Join Date: Mar 2007
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That is a very good question.
If you already owned a 31 foot boat, it would be easier to offer an answer. Which, in my opinion, would be that it really is not worth the extra expense to make such a modest upgrade in size (3'). If you had a 31 footer already, I'd push you to stretch a bit more for the larger boat (i.e., the 37 footer).
[There are exceptions, of course. For instance, if you had the 31 footer but the 34 footer was your dream boat in every respect, and it wasn't so much the extra size that you were after.]
But here you have no boat at all, so the slate is clean. If you were moderately experienced, I'd say definitely get the boat with the extra space that you could reasonably afford. The price delta might actually save you money in the long run if you ended up having to upgrade the smaller boat later. Transaction costs and depreciation can be steep.
The glitch is that you indicate that you will be "learning". In my opinion, a 31 footer is a much more reasonable platform on which to cut your teeth than a 37 footer. The other factor is that it is rare for a novice sailor to truly know what he/she wants in their ultimate boat. So you should really be thinking of this as your "first" boat. Which says to me you're going to be eating those transaction and depreciation costs down the road eventually.
Perusing those brochures is like joining a theoretical arms race. It's very tough not to be tempted by the next size up. But, all things considered, this time around it might be best to resist the 3'-foot-itis.
You'll hear other opinions for sure.
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Pacific Seacraft Crealock 31 #62
NEVER CALLS CRUISINGDAD BACK....CAN"T TAKE THE ACCENT