I am planning on buying a sailboat sometime before Summer 2014. I have an under $50K budget and a pretty specific set of requirements. First let me say that I have poured over Yachtworld and the like for over five years thinking about this time coming. I purchased a US Yacht 25 swing keel and have sailed her in fresh water for a couple of years now. I currently live near and sail on the Ohio river but I intend to take this new boat up and down the Tennessee/Tom Bigbee River. water way a couple of times and eventually will go cruising in the Caribbean. Meanwhile I'll be living aboard in a Marina in Louisville, KY.
The Ohio is pretty wide in these parts, nearly a mile in spots and the current is negligible, about two knots throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall. There is a decent sized and active sailing community here and there are about ten marinas, one with haul out and repair
services, available in the area. Obviously draft and bridge clearance are important factors on a river and after a great deal of discussion and study of Great Loop information I know that I need a draft of five and a half feet or less and a a bridge clearance of 52 feet. The bridge clearance restriction could be raised a couple of inches if necessary.
Because I will want to enjoy the boat here on the Ohio as well as take her cruising the boat needs to be able to point well as the prevailing westerly winds here have me tacking back and forth a great deal when heading west down stream. The higher she can point the less I will have to tack. She should perform well in light air as well since we usually have winds between eight to sixteen knots, though 20 to 25 knot days are not uncommon. Since I plan to cruise her she should be suitable for offshore work also, either as she is or with minor modifications. I feel that a 38 foot boat would be large enough for my six foot four, 300 lb frame but still a reasonable size for sailing in the narrow restrictions of a river.
Being that I plan to live on the boat certain creature comforts are also required. Namely hot and cold pressure water, a decent galley, decent storage, air conditioning, a roomy head and a separate shower. Even a cramped sit down shower stall will do. I don't want to deal with wiping down a wet bathroom when getting ready for work or the like. I know that the shower would be less important were I cruising right now but that is not the case. Furthermore the marinas around here do not have liveaboard shower, or laundry, facilities though liveaboards are allowed. When cruising the shower will be a nice wet locker. if the boat has two heads, which is not a prerequisite, I would then use one for a shower and the other as the bathroom and a separate stall shower would not be required. I also want to find a boat that is well equipped. Roller furling
and good sails, rigging
and canvases and the basic instruments are enough, all else will be purchased new and installed. I also love interior wood and I am very experienced with finishing and maintenance of wood and do not fear the work needed to keep it up. I am not a fan of a lot of white gelcoat and the Ikia / Tupperware feel of some boats and preferably not a twin straight settee layout. I want a little more dimension in the interior so an L or U shaped settee on one side would be ideal.
So the list looks like this:
37 to 40 feet
Hot & Cold H2O
L or U Shaped Settee
Good light air and pointing ability as well as a rugged offshore performer
Skeg Hung Rudder
Under $50k (mid 1970's to mid 1980s models)
So far the Ericson and Morgan 38s seem to fit the bill. They are between $35-$50K and generally come well equipped with some combination of one or more piece of cruising equipment like solar or wind power generation, radar
and a plotter as well as that which I require. They have reputations of being good sailing boats that can take offshore stresses and get you home. I really liked the interior design of the Islander 36 but it has no shower and I would love love love a Panda or Sabre or Pacific Seacraft 38 but those are twice the price...Oh but those gorgeous interiors! And as gorgeous interiors go I love the Taiwanese boats but most are not good performers in light air nor do they point to weather adequately. To help me decide I plan to visit either Texas or Florida next month to look at different boats to try to get a feel for what I am looking at but for now any suggestions or opinions of other boats would be appreciated.
I look forward to your feedback