coastal cruiser recommendation
I am looking to purchase a newer used monohull in the 38 to 43 foot range for cruising in the Chesapeake for a few years, then moving down the east coast to the caribe as i get nearer retirement. Crew would be self and wife, but would need berths for 1 or 2 other couples. We have sailed day sailers for years on lakes in the NE, plus chartered / time shared larger boats on the Chesapeake, BVI, and Greek islands - so have some experience - but not bluewater. Our plans are to keep the boat on the Chesapeake to get familiar with it over several years plus take some bluewater sailing courses before venturing further afield. We have chartered cats, and the usual jeanneau, beneteau, bavaria, dufour, plus IP. I was not impressed with the build quality of the first 4 - they were OK for the charter trade, but I am looking for a better built boat. The IP 440 sailed better than expected, but still seemed sluggish. The IP380 could not point, and was frustratingly slow. I would like to spend somewhere in the 200 to 350k range for a boat no more than 8 years old. We like the Finngulf - but are concerned about the small tankage, saildrive, and the fact that it may be a lot of boat to handle. The wife wants a swim platform as she tore a rotator cuff geeting from the dinghy onto a boat, so this rules out valiants etc. I would really like suggestions / thoughts on what would be a suitable boat, and pros / cons based on peoples experience.
Goto advanced search.
Search Sail, new&used, north america, northeast, $200,000-$500,000 and you will find 216 boats to look at between 200k and 350k.
That would be a great start. Then start asking about specific models as you already have concluded that Bene, Cata, Jeaun, IP and so forth are not on your list.
Take a look at the Tartan 4100.
I agree that the Tartan 4100 would be a good choice. All 4100 owners love the quality and performance of their boats. I saw one for sale by Tartan C&C of Annapolis located at the Port Annapolis Marina last weekend. It looked good.
I would re-think excluding the production boats for your intended use (you haven't mentioned all production boats, but my sense from your post is that you think they are not up to the task). Putting aside taste and the intangibles of what type of boats you like, production boats (whether they be Jeanneau, Hunter, Catalina, Beneteau, Bavaria, and the list goes on) can handle the Chesepeake, the US east coast, Bahamas, and Carribbean without trouble. If you plan to do extended offshore work, or certain other missions such as high lattitude sailing, then the production boats are less suited. But for island hopping in the Carribbean, including getting to/from, they are fine, and in fact may be better suited for a variety of reasons that have been written about extensively (e.g., more comfortable at anchor, faster, less expensive, better manners around the docks).
Also, you mention that though you think they are OK for charter you think they are not sufficient for Carribbean cruising. Keep in mind that charter boats get used more often and are abused like few other boats. Plus, they all are delivered to their charter bases on their own bottoms, which for most mean they've done an ocean crossing of one sort or another.
Anyway, there are plenty of boats that have better fit and finish, are more prestigious, have higher build quality, and are just plain nicer. And if these are attributes that are important to you (and that's certainly a reasonable perspective), then I could understand not wanting a production boat. But don't exclude them because you think they are not suited or are incapable for what you are planning to do. That would be a mistake, in my view (not to mention possibly over-spending precious cruising kitty dollars).
A further thought too, which is why I write this. You are looking for a boat that can house 4 to 6 people, and it must have a swim platform, you want it to be 8 years old or newer, and you want to spend only 200,000 to 350,000 (you mention 38 to 43 feet, but 4 to 6 adults living in that space for any period of time is going to be very tight). There are precious few boats that are going to fit those parameters, and most of them are going to be production boats in one form or another. Just my view, which is worth what you've paid for it.
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