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  #1  
Old 02-01-2013
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What to look for in a new boat

After several years of lessons, skipper charters and day-sail charters, my wife and I have decided to buy our own boat. We know the basics of what we want:

- 36-38 foot
- $85,000 max budget
- two cabin
- forward-facing "L" shaped galley
- large cockpit
- sugar-scoop stern
- fractional rig

Essentially, this is a freshwater starter boat for daysailing and short cruises in the Great Lakes. The question I have (as a relative novice) is: What should I be looking for?

I've looked at the Hunter 376 and it seems to meet many of my needs but I don't especially like the cockpit. What other boats are common on the Great Lakes that I should be looking at? Are there other requirements I should be considering?

I realize that I'm less experienced than most people on this forum, but everyone has to start somewhere. Any input you could offer would be helpful.

Cheers!

G
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Old 02-01-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

Welcome to SailNet, G!
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Old 02-01-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

Thanks, CarbonSink62!

Going from chartering to owning is a pretty steep learning curve, but I'm determined to climb it!

Cheers!

G
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Old 02-01-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

You'll be fine. I went from an 18' trailer-sailer to a 25' pocket cruiser with a 4' iron keel last season. In the weeks before launching I was a nervous wreck about piloting a boat three times larger. Not only was it NOT too much boat, my wife and I are looking to upgrade to a 30' soon.

The peeps in the 40-50' monsters are laughing at both of us.

Ken
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Old 02-01-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

Rather than the Hunter 376 look back at the Hunter Legend 375/355s.. You've got a good budget and other than the fractional rig your parameters should be easily satisfied. Fracs are rather uncommon among the mainstream brands unless you're getting up into the newer stuff, where your budget won't put you.

But there are several Beneteau and Catalina models that will tick many of your boxes...
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Old 02-01-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

Hello,

Welcome to Sailnet and good luck in your search.

I recommend that you spend a bit time on Yachtworld.com and start drooling over the pretty pictures of all the pretty boats. Then go and visit a few of the close by brokers and get on board as many boats as possible. Then you can narrow it down a bit.

With your budget you should be able to buy a nice boat is 'sail away' condition. Don't worry so much about specific makes and models, as long as your are looking for a 'coastal cruiser' type boat, they are all pretty much the same. The big three manufacturers are Catalina, Hunter, and Beneteau. The Catalina is not fractionally rigged, but I don't think that makes much difference. I have never heard a sailor say anything like 'damn, my boat is almost perfect, I wish she was fractionally (or mast head) rigged.'

Some things to consider are:
Do you want more sailing performance or more comfort?
Do you want more comfort when sailing or at anchor?
Is there shallow water where you sail / anchor / explore, or deep water?

I guess that's enough or now.

Take care,
Barry
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Last edited by BarryL; 02-01-2013 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 02-01-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post

But there are several Beneteau and Catalina models that will tick many of your boxes...
I agree with Faster, many of the Production boats will fit the bill for Great Lakes Sailing, but why the Fractional Rig?
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Old 02-01-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

look into where you are going to keep this new boat before you buy, in some locations the length and width of the boat can be a determining factor. some marinas charge by the foot and some by the slip length and going only a few inches longer can cost you a lot more for the slip per month. the newer wider boats can some times also be a challenge in finding a slip
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Old 02-01-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

Thank-you so much for all the input. Out of the Hunter/Beneteau/Catalina, does any one have a better track record for service/maintenance than the others?

What I'm looking for is performance under sail and a comfortable cabin at anchor for entertaining. The fractional rig is for performance (for me) and an easier to handle jib (for my wife). Once I check off as much of my list as I can, my primary concern will be ease of maintenance. Sadly, skipper charters tend to frown on me poking around with the engine or electrical systems.

As long as I'm asking stupid questions: marina or yacht club?
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Old 02-01-2013
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Re: What to look for in a new boat

Welcome did you already sail on the kind of boat you would like ? Are you a member of a local club where you can get some rides ? You have more going for you than you think. It is just hard to buy one type of craft because thats it... you own X and y has .... You do not need to look at this like you settled for one over the other. When you own you will find joy in little things you have learned about your boat. Pride in what you fix. This does not happen when you charter it. Have an exit plan. Will you move up move down or sell out. You said starter boat and you have expressed ideas of what you wish to do. You might want to walk the docks. Kind of cold right now so take a warm car and a note pad. I found notes to myself help. See what the locals use and ask what they like and do not like. I think that a good brand that is common enough to your area is better for the new owner You are already being very thoughtful. Last advice do not rush. You have a good day, Lou

Last edited by Lou452; 02-01-2013 at 12:43 PM.
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