Greetings Buck! If all you are considering is coastal cruising and a trip to the Bahamas
, you will not need what would traditionally be considered an 'offhsore' boat. This will open up many more possibilities in your price range.
I tend to agree with the those suggesting that you stay away from a center-cockpit layout. Particularly in the size range you are looking at, you can only get standing headroom
in the walkway to the aft cabin if the boat has HUGE freeboard; this will have adverse effects not only on appearance, but also on the boat's performance to windward and while under anchor
. And of course a center cockpit will be wetter while underway, will tend to raise the boat's center of gravity, and will be much more difficult for ingress/egress while docking
There are numerous Beneteau's, Jenneau's, Pearsons, C.S.'s etc. from the mid 1980's which will have decent sailing performance/construction and the benefit of a separate aft cabin, all while avoiding the negatives of a center cockpit. Essentially, this layout (small aft cabin, aft head
) was first popularized around that time and has continued to be the most popular in boats in your size range.
It will put you into a somewhat newer boat and hence, a little less LOA
for the buck than something built in the 70's. That being said, you will actually gain in useable interior
space compared to more traditional layouts, and will also tend to have newer gear/equipment. Propane
ranges, for example, did not become standard equipment
until the 1980's, most manufacturers choosing instead to install inferior, but traditional alcohol/kerosene stoves. Further, by the mid 80's most manufacturers were installing ST winches and leading the lines aft to clutches on the coachouse.
It is also important to bear in mind that by the mid 1980's many manufacturers were giving consideration to the use of isothalphic resins/epoxy barrier coats in order to reduce the risk of osmotic blistering. Further, the reduction in the use of teak
will reduce maintenance
To find a nice example that is also well equipped for cruising may result in your having to reduce your expected LOA
to the 32' - 34' range. But remember that docking
is by the foot, and the cost of replacing sails
, running and standing rigging
, anchors/rode etc. will all be cheaper on the smaller vessel. You will end up with a boat that will likely be easier to re-sell down the road (as it is more modern in layout/appearance) and which will have accomodation greater than most of the traditional designs of the 70's. In addition, they perform quite well on all points of sail and in all conditions except the most extreme.