Finding the perfect boat stories
We have just started shopping and are looking for the one. In the past I was just looking for something undervalued, would sail it a couple years and sell.
Put now it is more complicated as we have actual criteria.
There are a lot of boats but not many that meet specific criteria.
It's not like a car lot where you can just show up you have to make appointments and can usually see only one boat at a time.
This may take some time.
How long, how many boats before you found your boat.
What compromises did you make?
Three years of research: reading, comparing specs, making a list of wants and needs, boarding boats at boat shows, sailing on other people's boats, determining what type of sailing fits our lifestyle at this time, making a list of boats that fit the criteria and waiting for the CD in which we put the purchase money to mature. Another couple of months to narrow it down to three manufacturers. Once we decided what we wanted within our budget, it took two months and four boat visits before we found the boat we bought.
Fortunately, John trusted my judgement so I was able to do all the research myself and he entered the process when I had three types of boats on the table.
We're pretty much doing the same with our next boat. He gives me his list of requirements, I find the boat and he writes the check. Works perfectly for us. :D
When I figured out I wanted a sailboat I just used yachtworld and narrowed it down to 2-3 makes. Once I decided the b-40 was the boat for me I started an archive on every b-40 for sale. I keep this up for about six years. During that time a developed a very good idea of prices, price reductions, photos, and how long a specific boat stayed on the market, etc. Of the 200 b-40s made I have a file on about 120 of them. Once I had about 200k burning a hole in my pocket,(!) I think I looked at about 6 boats total in two trips. One trip to Annapolis and the other to Maine. I made an offer to one in Maine which was not accepted. 6 months later I made another offer, slightly more money, and the owner did take it. As far as compromises- each boat is different even within the same make, so it is hard for apples to apples comparison. The previous owner tried to used the dink, outboard, and ships clock, barometer, as bargaining chips. We ended up w/the dink and outboard, but not the Chelsea clock and barometer, which were the real expensive old school ones.
The boat we bought had a complete refit 3 years ago so the new motor, sails, paint, instruments, etc. made this boat more desirable than others we looked at
It would help if you listed your criteria.
For me personally, the criteria for my first boat were simple: Catalina 22 with a trailer, in sailable condition, for under $4K. I looked at 5 boats and bought the best one.
For the second boat the criteria expanded: must have berths for 5, standing headroom, inboard diesel, hot and cold pressure water, real marine head, wheel steering, roller furling, sailable condition, AC / DC electrical system, decent sailing performance. Priced under $20K.
I looked all over long island and southern ct for the right boat. I looked at Catalina 27 (too small), 30 (perfect), S2 9.2A, Islander 30, O'day 28, Irwin 30 and 31, Cal, Ericson, Newport and a few others. I really wanted a Catalina 30 or an S2 9.2A but could not afford the ones I liked. Then, while looking at an S2, I saw a Newport 28. It met all my needs and was affordable. It surveyed fine and I bought it and sailed it home. I spent about 6 months looking before I found the boat.
I sailed that boat for 3 years and it was great for daysails and one night trips, but too small for longer trips. So, the criteria for my next (and current) boat were:
33-36' LOA, with typical accommodations. And it had to include a Swim Platform. I wasn't seriously looking for a boat, but I got a big bonus check at work and I convinced my wife that buying another boat was a good idea. I found an O'day 35 on Yachtworld. The boat was in Newport RI, I am in Selden NY. I called the broker and we chatted about the boat. I told him, look, I want to buy the boat, but I'm not going to bother traveling to see it if it's junk. Long story short, the boat was nice and I bought it for a great price.
As it turns out, my criteria have changed again. My kids are getting older (17, 14, 10) and don't like spending days on the boat. With time being limited, I don't have time for many long trips anyway. So, having a boat with enough space for 5 to spend a week aboard isn't that important anymore. I would rather have a boat that sails much better. I'm not ready to sell my O'day and buy something else, but I can see that happening in a year or so.
Thank you all. Great real world stories. In short it seems to take months if not years.
Barry, We are still in the criteria setting stage. I don't want to rush much wife. She has only warmed to the idea the last couple of months and since every boat is such a compromise I need to give her time to set priority's.
See my next thread.
Six years ?
Our last shop was a tough one... we had just sold our 40 footer (owned jointly with partners) and were shopping for a boat 'just for us'.
We knew we wanted to downsize, otherwise we'd have likely bought out our partners. Initially we targeted 30 feet. I can tell you it's much easier to go from 25 to 30, or from 28 to 40 (as we had done) than to go back down.
We looked at a number of offerings locally and in WA state in the 30 foot range but everything looked impossibly small. In the end we settled on 35 feet. This was in 2004 before the crash hit the market and pickings were quite slim, esp locally where everything seem overpriced, trashed, or both.
We were not shy about 'no names', as we have never owned a Benehuntalina at any point in our sailing, this was to be our fifth boat. On our list of 'wants' was two good doubles (without converting a dinette), wheel steering, fractional rig, fin keel/spade, no 'projects', and our 'please' list included H&C pressure water and a fridge (which we had never really had)
In the end the boat we have satisfied most of those things, and has a pretty good 'row away factor' too. We found her in Poulsbo WA, had a tremendously positive experience with the seller, and now, 7 years later she's really coming together with canvas and upholstery updates, Max prop this spring, better sails, etc.
Our only beef/compromise that continues to niggle is that the cockpit is somewhat cramped and does not offer a really good upwind seated helm position.. but then again most of the time it's just two of us so.....
We spent five years happily racing and cruising (2 -3 days at at time) on a new '76 Ranger 20. Sold that to find a boat with a real interior with a marine head (!) and some cruising amenities. Bought a two year old Niagara 26 and sailed it for ten years. Lots of great vacations for weeks at a time and a couple of successful racing seasons. Sold it to look for a larger performance cruiser. After a year of driving all over the NW and into BC, we finally found our present boat down in the SF Bay area. It was affordable because it needed a lot of cleanup work. That was in '94, and we still have it. We were shopping for something in the 30 to 32 foot range and lucked into the Olson 34. Wife still loves sailing it rail down and living on it for a week or two.
Market is full of "sailboats" that are mostly condo's and RV's, but it's rare to have a boat that Lives as well as it Sails.
(Not like I have any bias, of course!)
Keep looking and be careful not to rule out any possibilities. We thought we might get something around 30' but really ended up with about 11K displacement, and a bunch more waterline length. If you can choose between short and fat or longer and leaner, buy all the waterline you can! Nothing else will give you speed....
Heck, we can motor at 7.2 and close reach easily with the 135 at 9+. And buy all of the basic quality you can; after 25 years, great sailing design and the hull-to-deck joint engineering quality counts way more than gadgets.! :)
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