I'm trying to glean all the knowledge that I can prior to a boat purchase. It seems like sifting though all the posts and data is a daunting task. I have come to the conclusion that I need to establish design/style/type/size/usage parameters first. Collating all the available makes and models to determine the best possible match will be a real head-scratcher.
I plan to be aboard most weekends and probably for a week or so several times a season. Mostly going to single-hand with the occasional "mate" aboard. This weekending will be in prep for living aboard permanently, potentially traveling the ICW seasonally and honing my skills for same.
Starting with size; I believe that a 26 foot boat would suit best. Not too big to single for a neophyte; but large enough to not be outgrown in a few years. Seems that the break-point for "small boats" tops out at 25 feet. Once above that magical number, the interior options and cabin designs grow exponentially. I'll probably limit the LOA to 27 or 28 to get the right boat; but I'd still like to stay at the lesser lenght to allow for moving the boat on a trailer..if necessary.
While I have a certain attraction to the higher-end products; my budget will not allow purchase of a new...or even used...Pacific Seacraft or Com Pac. I like a boat to look like a boat. Call me 'old school; but a gently scalloped sheer line, round hull profile and a broad bottom fit my ideal . I'm most definitely NOT seeking a racer or race/cruiser! I have no "need for speed" and don't see a possibility of wanting to wet the toe rail.Think "slow boat to China"
No hurry! I have the rest of my life to get there.
Sadly, the full keels would not work well, as I will be using this one on the (far) North Chesapeake and would not have the depth available, except in the channel. Add the fact that there's a lot more wind needed to move a keel-boat, the stub-keel and/or drop centerboard seems to fit the bill. I'll willingly trade extreme shoal-draft for maneuverability, tho
I want it bigger on the inside than the outside!
Roomy enuff to spend time below without becoming claustrophobic. Sized to accommodate two in some sembalance of comfort. I'd rather sleep two comfortably than have a buncha skinny, uncomfortable berths or a plan that touts "sleeps 6"!
Five feet ten inches standing headroom works for me. More traditional "dog box" superstructures fit my eye better that modern flush decks and sloped ports. A trade-off of cockpit room for space below would be OK with me. Enuff room in the cockpit for two or three under way and perhaps four to luxuriate while in the slip would be fine.
A simple sail plan would be best. A standard sloop rig would work; but I'm not averse to other possibilities. Hopefully, there'll be room below (and in the budget!) for an inboard diesel; but I could live with an O/B as needs must.
I can do most of the necessary glass, wood and paint work for an older boat. I just need a solid hull, decent rigging and a "just right" design.
So far, I have it (somewhat) narrowed down to a late '60s Columbia, a (slightly) later Cal/Jensen or an O'Day of indistinct vintage. I understand that *some* of the first two had the centerboard option; but are far and few between.
Am I being unrealistic in my desires; or is there a design that fits somewhere??? Have any recommendations to add?? I have some time to search, as I don;t plan on buying much before Spring.... unless *the* boat comes along
on the hunt,