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Old 06-10-2007, 07:39   #1
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Buying a Cruising Boat?

I'm going to buy a cruiser in a year or so and I'm making plans and shopping now........
The problem is........ I don't have a real good grip on what group of boats to focus on. I'm planning on spending 100 to 150 K.
I know I do not want a Hunter. Hinckleys and the like are out of my league, unless they are much older than I prefer. Morgans, Pearsons, Whitbys, Endeavours..... seem to be good offshore/bluewater boats.
But, I am want to be as informed as possible when I buy. I do not want to say "Dam, I wish I hadn't bought this brand of boat a month after-the-fact". I want a boat that I can stay offshore in a blow and not fear for my life. I know there will be a certain amount of "Ford vs. Chevy". But, I will try to filter thru that.
Lemme know what you think. Thank you for your time.

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Old 06-10-2007, 08:23   #2
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What type of boat you buy is largely determined by what you plan on using it for and your budget. You covered some of that already.

Where do you plan on taking the boat? Will you be living on the boat for extended periods of time? Will the boat be a liveaboard? What waters do you plan on traveling to and from? How many people will be on board? Are you the type who likes to keep things simple or do you prefer to have all the amenities? So much of it is qualitative as well such as do you like how the boat looks?

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Old 06-10-2007, 12:19   #3
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Aloha Joe,
Welcome to the world of choice. Unlike cars, boats can offer lots of choices. Lots of power, speed, length, weight and interior accomodations are offered.
Here's my humble opinion which I have expressed since joining this forum. If it is you and your wife pick a 32-36 fiberglass monohull with a diesel engine and cutter rig with an aft cockpit. Start looking at the very best quality boat you can afford in those parameters. Strike up a conversation with anyone on a dock and go aboard if they indicate they wouldn't mind (ask first) by asking, "Request permission to come aboard?" Go to boat shows but beware of all the hipe and glitz.
If you absolutely must have a longer boat then you can start looking at larger versions but my experience after sailing and owning boats to 55 is that 36 is plenty for a single or couple.
Kind Regards,
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Old 06-10-2007, 14:42   #4
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Another aspect of boat buying is how much preparation you can put into the boat (and yourself) make it suitable for cruising.

Reading between the lines it seems that those who buy a boat in new to very good condition can go cruising much sooner.

When evaluating a possible boat I feel that much greater weight should be put on the condition of the engine/transmission. It really should be new or near new, not old and reconditioned. There are many reports of engine repairs in exotic locations and they don't sound like fun. I found working on the engine to be difficult and time consuming in the middle of a large city (Sydney, Australia) where almost everything is readily available.
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Old 06-10-2007, 18:20   #5
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You have to have a data gathering game plan. How much you are going to spend is really late in the equation. You may discover that the type of use yuo plan puts the ideal boat out of touch but don't make the amount of money you spend the primary target or you risk buying an undercapable or overcapable boat.

1/ What type of cruising do you want to do?
2/ What sailing skill do you have and how will you increase them to match #1.
3/ What type of maintenance and engineering skills do you have and do you need to increase them to be self sufficient based on #1? How will you do that?
4/ How many boats have you sailed on and how will you get esposed to more and varied types of boats.
5/ What is the financial plan? After purchase do you have 25%-50% of the boat value for refit and surprises? Do you have $1,000 a month to run a big boat?
6/ How many crew will you have? Single handed?
7/ How much of a "tinkerer" are you - Teak decks and wooden boats require lots of TLC. Is plastic better? Steel? Ferro? (personally I wouldn't get a boat with lots of wood - I know how lazy I am)
8/ What are going to be the predominant cruising grounds? Cold weather? Hot weather? Interior fitout could be important.

Finally, I'd say there is no perfect boat. All boats are compromises to achieve the predominant mission. Folks around hre keep steering me towards plastic race/cruisers. Low cabins, sleek designs - to me that means dark and stuffy inside. I keep telling them that I am a true lazy cruiser. I'd rathe spend 2 extra days on a boat I like than 2 fewer days on a boat I hate. When it rains I want to be below decks on the hook drinking hot java and looking out the large windows. I don't want to be holed up below the waterline with no air for 24 hours+.

If you plan is to see how fast you can get from the Galapagos to Hawaii, buy a plane ticket in my book - LOL.

Just some thoughts out of the gate...
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Old 07-10-2007, 16:47   #6
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Umm.. Lessee.
I lived on St. John for three years and owned and sailed a 37' Islander. She was old and I did a lot of fixing but she sailed pretty good an I felt she was 'seaworthy'. I would not have been afraid to take her on offshore passages. I have been at the helm of a few other boats, but not much. During that period, I sailed all over the VI but..... I did not have an opportunity to go 'down island'. So, I feel a bit unfulfilled. I raced every Wed. nite in the Coral Bay Pursuit race, sometimes singlehanded. But, my offshore skills are almost nil.
I plan to buy my boat somewhere on the East Coast and spend a few weeks getting to know her before setting out.
I am pretty good at fixing but I'm 66 and I do not want want to tackle a major refit. I would not want to try a major engine overhaul without help unless I feared for my life in some strange land.
I do not mind complexity....... but need good written instructions. I want SSB, a watermaker, radar, refrigeration, on board clothes washing, etc. etc.
I do not mind wood below but otherwise...... little or none is my goal. My old Islander had a teak toe rail, waay too damn much wood in the cockpit, etc. It looked nice when it was freshly finished but every time I turned around it needed another 6 or 7 coats of Sickens.
I am planning on making St John my home base........ I have friends there who will accompany us on the way down if asked. I hope to work on my offshore skills on the way down. I will head further down when I feel comfortable and I can find another boat or two to tag along with on my 'maiden voyage'.
We will be living aboard and most of my cruising will be confined to the Caribbean. Will probably head back North during hurricane season ....... as far North as I can stand. Or....... I may put her on the hard in Trinidad and go exploring.
I doubt I will ever venture out into the Pacific but... who know what the future holds?
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Old 09-10-2007, 22:18   #7
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The boat you discribe sounds like my boat. It took me a while to find it and it won't be for sale for some time. It is a lazy man's cruiser with all the ammenities including satellite TV.It even sails pretty fair. Good luck in your search.

The basis of accomplishment is in never quitting
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