Join Date: Jul 2002
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 13
Boat Choices: Double-Check
E, I can just *feel* your eagerness, and since we''re about the same age, I can appreciate how you''re ready to get on with this plan - a plan drafted much like a MBO statement, drawn up in a business setting, the steps laid out but perhaps without being anchored sufficiently in real world realities.
I''ll go in a different direction than Jeff but not because I disagree with any of his major observations. Your boat choices reflect a well-intentioned, knowledge-deficient circumstance, you''re way too optimistic about what you can get from your two ''captain-based'' experiences, and you''re looking at boats too large for you, given the open-ended nature of your plans and the possibility you might want to do long-distance single-handed cruising.
Still...let''s overlook all the above, assume that you''re ready (at least financially tho'' probably not in other ways) to jump into the deep end of the pool (which is what you''ll be doing if purchasing a $100-200K boat in the 35''+ category), and now the question is how to ''execute'' while minimizing risk and optimizing cruising options at a later date. Let''s even assume, as you suggest, that you haven''t the patience to read a bit more (e.g. the relevant section of Beth Leonard''s Voyager''s Handbook, which discusses the financial and cruising budget consequences of boat choices, or Nigel Calder''s The Cruising Handbook, which talks about a range of design and construction issues - both of which I recommend and you probably need). It''s a mistake IMO to wave off suggestions to build your knowledge base a bit more when you keep getting that advice...but so be it.
Given the above, I think the only advice you can expect here which will truly be helpful is that which coaches you on how to minimize the predictable pitfalls of your plan. (And forget about getting a consensus recommendation on the boat to choose...). Here are a few suggestions I''d make to you:
1. Buy based heavily on perceived quality (for resale purposes, because you may well end up selling after 12-18 months, whether to get back out of sailing or because you now know what you really want)
2. Shop the regions that offer the best pricing (S Florida, Great Lakes in winter, Gulf Coast), again for the same resale-related reason (sell in Annapolis, San Fran or L.A.)
3. Buy the smallest boat that meets your REQUIREMENTS (as opposed e.g. to the one that seems to offer the most features for the buck, or the most ''nice to haves'') because you are far more likely to discover you have too much boat (for you, and for your pocketbook) than you have too small a boat, and because it forces you to...
4. Draw up a specific list of concrete requirements. You don''t get to write down things like "high build quality" because you don''t know what that is, and broker''s opinions will vary on that, and there multiple ''quality'' ways to do things. E.g. your displacement target is too broad; refine it to a ton or so. To the extent you can be specific, concrete and end up with a clarifying list of criteria, start boat shopping. To the extent your list isn''t that helpful, reconsider how ready you are, no matter how ready you want to be.
5. Minimize systems on the boat you buy while maximizing their quality. Preferences vary widely on which systems a boat should have and so you''ll protect more of your investment plus give yourself maximum span in choosing the systems you want as they become clear to you.
I''m guessing there is no way you would buy a financial product in this fashion, nor would you decide to enter into marriage after a few weeks trial run with a marriage counselor...but that''s just a guess on my part. The above suggestions will at least keep you in the ballpark of minimizing risk while ''going for it''.
Good luck. People have done worse things than what you''re planning and, in your case, if it''s a choice of doing something - now - or doing nothing, then do something...just do it wisely.
WHOOSH, currently wintering in London, England