It appears that many people are turning to boats after financial ruin. Houses are a huge upkeep and mortgages sky high, much more costly then living on a boat.
If I may share an observation; I've been shopping for the right boat for going on 3 years now. I've noticed that while powerboats can be had at about 40% discount (maybe better), sailboat prices, while down, are not down as much.
"Industry reports" will refute what I state above;
... Brokers sold 15 percent fewer boats over the course of the year, with 5,411 boats changing hands in 2009 compared to 6,399 in 2008. Valuations didnít improve against 2008 figures as quickly as unit sales, lagging throughout the summer, equalizing in September and October, and finally moving strongly ahead in [November & December]. The net decrease for the year, in valuations of sailboats sold, dropped 21 percent, more than $100 million, down from $505 million to just under $400 million.
Compared to the powerboat market, which showed a 7-percent gain in units in 2009 (to 21,839 boats) and a 12-percent drop in valuation (to $2.2 billion), the sailboat market didnít perform as well. Roughly 20 percent of all boats sold were sailboats and 15 percent of total sales valuations came from sailboat sales. By one measure, the sailboat market showed a bit more strength: the average time to sale for a boat listed on YachtWorld.com didnít change much in 2009, increasing very slightly from 272 days to 274; by comparison, the average powerboat sale took an extra three weeks, increasing from 250 to 271 days.
... but in my search, I've seen that well maintained Sailboats in the 30-40 foot range, seem to be holding their value.
Sorry about my earlier post. I don't mean to bring rain to your parade. However, you are asking for advice. ("Free advice is frequently worth less than you pay for it."
) You, and your family should learn to sail, first. If you decide that you like it, then proceed with your dream. However, given your statement about you and your family's level of experience, buying a boat and making it work for all of you seems like a recipe for disaster.