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Old 20-04-2015, 21:11   #1
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help me with buying a blue water yacht

Hi guys!!

My name is Konrad. I'm 25, and I am in the process of buying my first yacht.
I am saving really hard and my goal is around 40k.
I am looking at doing major ocean crosses by myself.

I am looking for some help with what yacht I should buy.
The important things that I am looking for are:
Extremely sea worthy, capable of completing a circumnavigation.
Can be comfortably sailed by myself.
Not to small, between 31-37 ft
I am doing as much research as I can but a lot of people have different opinions..

Tiller or wheel?
I am not opposed to tiller but I don't like the look of tiller pilots, they seem flimsy and temperamental. A windvane would be great while there's wind though.

Fin keel or full keel?

Speed is not as important to me as being a bit more stable in rough weather and at anchor. I like the idea of a full keel better protecting the rudder in case of a collision. Any thoughts?

From what I have seen so far I am interested in a:
Sparkman and Stephens 34
Sadler 34
Westsail 32

Any help would be awesome, I am so keen! Its all I think about :s

I will have enough money by November so I really want to have a good idea in my mind of which boat to buy.
Thanks for your help!!
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Old 20-04-2015, 22:41   #2
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Re: help me with buying a blue water yacht

My advice (after many years and miles under sail) would be to buy a smaller boat to learn on. Something to spend weekends on, and get out in as much different weather as you can. A few weeks cruising on a smaller boat that you have to handle and maintain by yourself will give you a much better idea of what you really want. I see nothing wrong with the boats you have mentioned, but it is very difficult to know how to outfit a boat without actual experience. Spend as much time as you can away from marinas and docks. Learn if you really like the lifestyle. If you lose a little money selling the smaller boat, you will make up for it by smarter buying and outfitting of the next boat. Best of luck. ______Grant.
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Old 20-04-2015, 22:51   #3
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Re: help me with buying a blue water yacht

A self steering vane will work way better with a tiller than a wheel. Unless you are a closet power boater, you'll be sailing the vast majority of time so a good working self steering vane is a must. You will need the pilot to power if you don't want to be tied to the helm but that won't be all that often. When we sailed to French Polynesia and back, had less than 500 hours on the engine, most of them for charging the batteries. Longest time powering was a little over 24 hours in the doldrums. Other than that, the engine was only used to power in and out of port or battery charging.

Another use of a tiller pilot is to input direction into the self steering vane for the times you want to sail to a compass course or DDW when relative wind may not be enough to input heading into the vane. Have never felt the need to do that, however.

Your boats are Apples and Oranges. We made the SoPac voyage in a Westsil 32. The boat had been our home before we left and after and proved to be a relatively fast, commodious boat that held our whole life. They have the carrying capacity, weight, and room of a much larger boat. The Aries vane steered the boat if we were sailing from ghosting to 178 mile days in the trades. What they aren't is a fun boat to sail. It's like going in a big camper rather than a sedan. Will get you there but not something you'll get your jollies on a twisty road. They also have drawbacks primarily hard on the wind in light air and choppy seas. The one or two times that was an issue, we motor sailed with the engine ticking over a little above idle. The wetted surface penalty for llght air sailing didn't hamper us much at all as we usually had adequate wind.

The S&S 34 is a proven ocean sailer that can also be raced. It's not as roomy as the Westsail and lighter so will have a livelier motion, a plus and a minus. It will go to windward like a train and should do okay surfing. To me it's the perfect single handed boat but may be a little tight for a couple. Doubt that it will have the storage and carrying capacity of the W32.

Not familiar with the Sadler.

Full keel or fin keel has been a contentious issue since I've been sailing and that's more than a 1/2 century. I like full keel boats for the ability to take the ground without tipping over forward, protection for the rudder, and they DON"T PICK UP CRAB AND LOBSTER TRAPS. You give up maneuverability in tight spaces and light air performance, however. I'd buy the proven boat that works for you.
Peter O.
'Ae'a, Pearson 35
'Ms American Pie', Sabre 28 Mark II
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Old 20-04-2015, 23:20   #4
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Re: help me with buying a blue water yacht


You've had some good advice here, from Grant and from Roverhi.

I agree with Grant that you should get a little trailer-sailer and learn to sail the bejabbers out of it. For example, Jim's first boat was a 15 footer. You'll have two steep learning curves, one relative to learning to respect the wind and water, as well as other yachts, and the other about what you'd like in your next boat. If you're planning to go to Europe, some of those countries require skipper certifications. Be prepared.

If you're planning a "gap year", you really need experience in all kinds of weather, and to learn how to not ask too much of your little ship.

Where you live will also influence your choices. If in Northumberland, you may need a sturdier little vessel than in Southern Calif, for instance. Will you have ocean access?
Only lakes? Rivers?

The pre 90's Sadlers had a good reputation. The S & S 34 is a nice boat, and we know a couple who cruised for a long time on one. The Westsail 32's also have many circumnavigations to their credit. You pick what you prefer, but you should really see how you go with a smaller boat. Even a Westsail 32 can look pretty big, when you're looking up at its bottom that you're about to sand at haulout time.

my experience basis for this input is 40 yrs of sailing-- "beer can" racing, and cruising.

Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
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Old 20-04-2015, 23:24   #5
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Re: help me with buying a blue water yacht

Thanks for your reply guys!

I had that idea of buying a smaller cheaper yacht first to practice on and learn what i do and dont like. However, not to sound too impatient but i would end up slowing down what i really want to do, which is to just quit my job get out there and not look back I figured that with enough research and saving i can buy a yacht which i can grow into and my skills can develop around it. What do you think?
I would end up spending alot of money and time on a yacht which couldnt take me where i want to go. Do you think something around 34 feet would be a middle ground?
yeah i think that a full keel would probably be the best, i assume that you guys recommend fibreglass over anything else?
do you have any other yachts that you can recommend me? I am real keen to keep researching.
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Old 21-04-2015, 00:46   #6
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Re: help me with buying a blue water yacht

Buying a smaller & cheaper yacht is not a good suggestion, it's just a waste of money. Get the boat you want first up. November is plenty of time to skill up by doing training courses and/or crewing other people boats. Then when the purchase is made, have a crew ready to accompany you on your first sails until you feel comfortable that you can solo.

I've never been on an S&S34 but I've always admired them and even a teenage girl can do a solo circumnavigation in one, so they are more than up to the task.

One thing that no one has mentioned yet is your 40k. Given your goal, I think it could easily cost you 10k-20k on top of your purchase price to fit the boat out. If your planning to buy a 40k boat and continue working until your've fitted the boat out and saved for the trip, then fine.

As for suggestions on other boats, it could be good to know where in the world you are based.
S/Y Jessabbé
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Old 21-04-2015, 00:59   #7
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Re: help me with buying a blue water yacht

Thanks a lot for your replies!
I am based in Sydney Australia I have looked a lot online at boat sales and there are a lot of used boats that people claim are up to the challenge of a circumnavigation so its hard to tell what's legit and who just wants to sell there old boat.
Any ideas of yachts I can research?
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Old 21-04-2015, 03:55   #8
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Re: help me with buying a blue water yacht

Originally Posted by Dash Rendar View Post

Any help would be awesome, I am so keen! Its all I think about :s
Do you even know how to sail? If so where have you sailed and where do you want to sail to later?
jobless, houseless, clueless, living on a boat and cruising around somewhere
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Old 21-04-2015, 04:03   #9
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Re: help me with buying a blue water yacht

Dash You are getting good advice here, though differing opinions of course. You will have a steep learning curve and don't bite off more than you can chew, so to speak. The LOA is not a major issue--32" 36" whatever...get whatever suits your needs and your budget and that brings me to the next point. You say you are working hard and saving but there is a huge difference between being able to buy a boat and afford owning one--and then there is the issue of how to pay for living expenses ( come to mind!) when you are cruising. Don't be so impatient. Why not buy your boat and coastal hop for a while and earn money and see part of the world and save up more and then decide whether your boat is the right boat or not? At that point you will be wiser, more experienced and more able to really know what works best for you. Meanwhile read and read a lot--from Slocum to the Roths to Hiscock to Cornell and the Pardeys, Matt Rutherford and Tania Aebi etc etc,, don't be impatient or too bold..fools learn from experience while the wise learn from the experience of others. Take your time. Think it out. Start slowly and perhaps less boldly...on the other hand....go now and make it even more adventurous--but riskier as well....
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Old 21-04-2015, 07:56   #10
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Re: help me with buying a blue water yacht

Sailboat Reviews of Offshore Cruising Yachts :

If you haven't already done so, check out this link. It was useful for me when I was researching blue water boats. I think it pretty much list them all.

good luck.
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Old 21-04-2015, 08:06   #11
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Re: help me with buying a blue water yacht

Lots of good information in all previous replys. Here are my thoughts...
I built my boat and was fortunate to have a friend who was building an even bigger boat and had much more experience than I. His first line was "the biggest mistake a newbie sailor does is to buy/build a boat that is too small". I was going to build a 36 ft ketch and ended up building a 43 ft ketch - best decision I ever made ! At that point I had never owned a boat and had never sailed ! I see the words "ocean sailing" - you must become acquainted with stocking a boat and the space it requires to make a solid decision on the size of boat - ie: what is the longest leg of a voyage you intend to make without having food/fuel/mental health stops. Once this very important decision is made-you can get PLENTY of help for all the other decisions to be made. Crewing on another boat will no doubt save a bundle on the purchase of a smaller boat (to get experience) before you make/buy that ticket to freedom.
Do not try to decide on things like "what kind of self steering" before you see others and how they work and how you feel about having to repair/replace a broken item.
Good luck in your decisions and ENJOY - wish I could do it all over again !
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Old 21-04-2015, 08:06   #12
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Re: help me with buying a blue water yacht

i have a solaris 42 for sale here on cruisers classified you should look at ,, you will not find more boat for the money any place
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Old 21-04-2015, 08:57   #13
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Re: help me with buying a blue water yacht

Konrad. Good advice from the first couple of replies. I Agree with you that you don't really want to be buying a smaller boat first. My first boat was bought for a circumnavigation and was 16 tons, long keeled, double-ender with tiller and aries. I must say though that I had a few years practice before I set off around the world but I don't think you need more than a year as long as you get out there in a wide range of conditions. The autopilot will drive the aries so you only really need a cheap one since there is no effort required of it (so you can buy two!). Have a look at my preparations in 2005/6 at Nadezhda: In the Beginning......
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Old 21-04-2015, 09:12   #14
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Re: help me with buying a blue water yacht

I think you are on the right track. A long-ish keel will track well and be sturdy. Cape Dory, and similar designs are great also. 30-32 feet is great for singlehanding, space and etc. Good luck!
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard

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Old 21-04-2015, 09:39   #15
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Re: help me with buying a blue water yacht

Having room for just yourself is easy. You do not get in your own way. A 30' to 32' boat would have plenty of room. But at 25 if you end up with a mate...mate then you will need a 35' to 37' boat. I think I would be ok by myself on a 30' boat but after a week or two I would want company. So I would want at least a 35' boat. Give some thought to how long you will sail single.

Good luck.

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