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Old 14-07-2015, 17:28   #1
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selecting the right boat

Hi Everybody,

Growing up near the NC/SC coast(s) and going to school in Florida I spent a lot of free time on the water. My Dad was a skilled regatta sailor and over the years we had a lot of fun together with that.
However, as I've gotten older and out of school the cruising dream is starting to itch just a little more than it did in years past. Admittedly I don't have ocean going experience and am not looking to make a passage fresh off the dock my first time out. What I'm trying to sort out are the ideas of living aboard and starting by doing coastal/Caribbean cruising depending on season. I fly airplanes for a living and although that like most jobs are far from perfect, the idea of having 10 days to 2 weeks a month off is a real plus for being able to make time to actually go somewhere.
Some things I was considering were the idea of finding a more capable (larger if necessary) boat that I can "grow with" so to speak and thereby avoid selling later to raise funds for a bigger boat anyway. Granted I'm not looking for a palace that floats but something that is seakindly and safe yet has the ability to (or space to later install) accommodate necessaries for living aboard. IE: fresh water maker (shower would be nice too). Refrigeration would also be nice but electrical power while under sail is something to closely watch if unable to produce it on the boat. Either way, things to consider and I certainly don't intend on acquiring everything a "home" needs in one day.
What I would like to do is acquire the right compromise of boat such that I can outfit/refit as I go along and learn new things.
Sorry for the longwinded start but all this did eventually lead to a question: Considering the experience and wisdom congregating here, would any of you be willing to chime in with suggestions for possible boats and more importantly what to look for as a good basis of foundation? I had a few ideas in mind, including but not limited to: Pearson, Alberg, Cape Dory, Morgan and a few others. Either way, I'd still be interested in hearing another perspective on some of the research I've been doing over the past year or so. I know this is kinda vague but I figure everyone had to start somewhere. I guess a good question would be, "how did all of you start out doing what we all dream about every time we look out the pub window at a boat coming in or going out?" Please feel free to chime in at will and if you have suggestions or questions about what I'm looking to do please ask. Looking forward to meeting everyone and thanks for reading. :-)
All the Best,
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Old 14-07-2015, 20:14   #2
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Re: selecting the right boat

Howdy Stu! Welcome aboard CF.

Hey! I wish I had a job like yours! Lucky guy!

I read your intro above. Good that you wrote as much as you did.

You posted some good info in your intro. But, I think it also leaves some unanswered questions that can really matter.

I will post something below. Everything is written in a friendly tone of voice and is posted to help you with a different POV. I hope it helps you (or others who may read this thread).

I hope these points help you. Good luck finding your next boat.


Whenever I see a post asking about a boat or "help me find a boat that…" the first question that enters my mind is:

"What is your budget?"

With an adequate budget (funds or "asking price range") one can find a solution.

Without the adequate budget, it is asking folks to name what they would want, without necessarily any real fit for what you can buy.

My simple suggestion: Name the budget available for the purchase of the boat or the maximum asking or advertised price you would seriously consider spending.

Ask folks here to spend that amount for you, virtually, of course.

You have already answered the second suggestion I make: "Where are you located and where do you want to sail?"

So that leads me to a third question: "How far will you go to purchase the boat?"

For example: Will you only consider purchase if it is in Carolina waters? Or, would you consider purchase of a boat in Miami or Maine or elsewhere?

I also think it is important and helpful to list anything that would be a "deal breaker" that you already know about. For example, if you are very tall, mention that. If you don't want a cored hull, mention that.


Looking for Quick Answers?

This is the best and fastest method I have found to the answers I seek here.
Since you are relatively new to the forum, here is my favorite friendly forum search tip: Look at the green menu bar on the forum pages for the drop down "Search" menu. Click on that to drop down a list of search functions. From that drop down menu select the GOOGLE CUSTOM search feature (the second box down) and then enter several different descriptive terms for your topic of interest. That will do a Custom google search of ONLY this site and it is likely to find answers to your questions or results for you. Note: this is different from using the regular forum search box or field. Also note, this is NOT found if you use the CF app. It IS found if you use a web browser such as Safari, etc.

I hope these points help you. Good luck finding your next boat.
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Old 14-07-2015, 20:59   #3
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Re: selecting the right boat

Hi Stu and welcome to the forum.

First I'll go along with Steady Hand's response. The starting point in any boat buying decision is variation on the old real estate joke. The three most important things are location, location and location.

Buying a boat the three most important decisions to begin the process are budget, budget and budget. That will then set the limits for all the following questions and decisions.

Some other considerations:

What kind of sailing do you envision? Hanging on the boat and sail around the neighborhood on weekends or winter in the Caribbean. Lazy cruising or weekend racing?

Where will you cruise and/or keep the boat? Some areas the water will be shallow so a shoal draft boat would offer some advantages.

How many people? Obviously will need a bit more room if you plan to travel with 6 or 9 of you closest friends.

At the end of the day, choosing a boat is a very personal thing. The right boat for me might be one you hate. It's about like asking someone to pick your SO.
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
Sometimes it's necessary to state the obvious for the benefit of the oblivious.
Rust is the poor man's Loctite.
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Old 15-07-2015, 11:11   #4
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Re: selecting the right boat

Hi Guys,
Thanks for the input. Presently I'm located in DE but looking to relocate depending on how things work out with my job (not planning to make the boat purchase before that mess gets sorted out). It wouldn't make much sense to get a cruiser if I end up in Wichita. That aside, since we are allowed to commute to the airplane I'm looking to move back towards the Carolina coast where I have family near Charleston.
In terms of cruising, I'm only one guy and would probably only have 1 maybe 2 on board with me if we're actually cruising to a destination. A few more maybe for an afternoon or possible weekend but I really don't want to get a hotel with sails. Mainly I'd be looking to start out cruising the Eastern Seaboard and the Bahamas through to the rest of the Caribbean.
As for budget, being young and saving everything I can has acquainted me with
resourcefulness to some degree and I'd like to apply that idea here too. At present I'm looking to put about 30k-40k into something manageable. Ideally I'd like to either find several candidate make/models and look for those characteristics at a marina auction and spend the money fitting it back the way I'd like to have it set up. Otherwise, if I could find a boat that although may cost a bit more to buy, has been cared for and maintained such that it may not need major repairs (engine, mast, deck core, etc...) for the next 2-5 years that would be a possibility too.
I've been reading a lot of good things about Pearson 35/365/367 as well as various Catalinas. Although Island Packet makes for a nice boat (co-worker has one and has been showing me a lot around the Chesapeake) I'm afraid that they are just too far outside my price range. Most Jeanneau, Beneteau and Hylas models I've seen also appear to trend towards this conclusion.
Ideally I'd like to get something in the 35'-40' range (even if for my price point it means it needs some work) that has room aft with either a cabin or quarter berth so that I can make (at least one side of the Vee) a work bench forward. As for the head, most guys I have talked to use it in port and that's about it. Underway the "bucket chuck-it" method seems to be rather popular. Some have even gone so far as to tear out the sink in the head because they only use the one in the galley anyway so as to make room for a shower. I have to admit that I like this idea, especially if your boat has room to install a fresh water maker.
Granted all this costs money so I don't expect to get it all overnight. But like I said in the first post, I'm looking to get a boat that I can grow with and outfit as I go along. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was my great grandfather's plantation. However, they all did have goals in mind so I'm trying to take that lesson and be patient and resourceful.
Mean time, please feel free to advise as you all see fit. I'll admit that I have been learning a good deal from crewing on the Island Packet and am in no major hurry to relocate until I find the right fit for location. I'm learning good stuff here, a move would probably stop that for a while until I end up on the water somewhere else. Although we do make sure to walk through the yards each time we go out, ya know... "just in case." :-)
Please keep in touch, I look forward to hearing hearing your insight.
Until Next Time
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Old 15-07-2015, 14:15   #5
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Re: selecting the right boat

Nice article, and some very good advice from the forum members. I have 2 Cape Dory's, a 31 and a 27. The 27 is for sale and it's within your price range. It does have some cruising amenities already. Roller furling, full battened main, refrigeration, dodger, bimini. No indoor shower but I've taken plenty of solar showers in my day, lol. This boat is easy to sail and draws 4 feet. 2@cyc fresh water cooled 16hp Yanmar diesel. It surely is comfortable for one or two people for extended cruising. If you think this might fit into your plans send me a pm and I can talk with you further about it. I am located in Stuart Fl just north of West Palm Beach.
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Old 15-07-2015, 17:57   #6
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Re: selecting the right boat

I like your Pearson 365/367 choice in that price range. Loads of people have cruised in these. I would go for the 367, as I believe it has a deeper keel and is a cutter rig.

How about a Mariner 36; similar to these and in that range?

Good luck.

An Ocean Lover in Maine.
An Ocean Lover in Maine
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Old 16-07-2015, 01:33   #7
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Re: selecting the right boat

For us, here's how it went from my point of view--Jim's may differ on crucial points, and you'll have to ask him about that.

He had a 30 ft. S&S design boat when I met him, himself having segued from and O'day, and on to a Catalina 22 before I met him. At that time, he was engaged both in crewed and singlehand racing.

We coastal cruised and raced for a while, then took the S&S (it was a Yankee 30) to Hawaii to see if we liked ocean sailing. This was the first time we trusted celestial navigation.

We decided we wanted a bigger boat, and one that did not sail at 15 deg. of heel all the time.

Jim bought a Palmer Johnson Standfast 36 that we sailed and lived aboard for 18 yrs.

Then, we decided we wanted a boat that could accommodate our kids and grandkids. Searched 3 long years.

Found this boat, and haven't looked back.

That was the process.

Jim was an experienced sailor when I met him, and myself, only a little time, round the buoys, and in the ocean.

Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
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