Well, a trailer sailer can be a very good way to get started, because you are not paying for a slip, and don't have to pay for haulouts since it is always hauled out and sitting right there in your driveway, ready to work on.
The trick to that is to remember you will probably be selling it in 2 to 5 years. A newer boat depreciates but usually is low maintenance
. An old boat properly maintained will not depreciate much. Buy a mid 70s fiberglass boat and it should be worth about what it is worth now. But sometimes repairs
are a dealbreaker. However, trailering the boat makes things cheaper and easier.
You could just jump right into a 30 or 35 foot boat, but a learner boat in the driveway mooring
is a good option too. I think some of the ODays would be good, and one from the early 80s could be had for $2k to $4k. A Catalana 22, or a West Wight Potter 19 come to mind. Here is something I just googled... SailboatOwners.com
. An early Hunter
or a McGregor 26 would make a learner boat. The Mac isn't much of a sea boat but it is big enough for a couple to take short coastal or inland cruises and still trailers reasonably well. Good lake boat. Tow it on vacation
and use it as a camper.
Jumping right in to a proper cruising boat is a commitment. It will start costing money
right away. Insurance
, marina slip, haulout, bottom cleaning
and painting, and lots of stuff that breaks just as you almost get caught up on the stuff that already broke. The only way to do this on a budget
, imho, is get rid of the house right away, or rent it out, maybe turn your garage into an apartment for yourselves and rent out the rest of the house so you can occasionally sleep on land, and you can store all the stuff that doesn't fit on the boat. Dock
boxes are never big enough. But you can't keep paying taxes
or mortgage or upkeep on a house when you are just getting by, unless it is paying for itself in rental, and still afford to keep a boat in the water
. Selling the house is simplest. This also burns your bridges and helps you to focus on the boat. Just make sure you got a boat that meets your needs. Avoid wood! And steel. Simply too much maintenance. Ferrocement? Maybe, if somebody who knows his stuff checks it out for you. Aluminum
? Not many aluminum
sailboats. Basically for your situation, fiberglass is pretty much it. Glass over wood wood be a poor choice, too, in general, though it can be a great way to build your own small boat.
Being in the right place at the right time with cash immediately available is the way to get a smaller boat at a great price
. A 26 to 35 foot cruising boat could be had for well under $10k, sometimes, pretty much ready to sail. I got my current
boat for $2k, and I got the slip too, when there was a several year long waiting list. So yeah if you buy locally, look for one in a transferable slip.
If you decide maybe you don't care to actually sail much after all but want to live afloat, consider a houseboat. Lots more room. Unlike other types of boat, building a houseboat isn't necessarily all that expensive, depending on how heavily marinized your construction methods and materials. A motor
yacht is also generally roomier than a sailboat. A catamaran
can be very spacious, but they typically cost a lot more than a monohull
. And speaking of room, for actual full time liveaboard
, most couples won't like anything much less than about 32' or so.
And if a boat is listed at more than just a couple grand, you really need to see a very recent survey
. I would say this should be mandatory for buying
any boat over $5k.