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post #1 of 35 Old 08-27-2009 Thread Starter
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Hello all, third post on this vast forum. I need advice/opinions from those who have been there.

The dream; Retire in 6 years at 39 years of age and want to live.

The means; Little debt other than my house and truck. Substantial disposable income. Good retirement coming for the rest of my life in a small amount of time.

The mentality; I am a minimalist, always have been.

Now the question.

I have been scouring forums for some time now, read Atoms voyages, Fiberglass Vengeance stories, studied vast replies from very salty people who know better and yet I am still slightly confused. All I want is a small boat- under 32' with the basics or at least the capability to add them, that with a good skipper-(me with experience and training)- that I don't have to "trade in" later in life to fit my at the moment dreams, whatever they may be. Basically a boat that can be sailed single handed, cruise the ICW yet with proper prep sail anywhere.

I fully understand watching the weather and making good decisions regarding when to leave port or not. However, stealing from many years of power boating on the Chesapeake Bay and off the coast of Northeastern Florida, you never know when a squall will come through that brings with it large and confused seas. That being said, a boat that will not fall apart underneath me. I have been caught in storms in a Boston Whaler that by my miscalculations became fully swamped- yet I was able to bail it out and help someone else who was not so lucky...nothing like 20' breaking waves in a 15' open boat to calm the soul.....yea right.

I know nothing about sailboats.

Based on weeks of reading- including many good books at the library, I have nailed it down to a few old boats. Keeping in mind that I don't want to splurge on an expensive boat. I am keeping the cost under 10k for the purchase price.

After creating a long list based off of the following criteria,

1) Aesthetics
2) Cost
3) Support
4) Reputation
5) Inboard
6) High ballast to displacement ratio
7) Standing headroom
8) Small cockpit
9) Good drains
10) longest waterline length

I have drastically shortened that list

All that is left are the following;

Pearson Triton
Bristol 27/29
Sailmaster 26
Cape Dory 25
Albin Vega- though it falls short in the Aesthetics department.

The usage of my boat will be 90% Coastal Cruising for the next six years, 10% Bahamas and island hopping- then, provided cigarettes, Iraq and Afghanistan don't kill me, Pacific ocean passages and Atlantic crossings- with the intent of staying at the final destinations until I tire of them to see more of the world.

I have no interest in a 40'+ boat. (I live in a 2500 sq' house yet use bedroom and kitchen....don't even have furniture in the other rooms. )

Am I missing out on anything by narrowing my choices to these particular boats?

I have a Hobie 16 for the wet, speed enhanced excitement.

I have read all the reviews regarding Columbia's, Flicka's and Contessa's but they do nothing for me in the looks department. To each his own I guess. Some like blonds and so forth.

There are many good cruising boats out there other than what I have listed, but they are either to expensive, ugly or are generally unavailable with little support. Yet, people travel and live their dreams on O'days's and the like regularly. These people are already on the islands in the sun while I sit here pondering on my boat selection. However, would you want to endure a Gale 8 storm in one? Some would say "not in any boat you listed either" but given a choice? The best weather planning is still at the mercy of nature- and it would seem that at that point the things that matter are the skippers ability, luck and then the boat holding together. In that order.

What are your views/ opinions on what I have said? Are my choices sound? Logic correct? Notice that for some reason all my boats are full keel older designs. Why is that?

Thanks and I look forward to your replies. Alan
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post #2 of 35 Old 08-27-2009
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10K seems to me unrealistic for a solid, heavy-use boat you describe. The "sail anywhere" criterion would mean more initial money invested to get a solid and bluewater design boat, and more money to get it fully equipped.
I have somewhat similar aspirations and have decided on a Catalac catamaran. I hope to be buying one soon.
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post #3 of 35 Old 08-27-2009
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Your's is a variation of the same question asked seemingly every day here by at least one person who has a dream but no real offshore experience. Rather than reiterate all the same answers and conflicting opinion, just imagine being your own diesel mechanic, electrician, cook, plumber, HVAC expert, refrigeration repairman and, if you have kids, school teacher, all simultaneously with constant boat maintenance, navigation and do ao while sleep deprived, sea sick, smelly and hot. Add being in a confined, constantly moving space for prolonged periods.

This isn't intended to be condescending; just a true picture of what it's really like. some people love the life. Some do not. Do you know which you are?

Once you can accept that reality, it's time to start either boat shopping or beach condo shopping.
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post #4 of 35 Old 08-27-2009
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I dunno. 10K? It's more and more a buyers market. There are 2 pretty nice Bristols on eBay right now. The 28 footer is at 4K, the 29 footer at 6K. Not bad at all.
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post #5 of 35 Old 08-27-2009
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go tmy formosa 41 for 10k --there are many boats in decent shape selling for less--why shouldnt he find one for 10k or even less?? is a total buyers market and will be for a long time yet, as folks sell the toys they can no longer afford....
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post #6 of 35 Old 08-27-2009
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The Cape Dory 25D would be my dream pocket cruiser but it will cost more than 10k for one in good enough shape.

Expand your price to 25k and your dream is much more possible. I say this because, if you buy a 40 year old Triton for 10k, it will be at least 15k extra to get her up to speed for the trips.

It sounds like you do not want to finance the boat, but paying off a 25k boat over 5 years is not a big undertaking. You plan to coastal cruise during that time anyways.
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post #7 of 35 Old 08-27-2009 Thread Starter
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Rep Power: 8 should try being in a combat zone for 9 tours...I have gained a new perspective on what harsh and reality really is all about...)) I am simply looking to slow everything down and enjoy everything that is right about the world. But that is for a VA forum...lets talk sailboats.

yes, it seems my concerns have been addressed in many different ways on a multitude of different forums- including this one. I feel as I have read many of them and still walked away somewhat confused.

I have learned lessons with cars, where no matter how much money you put into a Camaro, its still not a Corvette. I do not want to make the same mistake with a boat. I get long winded at times but I will try and summarize my concerns.

Am I missing out on anything by looking at full keel heavy displacement inboard boats?

Would it make more sense to get a lightweight racer/weekender type hull and push limits until I am ready to retire and cast off? Or does it make sense to start out with what I want to end up with- all the while improving and upgrading for the eventual use?

In these very forums I have read countless opinions on why one should not use a ocean prepped boat for coastal cruising, an article regarding a man who bought a Valiant 40 for use on lake Lanier, Ga comes to mind. I do live right on the Atlantic Ocean- this is where the boat will be used. It is not a harbor or a sound, it is beach- then ocean.

The very reason I don't want a true "bluewater" boat is due to the coastal use I have planned over the next six or seven years. However, those listed boats did not appear in my mind on a whim. They are highly decorated boats recommended by the people on these forums. Sailors, cruisers and some brave enough to circumnavigate solo on them.

Six or so months ago when I finally decided to start actively pursuing my dream, knowing nothing about sailboats, I almost bought a 1968 Graves Constellation. Beautiful boat but.....after researching I found that it was not anything near what I would want or need a few years from now. Wow, I may have just answered my own question.

Are the reputations that keep these old boats alive worth the compromises that come with them?

They are good boats because they are strong and perform well enough to offset the weight and other trade offs of being built strong. Correct?

I was not asking for anyone to judge my dreams and aspirations, though feel free to do so. Having researched, dock walked and yard scavenged boats and compiling all the information I have read or received by talking to people, these were the boats that were left standing after the weeding out process. I simply wanted to bounce all this off of everyone who reads this and get some last minute- "they will do what you ask or that boat will fail...I have tried it advice" Hence the posts name...

Man, i am long winded....Anyway, the boats listed have an aura surrounding them by so many people regarding their capabilities that I wanted to see if it was mystical hype/owner bias or are these boats really solid/safe/accommodating foundations to start with. I really only want to kickstart this project once and not waste time and money on something that is past its service life.

To sum it holds barred. Are these boats really that good? Good enough to overlook other boats? Please clarify my confusion. Thanks for your input so far. Alan
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post #8 of 35 Old 08-27-2009 Thread Starter
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One further question before someone kicks me off of here for talking to much.

Why does everyone quote 15-20k to outfit a boat? I have priced new running and standing rigging, ports, sails and lines, winches and thru hulls and whatnot and it comes nowhere near $20,000. This was for a Triton by the way. As far as glassing goes, have not received any offers in the crew wanted section so i bought a bunch of glassing material and have been making molds of things in my garage..(I really need a hobby...) These materials are not even that expensive. As far as labor cost...0 (zero) I can do electrical/mechanical and wood working blindfolded. well maybe not woodworking...its hard to measure when you cant see. Am I missing something major in the costs to oufit a boat?

Oh yea, electronics. Provided nothing is serviceable in the boat I buy- GPS and depth sounders are not that expensive. 2k for a gizmo that not only tells me where I am, but will practically tell me what type of fish are under me and how to properly cook them...
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post #9 of 35 Old 08-27-2009
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If you're singlehanding, you'll want some kind of self-steering (Ares or Monitor windvane, etc). Thats big money.

S/V Jendai
Beneteau 343
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post #10 of 35 Old 08-27-2009
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everyone says it will cost more because refitting a boat is like remodeling a house.. it takes longer and costs more every time... No matter how careful and prepared you are it is going to wind up being more and harder than you thought. Just the nature of the beast.

I.E. The water pump doesn't work and in removing that hardware you find the plumbing lines are compromised and as long as you are under there you might as well replace them. Then you get back to the water tank and when you remove the hoses from the nipple lo and behold, the tank has deteriorated (we ARE talking about an older boat, non?) and instead of just putting on the darn faucet you got a great deal on at the marine salvage store you are building cardboard models of water tanks to maximize usage of the space the tank is in currently and researching everything you can find about water systems in general...

Honest. Always bet on the unknown nippin yer tush.

And as far as picking a boat, I know only enough to be dangerous so I wouldn't dream of advising anyone on whet to buy, but I will say that I truely believe that there is a bit of magic involved in the process of selecting a companion as intimate as a boat...

Research until you have a solid understanding of what you are looking for and at.

And then go looking. All that brain knowledge will oversee the gestalt of your emotional connection when you step aboard the right one.

At some point what seems complicated, obscure and difficult will become clear and straightforward.

Good luck!


ain't what ya do, it's the way that ya do it...
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