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Old 07-03-2012
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Re: Coastal Cruising Boat Selection Help

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions!

After a year of searching, we want this to be over so we can start sailing! Over the past year, we have looked at Colombia's, Tartan's, Freedom's, Privilege's, Endeavour's, Irwin's, Gulfstar's, Beneteau's, Morgan's, Newport's, Pearson's, Hunter's, Catalina's, Island Packets, Cheoy Lee, Formosa, IP's, C&C, CS, CT and OMG can it get anymore complicated!!!!

We have gone from 46' to 41' to 37' to 31' to 29' to 27'. Each step of the way, we have considered safety, storage space, living space, deck space, cockpit space, freeboard height, mast height, sail area, furling or non furling main sail, keel depth, keel type, rudder type, AC, Refrigeration, Ice Box, Generator, engine size, engine type, fuel type (ok, never considered anything other than diesel) and OMG can it get anymore complicated!!!!

Last year, after meeting the Home Schooled Crew of the 'Diamond' on their return trip from a 6 month sabbatical through the Bahamas and the Exumas, Amy finally gave me her blessing to move forward with the 'process'. In retrospect, perhaps letting her climb aboard the Diamond, a 1996 Beneteau 461, wasnt the best idea as this quite possibly set the bar a bit high! (if you are reading, thanks a lot, Craig! ) A beautiful boat, plenty of room, nice sugarscoop but a price that was a bit out of our budget....

A trip to the bank, a dose of reality and we were back on track!

Anyway, I think the 30' is a bit small for the 5+ year plan and possibly a bit small for the 5 year plan. There is, however, an alternate 5+ year plan that includes buying the affordable 30' Pearson now, learning the how to's, the don't do's, what is a necessity, luxury or an impossibility and, in 5 years, give the Pearson to the boys and find our next 'best' boat for the 5+ year plan.

It may prove the 30' is fine for Amy & I. Personally, I would like to move back to the 36' to 40' range. I am encouraged by comments about the trade off between handling and more space. We are going to look at all 3 of these boats again this weekend (the agent has been both patient and accommodating!) and possibly a couple other larger boats as well. There happens to be a 1983 38' Endeavor and a 1983 38' Morgan 384 we may be able to crawl through - both a bit out of our current price range but possibly negotiable???

As we realized the Beneteau 461 was too expensive and the Morgan 41' O/I could prove to be tough to single hand, we came across the Hunter with its large rounded cockpit, corner seating and convenient sugarscoop. Below it was equally inviting and spacious providing room for all of us and our friends.

It wasn't until we started researching the Hunter that we realized there weren't any back stays, the Arch was prone to leaking and the sugar scoop could actually be a real problem with following seas. Upon further research we discovered the fin or bulb keel, although really neat, didnt offer any protection for the prop or rudder as the full keel and skeg rudder would.

I did come across a couple of threads that basically threw the BS card at the negative comments and indicated these posters were not necessarily off target but rather highly critical of production boats in general. Not wanting to rationalize but if these boats are indeed so dangerous & high maintenance, why are there so many of them? I wish someone would simply say it really isn't a safe boat and then I could eliminate it from the list!

Right now, the priority list is as follows:
  1. Safety
  2. Ease of Handling
  3. Price
  4. Cockpit Size
  5. Berth Quantity & Size
  6. Storage Capacity
  7. Air Conditioning

Thanks again for all of the comments and advice to date! Please keep them coming!
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