Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Saga 35 or Crealock 34?
That info helps alot. It sounds like you are single and looking for a boat that is big enough to live on, yet small enough to be single-handed, yet large to be a good sea boat, yet high enough to improve your sailing skills. Plus you need extraordinary headroom. 6''-4" head room is a challenge. Buying boats is one of the few times that I think people like me at 5''-9"/ 5''-10" have a really easier time.
32 to 35 feet is a nice size for a single-handed live aboard. It is a handy size in terms of being able to manhandle sails and ground tackle. It is big enough to have enough room for full sized berths and seaberths(although maybe too short for someone 6''4" tall), nav station, galley etc. 32-35 feet is large enough to carry adequate water and gear for a single person and even for a pretty careful couple.
I don''t know about the headroom thing but otherwise the Saga should be a pretty good boat for your goals (although I personally am not a big fan of its rig). If I were cruising in Maine I would want the deeper keel version which would be the better offshore boat.
I do want to comment on your statement, "I am leaning towards a new boat because I have heard that it not uncommon to spend another fifty percet of the purchase price getting the boat ready which puts the expense right into the new production boat catagory (I got this figure from Jim Howards Offshore cruising book)."
I think that statement is dead wrong. Dollars for dollars, it will generally cost as much more to upgrade a new boat sufficiently to make it ready to go to sea than it would to take a used boat and upgrade it sufficiently to make it ready to go to sea. Getting any boat ready to go distance cruising is a big job but you can assume a prior owner sorted out the used boat to some extent. You have to sort out the New boat yourself.
I generally figure 20% of both new and used boats as a reasonable number. Often it can be less than that on a used boat.