If buying a boat was like buying a car, where all you had to do was visit local dealers and test drive whatever car you think suits your needs, most aspects of the boat search wouldn't be necessary. But when you're looking at driving or flying hundreds or thousands of miles to walk through and test sail one or two boats, you need to be able to filter out what boats might not be right for you. The more ways you have of doing that filtering, the less boats you'll actually have to make the trip to see. This may mean missing the perfect boat, but if that's your goal, you could be looking for years and visiting all parts of the globe.
The way we've been doing this is:
- Check online inventory
- View the photos
- Survey the equipment list
- Look for upgrades and when they were made
- Do some research on that model boat
- Find out what we can about that particular boat
- Add it to the list that will be sent to our broker, if we like it
We also read reviews, get feedback from the broker on the boat, find owners online and see what they have to say (this has to be filtered, a lot!)
And then comes the abstract - the numbers derived from formulas. While a heavy displacement, low sail area boat might get dropped from the list, a lower comfort rating might not have any effect. It's not because we don't care about comfort, it's because the formula, while widely accepted, was just dreamed up. Ted Brewer openly admits that. Therefore, it may or may not be relevant. Only a sea trial in heavy weather or honest assessments from owners can answer that.
In the end, most buyers make their buying decision based on things like a sea trial and survey. But before you get to that boat, there has to be filters in place or it could end up costing you more to see all the boats than to buy just one.