Starting to look for a boat - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 15 Old 01-24-2015 Thread Starter
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Starting to look for a boat

I've been sailing on other people's boats most of my life, and I've owned a couple small boats, but I'd like to buy a "real boat" sometime in the near future. I'd like to throw out a few data points, and if anyone has advice or suggestions for boats to look at, I'd love to hear them.

Boats I've crewed:

I'm married to a (so far) non-sailor, I have a 2.5 year old daughter and will probably have another kiddo in 2016. My wife has been told that sailing is non-negotiable for me. She accepts it, but I have to make a boat work for her comfort and enjoyment, which will allow me to spend more time on it.

We live on the east side of Washington DC. With no traffic, it's about 30 minutes to Annapolis or the marinas on the bay. We are going to live in DC for another couple of years, then we will probably head back home to the Pacific Northwest. But who knows... we could go anywhere.

All of this is to say, the right answer may be to not buy a boat.

These are the things that I think I'm looking for (in no particular order), though all of these and the assumptions behind them are up for discussion. FWIW: I'm kind of in love with the Super Maramu right now.

1. A master cabin, plus a cabin for another couple, plus berths for kids.
2. A comfortable galley
3. I won't be doing any blue water in the next few years, but passage making is an important part of my sailing dream, so it's either buy a blue water boat now, or buy a new boat later. I'm open to either.
4. I like the idea of a skeg rudder
5. With young children, a center cockpit seems appealing
6. I'm a diver, so I'm not enthused about a double ender or canoe stern. I need to be able to board the boat comfortably.
7. My wife hates "wet" bathrooms, with a shower in the room. A head with a dedicated shower would be a winner
8. Though I'm a woodworker and love the look of bright wood, that's not what I want in a boat. I like clean, modern lines, and a bright interior.
9. Something that I could eventually singlehand would be important
10. I think I can compromise on the keel and draft, because I'll only be on the bay for a couple years at most.

The things I like about the Amel are:
Great interior for a family
Electric winches and furlers to make single handing easy
Protected helm position
lots of clear deck room
good stern for getting in and out of the water or dinghy
the looks are "distinctive", but I don't hate them

Budget is $100-150K. By the way, I know I can't get the Amel for that kind of money.

Any thoughts?

Last edited by joelpat; 01-24-2015 at 09:37 PM.
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-24-2015
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Re: Starting to look for a boat

My wife and I had a 31' coastal cruiser before we had kids and we kept it until #2 came along, at which point it was more trouble than enjoyment for her as she'd be kid wrangling while I worked the lines. After we finished reproducing and the youngest was 3, we got ourselves a West Wight Potter and they all got the bug. Now we're on a much bigger boat and everyone's into it.

If you were to follow my script, you'd get yourself a daysailer for the next couple of years to limit your financial commitment and to get your wife and kids some exposure without putting her to too much of a test. You can sell it when your DC days are over and get a big one after you've landed back in Seattle or wherever and the family's got happy memories of sailing.
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post #3 of 15 Old 01-24-2015
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Re: Starting to look for a boat

You have a reasonable plan and a reasonable budget. However, I'm thinking with Istream here. If a move to the PNW (or elsewhere) is a pretty good probability in a relatively short timeframe, something small and affordable now to see how things go with a view to buying the most suitable boat for wherever you end up when you get there may the the best plan.

A boat well suited for the PNW is not the same boat that's 'best' for the Chessie and surrounding area. Moving larger boats, while do-able, is a complication that's nice to avoid if you can.

If you can talk your wife into waiting for the dedicated shower for a while, you can all, as a family, learning the sailing/weekending game on something like a Catalina 25, possibly even trailerable but either way... Then when it comes time to set yourself up where you end up you'll have a much better idea of what you really need/want and can be a wiser shopper.


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post #4 of 15 Old 01-24-2015
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Re: Starting to look for a boat

Face the facts and buy a shoal draft Hunter or Catalina - they are designed and built for your exact circumstances.

If you move back to this part of the world, sell it and buy another here.

Amels are serious offshore cruisers designed & built for long term voyaging.

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-25-2015
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Re: Starting to look for a boat

Agree with others, buy something to use now in the bay. There's many boats that will meet most of your wants and you won't have to spend anything close to what you are thinking...unless you really want to.

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post #6 of 15 Old 01-25-2015
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Re: Starting to look for a boat

i am not sure but i think annapolis has a used boat show in the spring. might go down with the wife just to spend the day out and see what her reactions are to various boats.

by the way we have cruiser friends who use to sell hunters in the uk and never ever sold one to a man, always the wife made the decision. so get an idea of what she wants and see if you can find what is good for both of you.

Just our thoughts and opinion
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-25-2015
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Re: Starting to look for a boat

Hunter Passage 42, short answer!
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-25-2015
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Re: Starting to look for a boat

I agree. I'd keep sailing other peoples boats or get a daysailor for a few years until you know where you will end up.

The purchase price of a boat is just the entry fee. There are slip fees annual maintenance/upgrade costs, insurance and the time spent tending to it all. Your wife accepts you sailing op's boats, but how will she accept a costly ownership of something she's currently not invested in. I would probably work on getting her out sailing to see if she can catch the bug.

Owning a larger vessel would require you to sell in a few years, adding complications to your move and you'll likely lose money. I've seen perfectly good boats for sale, sit for years here without a buyer.

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post #9 of 15 Old 01-25-2015
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Re: Starting to look for a boat

I'm going to pile on here, hope you don't mind. I've had 5 different boats, now in my 60's. Each one fit the bill for the time and place I was at.

Lifetime sailing, particularly in your case where circumstances of location and family are changing fairly rapidly is unlikely to be a one and done affair.

If you buy used, and you take care of the boat, you are likely to get your money back. The cost is not the purchase price, it's the annual operating costs which if you have a family and career will be likely be significant, since your time is valuable and you will let yards do lots of the work. It gets larger exponentially with boat size. Get some experience with this stuff.

Where maybe I'd differ a bit from the usual recommendations is here. If you go too small, you might turn the family off from cruising. So for now, I'd look for a coastal cruising boat in the 30's, shoal draft, used but well cared for, and give it a try. You'll have trouble finding a dedicated shower in this size, but take the family out on a few nice days, anchor overnight to a perfect sunset, and this inconvenience will fade way.

And know this...all that automated stuff like power winches, power furling, bow thrusters, air conditioners, etc...all breaks. A big boat is like taking your house, spraying salt water at it without all the windows closed, and shaking it all day in major earth quake. Not easy on your stuff. These conveniences are worth it for long term cruising, as you learn to fix stuff and adapt. Start with a simpler boat, and frustration will be minimized.

But whatever you do, go sailing, and don't wait, life is short.
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Last edited by capecodda; 01-25-2015 at 01:32 PM. Reason: fix
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-25-2015
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Re: Starting to look for a boat

See if she likes a Catalina 30. Good Chessie boat.

Re the newer Ames,l I too am ambivalent about all the power stuff. Henri specified good kit BUT I hate being dependent on lecky stuff.

If you find an Amel Sharki go look at it. I know they cause visual pollution but the layout might suit you. They came with slab reefing and manual furling headsails. I have single handed one without a problem and when I went hunting for my retirement blue water cruiser a Sharki was high on the list.
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