Join Date: Dec 2002
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Actually, I long ago acknowledged on Sailnet my ownership of a new boat (probably back in 2003) and a Catalina to boot. You could look it up!! There were some lively debates on Sailnet back then when the 350 was a new model. I never really considered anything other than a production boat and was gravitating toward Beneteau.
I had the benefit of sailing with friends on a number of makes and sizes of boats over the years, including five years of crewing and racing on a J-24, and made a list of the kinds of things I would want on a boat. I did a lot of the refurbishing work on my Catalina 22 prior to launch. So I was not completely clueless in considering new vs. used.
What would I do differently next time? Honestly, I bought the 350 with the idea that it would be my one and only. Yeah, I know what everyone says, and I still fantasize, but I doubt, short of hitting the big one, that I will buy another boat, let alone another new one.
However, for argument's sake, and in no particular order:
1. I would probably do more after-market purchases of options, such as electronics. My dealer in Annapolis did go local on a number of items to keep the cost down, but I would probably do more. I would also inquire about all of the options that weren't listed on the options sheet, because there were more and I didn't think about them, such as night lighting.
2. Based on what other 350 owners have mentioned, I'd probably get a deck washout for my anchor locker. I could still do that but haven't.
3. I opted for an extra water tank on my boat, to carry about 120 gallons, and the location of that tank is where many owners installed a third battery for starting the engine. I possibly could get this done, but have no idea where I could put this battery.
4. I got the boat USCG-documented through the lender and this was a mistake that still bugs me. Much more expensive than I realized. So don't beat up on me; I've already beat up myself enough. We learn by doing (and screwing up).
5. Given my finances, I did not even consider looking at anything made by someone other than the three major production boat builders. I doubt that I will ever do anything more than coastal cruising and sailing all over the Chesapeake, at least on my own boat, so I didn't consider anything that could be described as blue-water capable. As a famous movie cop once said, "A man's got to know his limitations." However, I probably would look at other manufacturers more closely. Again, this would depend on what kind of money I had available.
6. From the many posts I've read on Sailnet, I would probably look at later model used boats if I were going to get a larger boat. I still like the idea of new, but I would seriously consider used the second time around.
7. I didn't get a survey. I know that there are opinions on both sides about this for a new boat. I can say that I dealt with a very good dealer, who has addressed all of the issues I have raised. I might consider one in the future, just to be sure.
8. I opted for the full-battened main sail with the Dutchman flaking system. A boom furler was available, but I was not sure of that technology at the time. I have since talked to owners with boom furlers and have read the comments on Sailnet. It was an expensive option when I orderd my boat in 2002. I would consider getting one on my next boat.
9. The keel options for me were a fin (5.5 foot draft) or a wing (4.5 foot draft). I was considering the fin, for the performance, but the dealer convinced me that a fin on the Chesapeake Bay might be an issue for me if I were to sell the boat. There was no money difference so the dealer had no reason to push one over the other.
A lot has been written about including your spouse in the purchase of a boat. My wife loves the water and likes sailing. She used to cringe on the 22 when we would heel more than she cared for. When we first started sailing the 350, she was leery, but has learned (by virtue of being out occasionally in heavy air), that the boat is sturdy and safe, and that heeling is part of sailing. Now we can go for an hour or more on a close reach in 15-20 knots and she is fine. However, you do need to consider your partner's viewpoint.
That's all that comes to mind at the moment. I tend not to get involved in debates about shoulda/coulda/woulda and whose boat is the best. We all have to make choices on our own and I am happy with mine. I retired in late 2005, so the 2006 season was my first with much more time to sail, and I managed to sail at least once a week from March 31 through November 15. So I use my beamy (13 feet) boat a lot, single-hand often, and I will go out if the forecast is for 15-25.
(P.S. I just looked at this post and I think it's the longest of the 200-odd posts I've made.)
Last edited by SailinJay; 03-09-2007 at 06:31 PM.