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gnsail 09-20-2007 12:43 AM

Help Me Find My Boat
I just graduated from college and recently moved down to the Clear Lake TX area with my new job. Having mixed feelings about moving so south of Houston, my father suggested for me to find a sailboat to liveboard. I like the idea instead of pouring money into a one bedroom apartment (not too mention I get to be back on a boat). I have been wearing out the internet and my broker looking at tons of boats and waiting, hoping for more boats to come on the market. Overall I have been very disappointed. I have been looking at a financiable, 50k or less, 35-38ft, great sailing quick boat I can sail in the bay and the gulf. I don't plan on making long trips and I would prefer something newer. (For financing purposes as well as the overall looks). I have read a great deal of old posts using the handy "search this forumĒ feature but need more situational guidance to either get serious about certain boats, or get them off my list. So many great boats suggested in my ft range as well as price range are not offered in my area. The thought of spending 5k or more for shipping is too much for me to consider. For example, I really like the layout and lines of the 1985 Beneteau First 38 for 49,900 in my area. I would prefer a boat with a roller furler, marine A/C, self tailing winches and a shallower draft. Being that it is so late in the hot season, is it feasible to use the carry-on AC for the rest of the year and buy the extras to make it how I want it along the way. Or should I take this boat off my list. I am currently not under a lease but only have that luxury through October which is when I would like to have a boat by. It is so difficult doing the practical thing when I feel like I have been patient to no avail thus far (I know searching for 5 months is nothing). A little guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Sailormann 09-20-2007 01:03 AM


50k or less, 35-38ft, great sailing quick boat
I'm not sure of how much experience you have with maintenance, but reading your post, the first thing that comes to mind is that witha 50K budget you should be looking at smaller boats.

Unlike an apartment, when a problem occurs on a boat, it usually needs to be dealt with pretty quickly. Problems get fairly costly when you are dealing with a 38 footer...usually in the thousands rather than the hundreds of dollars.

Really well-maintained newer 36 or 38 foot boats usually cost more than you have available to spend. I think you'd be doing your self a favor looking at shorter, newer craft.

sailhagg 09-20-2007 01:11 AM

Well, every boat is a compromise. Find something you really like and then make it your own. My sailboat wasn't even on my list and I looked for a couple of years. Less than 20 seconds on her I knew she was it. She had the most of what I was looking for of all the boats I'd looked at.

I've had her two years now. I spent a great deal of time fixing and adding that first year and a half. This summer while sitting in the cockpit, a soft glow from my lantern dancing about and a glass of wine in hand...I realized she'd become mine.

If the draft is ok for your area then the rest of your "I wants" you can do, if you're willing and your money tree works. Be sure to get a survey. Ask around, when you get the same name over and over, you'll know who to hire.

PBzeer 09-20-2007 01:40 AM

A/C is a must in that area. When I left there last April, there where quite a few boats for sale. Try going by the marinas and checking their bulliten boards for "for sale by owner" boats.

Currently at 38 20 10 N 76 27 42 W , Solomons, MD

Rockter 09-20-2007 09:29 AM


That's where I bought my ship, in 1992.

In summer it is a furnace of a place, and terribly humid, and unbearably so. You will, at least have to mount an A/C in the companionway, on a wee wodden frame.

There are plenty of boats down there. There is very little wind in summer... day after day is hot, with light airs.

sailhagg 09-20-2007 09:55 AM

I agree with sailormann, you really should be looking at smaller. How many of you are there? If it's just you why such a big boat? I have a 1985 Newport 30 and she's great for a couple and even better when you're single handing. She's a nice little coastal cruiser. I paid about half what you have to spend and even with the repairs and improvements I haven't come close to what you're talking.

I'll tell you one thing, 30 feet is a big boat when you're sitting in a dinghy, buffing cloth in hand, making tiny circles. :)

JohnRPollard 09-20-2007 10:01 AM


I'm with Sailormann on this one. A 38 footer is a fairly large boat to start out with and will be costly to maintain. Take it down a few sizes and you should have plenty of options in your price range with the equipment you're looking for. If you're partial to Beneteaus, they have loads of models in the 30-35 foot range dating from the late-80s and newer. Something in the low 30 foot range drops all the maintenance and slip costs down considerably, and ought to have more than adequate room for a bachelor(ette) fresh out of college.

sailingdog 09-20-2007 10:27 AM

I would highly recommend you start with something in the 28-32' range, rather than something in the 35-38' range. The smaller boats are simpler, easier to maintain, less expensive to dock—since most marinas charge per foot, less expensive to own—since the gear on them is smaller and less expensive to repair or replace.

A 38' boat isn't a quarter bigger than a 32' boat, but more like 67% bigger, since boats get longer, wider and deeper.

Also, I am guessing that you don't have much experience in maintaining or owning a larger sailboat. The scope of the projects on a smaller boat will let you get the experience, without breaking the bank. A 30' boat has most of the same systems a 38' boat has, but the costs of working on them can be considerably lower. Electrical wiring and plumbing hose runs are shorter, and use less material, and so on.

gnsail 09-20-2007 10:55 AM

Thank you all for the replies. I will be living aboard by myself. To be honest I will be spending most nights at my girlfriends place, but knowing how my relationships last....Iíll need a nice back up place to stay. I don't have any experience owning my own boat. My father had an Allmand 35 growing up, which has led me to start out looking at about that size. I will most definitely begin checking my options in a smaller and more manageable boat. I am 6'2 and walking around without feeling hunched over is a must if I want this to succeed at living aboard. I have fallen in love with the interior space as well as the cockpit and deck space of the 38' boat. I will check out some different listings on yachtworld as well as the bulletin boards at the marinas (very good call). Thanks again. Is the draft on a first 38 too deep for the area I wish to sail?

gnsail 09-20-2007 10:58 AM

Oh one more thing. Another reason I have been looking at a larger boat is the entertaining factor. I have a lot of fraternity brothers in the area who dieing to learn how to sail. I have a feeling many evenings will be entertaining a group of people and teaching them the basics of sailing while enjoying a glass of wine. I have already had more than enough people volunteering for a club racing all I need is the perfect boat.

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