Join Date: Jul 2002
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Rep Power: 13
Wood boat for first time cruise...
Slim, I don''t think you would be making your best choice if you selected a wood boat for your first boat, knowing you hope to live aboard it and subsequently cruise it.
Handling the boat isn''t going to be substantially different (if comparing a heavier glass or metal boat with a wood boat), but there are other issues that make wood a less desirable choice for you.
First, you are not really sure what you''re looking for, or want, or need - and you can only expect so much help from a surveyor re: thoroughly understanding of what you''re accepting as your new/first boat. Most folks inevitably learn a lot as they go thru their first ''purchase/sail/sell'' cycle, but I think it''s fair to say that more knowledge is needed to end up with a suitable, affordable (to keep, not just to buy) wooden boat.
Secondly, storage space is especially important on a liveaboard/long-term cruising boat. Traditionally-built wooden boats will inevitably be either larger (longer and perhaps deeper) than a glass boat for a given amount of storage space or will offer less space than a glass boat for roughly the same size. And size is critical for a wooden boat, because it defines the amount of care, attention and occasional repair that wood will demand from you.
And then we get to the other risk, given your budget. The very common ''first boat'' cycle when shopping for a boat that doesn''t cost a lot but of which a great deal will be asked is to buy an older boat, not particularly well kept, while thinking that a lot of sweat equity and a bit of replacement and/or additions will make up the difference. (''Old'' and ''wood'' are probably synonymous, given your price tartet). This does on occasion actually work out. But more often, the old boat is found to contain (surprise!) old systems - pumps, wiring, lights, batteries, standing and running rig, engine, tanks and I could go on. And so one ends up inheriting a chronic fixer-upper, to which is added the inevitable use/abuse of using the boat full-time while cruising/living aboard and stressing the systems far more than would be true of a local daysailing. In short, you''ll often find folks cruising older (and especially wooden) boats almost always *needing* to work on their boats (as opposed to the rest of us, for whom the work is at least partially optional, as e.g. topside wood care, scheduled engine maintenance, etc.)
It sounds to me like you are an ideal candidate for a smaller/simplier boat that has recently been cruised successfully, is well maintained, is modest insofar as its amenities are concerned but still seaworthy and ready to be sailed. Accept the smaller space (tho'' larger than what a wood boat of similar length would provide), and accept the simple nature of the boat as that which your cruising kitty will be happiest with.
Good luck on your search, and on joining the sailing ranks!