Boat Location Dilemma
Hi all, I've been lurking around these forums for a while now, and finally have to throw out this dumb question.
A little background: I'm 26 yrs old, and have decided to give up the office life before I get entrenched and do the whole live-aboard life for some time. All through college I worked on commercial fishing boats, so I'll be doing that again this summer, and if all goes well, buy a sailboat in the fall.
So my question for those of you who have been in a similar situation: Although I have plenty of 'boat' experience, I don't have much sailing experience, so what are my options if I find my 'dream' boat in the Great Lakes or Maine (I ask because I'm hoping to spend my first year learning and preparing on the west coast or the Gulf coast)? If you aren't a seasoned sailor, did you limit your boat search to your neck of the woods? I'm looking in the 28-35 ft range, so there's hope it could be trailerable. My budget is <20K, so I don't want to spend thousands to have the boat relocated...
I know there's no easy answer, but I'm still hoping someone pulls out a silver bullet :D
My thoughts are buy within sailing range of your home port.
The wife and I looked on the west coast because we live in southern California. As it turned out all of the boats that we have purchased have been within 130 NM of our home port. An easy sail and close to the coast in the event of something happening on your "new" boat.
There are a LOT of great deals to be had for a buyer these days. No reason why you can't find a bargain where you are.
Thank you for the input, tomperanteau.
As I don't have any predefined home port, just a region, I suppose I'll have plenty of boats to consider. West Coast/Gulf Coast covers a lot of territory.
On another general approach topic - If you were a novice like me, wanting to spend a year or two learning to sail your boat before visiting a different continent, which coast would you prefer to be based on? The Gulf Coast obviously appeals due to access to the Caribbean (not to suggest it's a short jaunt from TX to San Blas), but it would be nice to have to avoid hurricane season. I know this is a ridiculously vague question, but where should a novice learn?
Other than Alaska, I've spent most my life in Colorado, hence my ignorance.
As far as which coast, I was born and raised in Houston so we frequented trips to the coast and rented a beach house every summer. I am very familiar with the entire Texas coast. To me it's almost a toss up. In the Gulf you have a lot of coast to explore and of course the Bahamas and other islands. That is VERY attractive. The Gulf can be a bit meaner than the open ocean in that the wave intervals can be shorter and pound you more because of the shallower water there, but the open ocean has its anomalies too.
The west coast has several islands, San Francisco Bay, and then Baja to the south to explore, then Canada and north too. Then you have the Pacific islands to the west. Some of the atols are so beautiful and we have mapped out our plans to see them. And you have a straight shot (well, kinda) to Hawaii and New Zealand/Australia. Those two are must-sees for us, too.
It's all about personal preference when you get right down to it. One thing I really miss about the Gulf is that it is much warmer (hotter) than southern California. It can stay fairly cool here for a long time. Example is that down at the coast it is in the upper 60's right now, and the high will be around 68. Combine that with a fresh breeze and some sea spray coming over the bow and you have to wear a sweater all the time. It isn't warm enough to dawn shorts until around mid to late July. That's why when the wife and I break out of here for good, we'll head south. We want warmer weather and she is a total fisherman. She loves to fish, so we will have to be in warmer waters to satisfy her.
Keep us posted on what your plans are.
Thanks again for the reply. Where do you plan to sail to when you leave Southern Cal?
I'm torn because although the Gulf has more immediate appeal in terms of a variety of close locations while learning the ropes, I'm interested in the South Pacific/western coast of South America/SE Asia than Europe/Africa/Brazil. But there's always the canal, so maybe long term plans shouldn't dominate the decision, eh?
Another factor is that I'll be working summers in SE Alaska. After a year might be able to take a boat up there rather than fly again and again. BUT that also means I'd be missing most of storm season in the Gulf anyway...
On a side note, I just today received in the mail a glorious bundle of books: John Vigor's "Twenty Small Boats to Take You Anywhere" Hal Roth's "How to Sail Around the World" and Hayden's "Wanderer" :)
I currently live on the Gulf Coast (midway between Panama City and Destin), and I can confirm that there are plenty of bargains to be had. Moreover, there are a few DIY boatyards that offer incredible rates. Boats in the length you're considering, however, probably won't be trailer-able. What you may want to consider is getting an older production boat, say a Beneteau, Catalina or Pearson that is in decent condition, and fixing her up. Haul her, do all the necessary below-waterline hull work, splash her, then spend the winter in a liveaboard marina doing all the above waterline repairs while you learn to sail her proficiently. You'll have yourself a ball. Storm season in these parts, I should add, is more than a littlte worrisome.
Isn't on the Gulf Coast and over your price range, but check this one out!
In my researching, I found this table from some old magazine article that is the result of their number crunching to find the best value blue water boats around. I'm curious what everyone things of this list. I haven't seen Colombia mentioned much when people ask for deep sea-worthy boats.
And yeah, that Pearson's a beauty! If only I had the patience to wait another year...
Less Than $25,000
CAPE DORY 28
Try also a Schock 35 - better performance than what you listed
Or a New York 36 - rather lux compared to the boats you list, but you can buy for a bargain.
Since you are working in the summer, my vote would be for the Gulf. Lots of choices for the winter - Keys, Bahamas, Caribbean.
At your size and price range, you are looking at a project boat. Expect to put a lot of time and money into it before its ready for a "blue water" passage.
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