I'm itching to buy my first boat.
I've crewed a C&C36 in Puget Sound, a Hobie33 near Annapolis, and I destroyed a Thistle when I was 16 on the Columbia River (good times). Oh, and I earned my small boat merit badge, twice (the instructor was a very hot 18 year old girl the second time, and I was the only scout entrolled). Really though, I've been exposed to sailing all my life, and I'm ready to move up to having my own boat.
First and foremost, should I buy now? As I have informed my wife, I will be buying a sailboat in the next couple years. Non-negotiable. She accepts this reality. I married a smart one. Objectively, this isn't a great time for me to buy. I have a house I am remodeling myself, which takes a lot of time and money. Kids are 2-3 years off, they will want a lot of my money too. But there will always be something, and if I wait for the logical time to throw tons of money into a depreciating hole in the water, there won't ever be a right time.
I'm wondering if the recession makes a compelling argument for moving ahead. If it saves me $0-5k compared to a year from now, it's not worth it. If it's going to save me $5-10k, it might be worth it. My budget isn't really going to increase, so if a given boat is $10k more expensive next year, I will be moving down to the next lower class.
I'm comfortable spending $25-50k for a boat in the 30' range. I'll need to finance whatever I buy, so I'll need 1-6 months to put together a down payment in the 10% range.
Should I wait until Fall for better seasonal prices?
Bonus question: what to buy. I'm looking for a safe, fast, stable, inexpensive, brand new boat, with only the best rigging and a 30 year warrantee.
In lieu of that, I'm thinking something ready to sail on the Chesapeake and up and down the East Coast for the next 2-3 years. After that we plan to return to our native lands of the Pacific NW, so I can either sell the boat, ship it, or make an adventure of it and sail it over. Coastal cruising is our thing, and while I don't plan to race the boat, I also don't want to feel like I'm driving a VW Bus on the autobahn. We will probably sail one full weekend a month, maybe a few day-sails a month, and a couple multi-day trips a year. In many cases, we will be joined by 2 med/large dogs as well.
It needs to be easy to sail. My wife is still forming an opinion on sailing. I need to be able to singlehand it, or sail it with green crew members while building my own skills. Comfortable capacity of up to 6 would be good. The Aloha 28 has caught my attention for a cheaper option, and I've seen several affordable Beneteau 321s as well. I realize Beneteaus are a love/hate proposition, but I like the large cockpit and salon for entertaining friends and keeping spouses who might not feel like participating in the action happy.
Like I said, up to $50k is probably ok. I can realistically spend about $1200/month on boat, mooring, insurance and upkeep.