Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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Going too big is a huge risk... there are lots of project boats that were bought with the same good intentions you have, by people with more experience in rebuilding/modifying boats, and they've cost the person the chance to go cruising. I think that was a major part of the reason a former sailnet member had to sell his boat... and it was 42', and in need of a lot of work. A couple of good books to read are Sensible Cruising, by Don Casey and Lew Heckler, and This Old Boat, by Don Casey.
I would look for a boat with a solid reputation and that you can take bluewater. A few good choices can be found in John Vigor's 20 Small Sailboats to Take you Anywhere. Near the top of my list would be a Southern Cross 28 or 31 or an Alberg 30 or a Cape Dory 30. These boats are reasonably sized for a single person or couple to live and cruise on, are small enough to easily be singlehanded, even by a relative novice, and the long-term maintenance and upkeep costs won't break the bank either.
One caveat, the Southern Crosses are cored hull designs, and a good survey must be done to make sure that water hasn't gotten into the cored hull, as that is often a fairly extensive and expensive repair. I'd get a full, thorough survey done in any case. The hull and deck, rigging and engine are the major components, everything else is far less important IMHO, and those three items are where the really big bucks for repairs are going to happen. The other stuff is relatively far less expensive to repair or replace in general.
You probably want an older boat, where the interior is built around tabbed in bulkheads and pieces, rather than a newer boat, where much of the furniture and fixtures may be a single piece hull liner. Customizing a newer boat with a hull liner can be much more difficult.
The designs I've mentioned are all full-keel, fairly heavy designs with narrower beams than the more modern designs. They are very seaworthy, and all of them have made circumnavigations, with Donna Lange having just completed one in her SC28...and having survived storms including one that thrashed a 44' steel boat.
It might be worthwhile to look at salvage boats, if you want to get into a project boat for low money. I have two friends who just got a CD 30 that was a storm salvage boat and have gutted her completely in the process of doing a total refit and refurbishment. Unfortunately, in many cases, storm salvage boats can have significant problems with the three major components I mentioned above. However, it may be an alternative source for you—since you seem to want to completely customize the interior.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
óCpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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StillóDON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Last edited by sailingdog; 06-20-2007 at 06:32 AM.