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  #1  
Old 11-10-2002
dnr dnr is offline
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First boat search is overwhelming

I''m looking to buy my first sailboat. My plan is to keep it in Florida (I''m in Ohio) and use it as a vacation destination for 6 or 8 weekends a year - plus a week long cruise once or twice. Explore the Florida coast and the Bahamas. Six months ago, this was a fascinating search. Now I keep bouncing back and forth between models and sizes, and I think I''m trying to find the ever-elusive ''perfect'' boat. I admit I love looking at used boats, and am especially interested in hearing others first hand accounts and recommendations. To date, I know this... my budget is $65k, less if possible. I want to buy it and sail the same day - no project boats based upon my limited sail time. Thus mechanical and structural soundness over appearance, although my wife will hold me to higher standards on the cosmetic side. I need to sleep 4 to 6 adults without being too crowded, so I''m looking at 35 to 41ft. Max draft of 5 foot to get me into shallow areas. I''d like something fun to sail, not a tug. My search lately has centered on mid-to-late 80''s Pearson 36, mid 80''s and earlier Morgan''s, and mid 80''s Beneteau Oceanis 380. I''ve sailed on a mid 80''s Jeanneau built O''Day 3 cabin that was nice. Some of the Endeavours look promising. Anyone have any input on these boats? Any others in my price range to be considered? ANy and all advice will be appreciated.
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Old 11-11-2002
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First boat search is overwhelming

Good luck - Having just finished a similar quest - with some success. I can only tell you that there is much chaff Especially if you want a non-project boat for below 65k. Also if you do not know how to sail I am not sure I would recommend learning on a 40 footer.
Having said that - my experience was that the price range we are (were) both in - sends us into "older boats." This in and of its-self is not a bad thing - but watch out for certain critical areas. Had two boats fail survey because of moisture laden decks with attendant rot inside core. The cost to fix one was too much to make the boat worth while the other - the surveyor did not know if it could be fixed! Other problem areas are tanks. Especially metal tanks - sometimes a tank can be replaced relatively easilly. Other times it can mean ripping out large areas of the boat and much cost. A survey will not always be able to see a problem on the bottom of a tank in the bilge.
The boat I ended up with has tanks that can be replaced easilly and are fiberglass which should be more repairable...
Then there is the engine, rigging, etc etc
AND THEN there are accomodations. Really liked a lot about CC 38 landfall but could not fit into what they call the double aft cabin.

A final note not sure there is such a beast as a turnkey boat - and even if it is it will require a fair amount of time to keep it that way.

Fair winds Todd
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Old 11-12-2002
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First boat search is overwhelming

DNR:

First, someone should point out that you are the perfect candidate for co-ownership or partnership. As one example, a good friend with a nice late model sloop was finding he & his wife used their boat very little, yet hated to give up both it and sailing altogether. Instead, they formed a partnership (used the same basic format as we''d been using on a small airplane) and now co-own the boat with a couple from Ohio. IMO the Ohio owners have the best of all worlds: small costs, day-to-day details handled by the in-town owners, and contractual commitments for far more use time than they can take advantage of. They''ve been down to the Keys, over to the Bahamas, and all for a fraction of the full-up ownership cost. As I look around the marinas here in St. Pete, FL, it occurs to me that many more owners should have similar arrangements.

If you want to own 100% of the boat, you''ll have to adjust your goals...which may be one reason why the long search has produced disappointing results to date. E.g. sleeping 6 people - put 2-4 of them up in the nearby motel and everyone on the boat will be more comfortable. You might also want to reconsider the methodology of your search: get off the web, take a ''working vacation'' in the Lauderdale/Miami area, as one example, presecreen brokered boats offered by multiple brokers before arrival, and then relentlessly work the search. You''ll get well past the tire kicking phase very quickly as you put your hands on boats, and some brokers will see the advantage of winnowing down the ''usual suspects'' to the few which ''may'' meet your needs.

Good luck - who would have thought that shopping for a boat turns out to be so much work, right!?

jack
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Old 11-12-2002
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First boat search is overwhelming

Thanks for all that. When I fist started looking, the thought of share ownership didn''t have any appeal. At this point, I''m starting to see some advantages and would seriously entertain such a joint venture if it presents itself. Full ownership is still my preference. I have talked to more than one seller who said they were selling because they weren''t sailing as much. If I can''t get together on price, share ownership may be something I might present to them.
As for berth capacity, here is my frame of mind. I spent a week at a sailing school where we lived on a 39'' O''Day - myself, the instructor and 3 other grown men. It had a v birth, two aft quarter births and each settee converted. It was tight, but I really didn''t mind it. My crew will be my family most all of the time, and the confined space wouldn''t be much different than camping. I don''t anticipate that being a problem, but until I''ve spent some time in that situation I can''t be sure. Also, full family crew of 6 will be the exception, more likely 2 to 4 of us on most trips.
I am really intrigued with the number of makes and variety of sailboat designs. I''ve spent most of my time trying to get familiar with the various design purposes, advantages and disadvantages. This research keeps leading me back to the Pearson 36'' centerboard model. I would think it would be well suited for Keys/Bahamas. Pearson''s seem to have a very loyal owners group. The late 80''s model has a nice interior configuration with 1 quarter berth plus v berth. Salon is arrainged nicely. Most used Pearson''s in this size range also seem to be cared for a little better than some of the higher production models like the Beneteaus - maybe that is just a function of the numbers. I can''t get a feel for the sailing speed of that size Pearson, although I signed up for their email list on this site to get some insight. I also like the C&C 37.
I do realize my price range and boat wants don''t mesh very well. I will end up buying a smaller boat for that money, or raising my price.
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Old 11-12-2002
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First boat search is overwhelming

Here''s more "stuff" to consider. If you''re fixed on your price and want performance/value, I''d be looking at the Catalina 34/36. We sail and love an Island Packet 31''. It conforms to most of your requirements, but it''s not a performance sailer. It''s unusually roomy for its overall length, but it would be cozy for 2 couples--unless you''re really close!

I will pass this along--most sailers (*though they''ll deny it), including us, spend 30-50% of the time motoring. ALL sailboats in the 32-38'' range motor at 5-6 1/2 knots.

We know a lot about the West coast of Florida. If you''re looking for more info about sailing in and around SW Florida, let us know.
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Old 11-08-2006
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i recently had good luck finding a boat on craigslist.com . but i wrote my own "want to buy" ad, instead of waiting for the right boat to show up. i have seen share ads on the list. what ever you do, don't mention money till an offer is made. you may get a 1/2 or 1/3 share for far less than 65 grand and a possibly great intro to the cruising life in the islands.
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Old 11-09-2006
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At your budget there are a LOT of good boats on YW, myself I have been looking, and narrowing it down to Pearsons, Tartans and a few Morgans. And my budget is less then yours.

I would suggest getting your family also to a sailing school, maybe all of you do it together, you'll get a feel of how everyone fits in, maybe do a bareboat charter with an instructor, the training would be excellent for your family and give you a common sailing experience with an instructor to guide everyone.

Something else I am doing is reading everything I can get on cruising and circumnavigating, all have a lot of excellent input for boats like you are describing, I found some excellent buys on the amazon.com used categorys. Studying the cruising capability requirements gives excellent insight.

For all practical purposes now you have the winter to do your homework, a great many of the available boats are on the hard , I'd narrow it down to about a dozen after you get your prioritys worked out, for a family cruiser you need tankage as well as berths. Myself I am planning a single hander and still want more tankage then many of the boats I see listed have.

Break the whole thing down to steps and pieces, if you try to do it all at one gulp you'll choke. The Pearson list is good, there are two of them, also the Tartan list, chances are good my choice will be one or the other.

Good luck.

Last edited by JakeLevi; 11-09-2006 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 11-09-2006
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Given that you have relatively limited time to sail it... six-to-eight weekends and a couple of week-long sails, and no time to do maintenance on it... I would say that your only option is a program like SailTime or something similar.

Boats require a lot of maintenance
, and given your limited budget, it is very unlikely that you could pay someone to do the maintenance required on your boat, and it is really unlikely that you could do it, being over 1500 miles away.

It is also very likely that any boat you could afford would either be too small, if it were in "sail away" condition, or require more work than you can afford to put into it to get it into "sail-away" condition. This is even true of many new boats.

Most people, especially those who have never owned a sailboat, don't realize that a boat purchase is nothing like that of a car. You don't just buy it and get in it and sail away most of the times.

Most of the time, you buy it, sail it a bit, and find a bunch of things that you can't stand about it, or that you really think need to be changed, and over time you change them, add equipment, re-arrange equipment, etc. This is almost never the case with cars, as in many ways cars are much simpler in their function and design.
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Old 11-09-2006
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to buy ornot to buy

Sailingdog is right, this was floating around in the back of my mind and didnt coalesce until I read his post.

You might well look into keeping a boat on Lake Erie, rather then Fla, once you are all well conditioned to living aboard you could take a longer time and up the Seaway and then down the coast and out to the Bahamas.

Other then that look into bareboat chartering.
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Old 11-09-2006
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I have to agree w/ SD about your plans and the maintenance issues. You also need to consider the costs & risks of dockage in FL in hurricane season and insurance. If you truly are limited to 65K...these annual costs AND maintenance (10% of value/year guestimate) may surprise you. On a PER DAY OF USE cost basis lets take a look:

Cost of boat: 65K investment at 5% cost of money = $3250 / year
Dockage: $12/foot monthly + electric= $5500 / year
Maintenance: MINIMUM $3K/year
Insurance: Figure $4k/year in FL
Depreciation of boat value: let's say $2k/year minimum
That's about $18K per year.
You are planning 6-8 weekends + a week vacation....let's call it 25 days a year of use...that is $720 per day AND you'll constantly be worried about the boat. Seems to me that you can do some pretty good chartering for $18 grand a year! How does three weeks a year in the Virgin Islands sound to you instead??
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