A little about me:
Married with one 4 legged child
My wife and I took sailing lessons in Oriental, NC about 4-6 years ago. We were planning on getting our boat sooner, but we decided that her law school dreams would come first. I plan to retake lessons again to refresh my knowledge.
My primary sailing area will be around Charleston, SC. From what I have heard, the draft of the boat is important. I am looking for a comfortable cruiser that would hold an occasional extra few friends. I would prefer not to spend more than 75,000-100,000 and feel that 34-36 feet would be the maximum length I would feel comfortable with starting out.
A few extra friends for how long??? One of my friends says the following about their C&C 38: Sails 6, Feeds 4, Sleeps 2... and it isn't too bad a rule of thumb... most boats are find for daysailing with more people than they can feed and can sleep only a couple people really comfortably for any significant period of time.
I have been looking at Beneteaus for a few reasons:
1- There is a good local dealer to help me
2- The boats look good to my eye
3- They seem to be well built
I plan to cruise in the Charleston area, with occasional trips south to Savannah, and possibly north to Myrtle Beach to start off with. Later I would hope to do some longer trips.
Any suggestions on boats or things to look for/avoid would be welcomed. Any locals with knowledge about the marinas would be helpful as well.
Any more info I can give, please ask.
I would highly recommend not limiting your search to just one brand just because they have a dealer nearby. Unless you are buying the boat new, having the dealer nearby isn't going to mean a whole lot
. And if you're buying used, you're eliminating a large group of boats that might be perfectly suited to your needs.
Also, if you're buying used, I'd recommend that you reserve 15-20% of your purchase budget for outfitting, upgrading and modifying the boat you do end up buying. I'd also recommend you buy one in the best condition you can, even if it means getting a slightly smaller boat, since the cost of refurbishing or upgrading one to good condition is often far more than buying the same boat in good condition to start with.
I would also recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips
thread I started, as it will help you determine whether the boats you look at are worth going further with.