especially with all the other life changes that will compound the effort), getting to know the boat and build crew familiarity with BOTH the boat and what your own needs and preferences - your lifestyle - are, and then start chipping away at what you think needs to be done (to expand the crews' capabilities as well as the boat's).

Good luck to you.

Jack
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Old 26-12-2009, 07:44   #7
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I totally agree that it's going to take us time to learn all the systems and to learn to make repairs underway. My hope is that with a vigorous schedule of education once we get on board, and sailing as much as possible in one area (wherever we get the boat) that we can accomplish that in a few months. However, we both have agreed that if we are not comfortable then there's nothing that's going to drive us to head off before we are truly ready. Again, I hope that's not going to take a year, but if it does - at least it's on board and we're starting to live the life.

Thanks for your thoughtful insight.
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Old 26-12-2009, 08:25   #8
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Sounds like you are talking about a significant life change with very little real time knowledge of what you are entering.

What areas do you wish to sail? Coastal US waters, Gulf, Caribbean, Atlantic or Pacific or world circumnavigate? What time frame? Have you any experience in any of these areas sailing anything but more specifically the type boat you hoping to buy? So many factors need to be identified and answered before you can start to narrow down what kind of boat would best fit your needs and requirements.

When you do identify the type boat you have highest interest in, arrange to take a look at some with out any driving motivation to immediately purchase... a look see. It is what you though it would be... if not you may be better off talking with a reputable broker to help you down select the type boat best for you immediate and long term goals.

You may find as I did my immediate and long term goals with for a specific area and you may also find it is far cheaper to purchase a boat in the area you want to sail rather in the US and have to get it to the new area early in your learning for the "new" boat.
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Old 26-12-2009, 09:34   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reality Check View Post
Sounds like you are talking about a significant life change with very little real time knowledge of what you are entering.

What areas do you wish to sail? Coastal US waters, Gulf, Caribbean, Atlantic or Pacific or world circumnavigate? What time frame? Have you any experience in any of these areas sailing anything but more specifically the type boat you hoping to buy? So many factors need to be identified and answered before you can start to narrow down what kind of boat would best fit your needs and requirements.

When you do identify the type boat you have highest interest in, arrange to take a look at some with out any driving motivation to immediately purchase... a look see. It is what you though it would be... if not you may be better off talking with a reputable broker to help you down select the type boat best for you immediate and long term goals.

You may find as I did my immediate and long term goals with for a specific area and you may also find it is far cheaper to purchase a boat in the area you want to sail rather in the US and have to get it to the new area early in your learning for the "new" boat.
That's absolutely correct. The first time I ever set foot on a sailboat was in the fall of 2008. Since then I've had 2 Gulf stream crossings and had one bare boat charter, but still feel like a rookie. We realize that we need experience and do plan to stay put at wherever our new home base will be for months or even a year as be build that experience.

After we feel ready to venture out further from that base, our plan is to sail in the Caribbean for the first year or two. Long term goals are Europe and then possibly a circumnavigation - but know that those goals are 5+ years away with lots of experience under our belts by then.

Your suggestion of getting a boat at a possible destination seems like one we should look into more. Starting off in the Virgin Islands, for example, would be great. The biggest drawback to that that I see right now is that with our time-frame, we'd be starting there during hurricane season - probably not a good start for rookies. More realistic would be somewhere on the Gulf or Atlantic coasts so we could venture out into the ocean as well as have the protection of a marina in case a hurricane does come up (one that would haul us out presumably).

We both have been busy professionals and learn quickly. We are ready to leave the constant demands of the healthcare and educational systems that we live in now, and a drastic change to a constant challenge and independence is what we seek.
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