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Old 11-13-2011
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Need help choosing a boat

I will have several questions before I'm done, but I'll take this a little at a time. I'm looking to buy another sail boat, so I'm probably nuts anyway! But it's time for me to take the leap. Here's the question. I live in in Maine, not far from Canada. I'm tired of 30 degrees below zero and a 30mph breeze. Thinking I'd like to spend the winter months in the Gulf of Mexico next year. So I'm looking at a live aboard for 4 months and the ability to travel down the coast and around the Gulf. Most of my experiance is on 21 footers. So this will be an adventure I'm sure. I've been looking at 30-32 footers. Some people say go bigger, that these are too small for the ocean. Tell me what you think, and if the're too small how big should I go. I'm not a racer, I just want to sail in comfort. This will be a solo trip so that might factor into the size of the boat. Thanks for your input!!

matt
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Old 11-13-2011
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Your size range sounds fine for singlehanding coastal sailing.. and will represent a substantial moveup from your 21 footers..

Naming the specific area you have in mind may help others suggest availabilities in that area. It would make sense to buy a boat already in the area....
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Old 11-13-2011
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And your budget is....
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Old 11-13-2011
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There are lots of coastal cruising boats that would be suitable for what you are looking for. Here is a book that suggests 20 small boats that will take you anywhere: Bookstore
Well worth a read.
You should try to get aboard as many boats in the 27 - 32' range as you can before you pull the trigger.
Everything costs exponentially more for bigger boats.
He11, even a Tartan 27' in pristine shape would do the trick.
Good luck.
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Old 11-13-2011
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Top end I'd like to buy for about 25K and that leaves about 5K for any needed repair or refit. I'm looking at something in the mid to late 80's or early 90's. So I expect some work will be needed, but I can do a bit myself, so it may not be too bad!.
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Consider a mid to late 80's hunter 34. A lot of boat for the money.
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Old 11-13-2011
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The Hunter 34 has a nice layout for a livaboard. The aft cabin would be great for sleeping, and you can shut the door and bulkhead opening to keep it private, or open them to keep it cooler. (It can be stuffy back there!) Other boats like Pearson & Tartan might be tougher, and hold up better to rough conditions - it depends a bit on what sort of weather you think you'll head out in. Pearsons and Tartans in your price range will tend to have forward cabins, which will be less comfortable under way, but if it's your boat, you'd be able to move to whatever bunk you wanted then. Stowage may be an issue on some boats - make sure there's room for at least some of your stuff!
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I'm think the more rugged the better. As for front berth, I'm running solo so it shouldn't be going far if I'm in the rack!! At least I hope it doesn't.
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Old 11-14-2011
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When you say rugged do you mean Alberg/Cape Dory/Valiant type build quality or do you just mean something better built than a Hunter, ie Erikson, C&C etc.
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Old 11-14-2011
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Do remember draft is critical for you - less than 5 feet
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