I have a very good friend who is contemplating buying a boat, and has asked me to help him with the process, what to buy, etc. I have a good sense of what I think he should do generally, but it never hurts get varied opinions. So, I'm putting this out there to see what folks think. Here are the parameters:
1. Looking to spend no more than $150,000.
2. Coastal cruising only, and really limited at that. Pretty much daysailing, weekending and a week or two here and there for summer vacations, all in relatively protected water. Essentially Long Island Sound, with some trips out east to Block Island, Martha's Vineyard, Newport, Nantucket, etc.
3. It's a couple in their early 40's, with two children, a boy (9) and girl (7).
4. They do NOT want a fixer-upper. It's important that the boat be low maintenance. He's willing to putter and stuff like that, but he doesn't want to spend his time bringing a boat back to life, or dealing with an old girl who needs lots of attention. He wants to use the boat, not work on the boat.
5. They're looking in the 35' range; could go up or down a few feet. They have some experience. Not tons, but some. They recently came off of a fractional ownership contract where they used a Catalina 350. I think they can handle the boat just fine, but they might be a tad behind the curve in terms of maintaining and managing a cruising boat (which probably puts them in the same category as 90% of all boaters).
6. The wife is willing and a very good sport, but my sense is that if she's not comfortable, she won't be happy, and that a strictly camping type situation will not portend a long life for this venture.
7. They're English, so they talk funny. Not sure what that has to do with the boat they should pick, but thought I'd throw it out there.
8. They are open to buying either new or used, but keep in mind number 4 above, so if used, it needs to be a pretty recent vintage, and in good shape.
Thoughts in terms of brand, new/used, size, etc.? I have my own views, but I'll keep my powder dry to see what others think before posting where I'm likely to steer them.