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View Poll Results: Which Boat for a Family of 4 for around $100k Ready to Sail
Westsail 42 0 0%
Hans Christian 38 1 3.33%
Whitby 42 9 30.00%
Cabo Rico 38 2 6.67%
Endeavour 43 4 13.33%
Tayana 42 2 6.67%
Valiant 40 4 13.33%
Tayana 37 2 6.67%
Endeavour 40 3 10.00%
Westsail 32 0 0%
Southern Cross 39 2 6.67%
Morgan 382 1 3.33%
Voters: 30. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-01-2010, 17:54   #1
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Help Me Pick My Boat (Family of Four Liveaboard)

Looking at boats suitable for living aboard w/ my family of 4 (2 girls 13 & 9)
Our goal is to move aboard and spend a few years sailing around Florida and the Caribbean and then who knows what we will decide to do. We have limited income while cruising and based on the budget I've come up with (we know how that goes) I'm looking at spending between $50-$80k initially and refitting/updating with another $20-40k for a boat budget of around $100k total. I'd rather spend less on the boat and cruise more but I WILL HAVE 3 girls aboard so comfort is a concern.

Westsail 42
Hans Christian 38
Whitby 42
Cabo Rico 38
Endeavour 43
Tayana 42
Valiant 40
Tayana 37
Endeavour 40
Westsail 32
Southern Cross 39
Morgan 382
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Old 12-01-2010, 19:58   #2
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I would go with the morgan 382,,,,,,,,google this boat and you will find it is regarded well.
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Old 13-01-2010, 14:51   #3
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First the disclaimer.... you will get opinions in reply, and not all opinions are good ones / fit into your vision..... so now I offer my opinion

I voted for the E43 since comfort / accommodations were your primary concern. You put together a nice list, and if you've actually SEEN these boats you are well on your way. My hunch is that you've not yet seen all of these, else the list would be much shorter already.

Anyway, the Endeavour 43s are hard to beat for roominess. They don't sail all that well in light air because they are big, beamy and have lots of interior room. So if accommodations are REALLY what you seek, I think the E43 will serve you well.

As a class, watch out for:
- tankage problems. They are aluminum tanks in the bilge and most have leaked by now. Find one that's had the tanks replaced already. Fuel tank is beneath the engine, so replacement is not trivial.
- FWD mast step is a hunk of steel I-beam in the bilge. If this has not been maintained I guarantee it will look like swiss cheese. Shy away from the boats that have just poured resin into the bilge pocket around the step. You won't be able to see if they fixed the steel first or if they just covered up the rust with resin.
- the original plastic ports all leaked. There are several that have had them replaced with a proper ss / bronze port that can actually keep water out. I think I remember 13 ports to replace when I was evaluating refit costs...
- deck de-lamination can be a problem. Be sure there are no soft spots.
- the original Perkins 4-108 (I think) was barely adequate for horsepower. They are great engines however and can run forever if maintained. Bonus points if you find one that's been repowered with something in the 75 hp range.
- toss out the 12v RV refrigerator and install some real refrigeration.....

Don't want to sound negative on these boats - we nearly bought one. Just know what this particular model offers by way of common problems. I wouldn't be afraid to be offshore in one in a storm - solid hulls and high freeboard to keep you dry in that big roomy cockpit.

Remember that all Westsail boats were "kit" boats that each owner was left to finish the interior layout. A few exceptions I'm sure, but when you've seen one Westsail, you've seen exactly one Westsail.

From your list the E43 has the most interior room by far.

Good luck with your search and decision.

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Old 13-01-2010, 17:35   #4
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Is the question realistic? 100k and a ready to sail 40+ footer?

Well, if it is, then perhaps something with the lowest initial cost (purchase) and the highest repairability. And NO major problems - nothing you cannot fix yourself.

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Old 13-01-2010, 18:40   #5
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@TugTubPaul: I tend to gravitate toward Perry and Brewer designs. the Morgan does seem to be the least expensive of the group.

@markpj23: Thanks for the input. I haven't looked at the boats yet. I'm still in NC about 120 miles from the nearest marina. We do plan on moving to Florida in the Spring and we'll probably get serious about stepping on board some time around then.

@barnakiel: I hope it is realistic, I know there are people out there cruising on that and less.. some in smaller boats. I've been able to fix everything I've tried to fix so I think given the time and research I can probably do it.. given the proper tools and all. Shouldn't a boat I pick up for $60k be able to be refitted/readied for another $40k? I am leaning toward a lower initial price and doing a lot of work on it myself. I expect probably a good 6 months or so to get it ready to go. I may get luck and have her ship shape in less time.
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Old 13-01-2010, 18:45   #6
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I'm curious as to the age of your children? Mine are 16 and 10. I'm sure I'm not looking at living aboard anytime soon, but it sure sounds like a great dream!
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Old 14-01-2010, 11:48   #7
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Originally Posted by iSaint View Post
I'm curious as to the age of your children? Mine are 16 and 10. I'm sure I'm not looking at living aboard anytime soon, but it sure sounds like a great dream!
They are 9 & 13.
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Old 14-01-2010, 12:52   #8
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Re: Westsails and kits -

IINM, only about 400 of the more than 800 Westsail 32's produced were sold as kits.
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Old 14-01-2010, 13:59   #9
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I voted for the Valiant 40 simply because I have loved everything about them since Bob Perry designed the first one. However, ...

There is a really nice Whitby 42 for sale here in Kemah, TX which you can find on the Yachtworld website. The aft cabin and wide beam strike me as a good combination for your purpose.
It reportedly just came back from a 2 year cruise in the Carib, and it surely seems to be ready to go back, based on the web listing. It's a bit more than I am looking for, and my budget isnt approaching 100k. I havent gone to see it in person. The listing price of $89k is pushing your numbers, but it may not need much more (always a risky assumption - I know, I know).
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Old 14-01-2010, 16:08   #10
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Originally Posted by _Oxygen_ View Post

Shouldn't a boat I pick up for $60k be able to be refitted/readied for another $40k?
As you said you can and will work - I believe this improves your chances. The 6 months may be an issue. I believe a quality boat can be brought to very good shape unless she has a major problem, but you are not going to buy such a boat. The 6 months time - I think day in day out and NO distractions (work, family life, etc.). Then yes.

I think being very, very cautious (and informed) and fishing for the right thing will put you half way on the right track - making any mistake choosing the project boat will wipe out your time-line and budget. But if you chose the right boat then you are half way there.

Good luck, keep us updated on developments.
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Old 14-01-2010, 16:19   #11
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BTW Given the updated input I had a look at the initial list and I will vote for a:

TAYANA 42, center cockpit,

(if you can get one in this price range(?))

I know personally about half of the boats on the list and the Tayana 42 cc has an aft cabin (I nice one) that will be very nice for you and your wife while the girls may have their private space forward. Then midships there is a nice place to meet, cook, learn, play and talk. Seen one up close an personal and with my limited experience I would trust my blue water adventures to a boat of this quality.

I also pick Tayana because I believe it is a Harris design. The Harris of Vancouvers. So the design, sea-kindness, rig, etc should give you an easy and safe boat/home. (But the same applies to some other boats on the list).

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Old 14-01-2010, 18:43   #12
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Hans Christian?

I've always liked the Hans Christians. Never been on board one but they sure look like quality from the dock.
Anyone with experience of them?
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Old 14-01-2010, 21:44   #13
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I know a lot of these boats. I own a E40.
Here is what I think. Given your situation, esp. with your 2 daughters, you need a true 2 stateroom boat that you can find at a good price, and have the money to get it right.
The E40 is a idea boat for your situation. Nice looking, center cockpit with 2 very nice seperate staterooms and a nice center salon/galley/nav. You also have 2 seperate heads. Tankage is good. She sails well. Will take you where you need to go. The cockpit is fine for 4 or more. A nice aft deck is a plus. Sloop rigged, so not difficult to sail. Made in america with good build quality. A few of them are available right now on yachtworld at attractive prices. And a fairly active owners group. All pluses.

THe negatives of Endeavours are: Fuel tanks are below the engine in the bilge. Made of 0.125" aluminum, they are prone to crevice corrosion on the welds. It WILL need to be replaced if original. Contrary to popular belief, it is not that hard to do, just time consuming. A new tank from FLorida Marine tanks (the original supplier ) is around 1000 usd. Figure 3 days to get it out max, and 2 to replace it.
The aluminum water tanks are in the upper bilge, should be ok. I ripped mine out. Still working on the best way to replace them...
The mast step can be a problem. Mine is not.
The original port lights sucked. I have to replace them. Going with new found metal trimatrix. At 125 per port, not expensive. There are 16 of them.
The perkins 4-108 is adequate for this boat. A bigger engine would just suck the diesel faster. Get a good survey.
This is not a boat to go to the extremes, but for most cruising it is a great boat. The others on your list imo have faults that cannot compare to the endeavour. Note the E43 is a MUCH different boat. I would not suggest it, but if your looking for a bigger boat, its a consideraton.
The hans Christians are high maintaince boats. Nice to look at but with more problems than you might be willing to tackle. A lot of good ones out there but they are pricy.
The valiants are great boats but in the price range you are looking at... you would be dealing with older boats that had major resin problems with the hull. But no doubt the valiants can be great boats. Just not the best for a family of 4 IMO.
Same goes for the tayana 37, the west sail 32, the southern cross... all good boats for a couple, but to me, not for a family.
The west sail 42 is a good boat if it was finished properly. But about your price range.
The whitby 42 is a good boat. The price is good. If you can find a good one.
Good luck on your search.
SV Sarah Claire blog...
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Old 14-01-2010, 21:45   #14
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Awesome feedback.. I guess in order to better inform you guys.. I picked the boats based on a few things..

1. What I read on here about fin keels vs full keels, multihulls, "blue water" boats and anything else that caught my eye.

2. Reading a ton of blogs about how others picked their boat for them. Then read through their blog to see where they are now and sections in between to see how it was working out for them.

3. Lots of internet research

4. Gut

5. Price is based on an average of what I saw the boats going for on yachtworld.. If I was willing to work on a boat a little more, like update the interior, refinish the deck, bottom paint, put in a watermaker, fridge, rigging, whatever the reason I rationalized in my head.. I put a lower of the average prices and figured in a higher refit price.. Like I really like the look of the Cabo Rico 38 the reviews, a LOT of it.. that's really at the very TOP end of my price range.. I've seen them on yachtworld within my budget IF they were 100% ready.. which is never the case.. so if the majority were in the $80-90k range I figure MAYBE there's won that only need 20K worth of work to be done..

6. Read Ted Brewer's book on Yacht design.

7. Numbers based on a spreadsheet I picked up here I used to rank boats that I otherwise would be basically a tie.. like to me, never haven stepped aboard.. the Valiant 40 and the Whitby 42 are about equal in my desirability. So I look at the data and see that the Valiant may sail marginally better, the Whitby has a favorable layout w/ the dual aft berths. so I ask myself and side w/ the Whitby because I read Ted's book and found out more info about that boat than the Valiant.

Anyways.. We are so excited and I really appreciate the input.

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Old 15-01-2010, 15:51   #15
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I have been onboard, but not sailed, two Hans Christian's, the new 33 and the early 38 (I believe hull no 1 !!!). (BTW I think 33 hull 1 has been on sale in Rio Dulce recently).

Surprisingly, the smaller HCH 33 seemed better laid out and would be my preference for sailing, but she is not very big and might not meet everybody's standards of 4 people onboard (but it might be a great choice if extended cruising is the target).

The 38 was again (!) not big enough for 4!. And she was way to heavy to handle with kids. HOWEVER I believe the later 38 were re-designed and may make a completely different pair of shoes to walk in (I mean a completely different sailing boat from the early 38).

Anyway, HCH is what I would call nearly the ultimate in slow and safe boat design. They are completely different from Colin Archer clones (represented e.g. by Westsail 32) with better underbody, small and well drained cockpit and they are built to survive normal storm conditions. If I were to be sailing thru bad weather in a slow and heavy boat I would feel safe in a HCH.

One last word - do not - I say DO NOT judge the cruising boat (speed, sailability, comfort, etc) by any spreadsheets, numbers comparisons. It is OK only if you truly understand the design. I have been on boats that look like nothing on paper and sail like a dream in the real world. So - use the numbers - but give preference to first hand experience.

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