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Lanealoha 05-22-2019 03:49 PM

Another Boat Buying Thread
Hey guys. I’ve got a few questions, comments and curiosities that I’d be interested in hearing your views and or experiences on as well as just some general ramblings on my part.

Here it is May 21st, I’m dreading the forecast week of continuing snow showers and rain and wind. But oh does the wind make me itch, the snow just makes me cold, and all though it is fun to slide around on in the mountains on the other side of the street I’m getting tired of 8 months of winter and am ready to load up the wife and son and head to the tropics. 20 years of shoveling and 8 month winters has gotten old, specially for my Hawaiian wife and son, let alone my gills are drying out here in the desert. Confused? The desert butts right up to the 12000-14000’ mountains here in the eastern Sierra.

This will be our third summer sailing as a family. If you’ve read my few posts from the beginning, back in 2017, you will see my sailing experience timeline with all the stupid questions, mistakes and good times!

I’m a reader and a doer’ learner! Make sense? Anyways I, we, started on our Catalina Capri 14, sold it last summer, sailed a Laguna Wind Rose 18’ most last summer then bought a West Wight Potter 19 in August last year. In January I helped (see my crew report here) sail a 36’ Cascade from Ensenada Mexico to La Paz. My path has led me to this point which I will get to, hopefully sooner, than later.

So I, we, started in a dinghy, moved up a few feet and gained some long distance experience and passage experience on a larger boat. I feel that I’m on course. I’ve read, tons, Gary Jobsons’ sailing book (can’t remember the title) twice and refer often to it, ‘Your First Sail Boat’ by Daniel Spurr, some other book I leant out about Blue Water sailing on a budget, ‘The Voyagers Handbook’ by Bath Leonard and ‘Voyaging with Kids’. I’ve spent countless hours on craigslist and Yacht World and various brokers sites. Read reviews, cross referenced the books I’ve read and their recommendations with reviews on-line etc…

So now I’ll get to the meat of my questions and thoughts.

Lin Pardey suggests, ‘go small go now’! She also mentions that, based on your place in life (age etc) that there are certain things to keep in mind. We fall into that 40+ age group, where she suggests that we need a bit more than say a 20 something who should just go and figure out how to make it work on the way. My wife and I both own our own businesses, we “own” our house (you know what I mean) cars are paid off, and our son is home schooled though we wish for him to be ‘world schooled’. We want to go, we want to go soon! The current plan is to sell my business (which I’m currently in process of), sell the cars, and crap we’ve accumulated over the years keeping whats important , buy a boat and head south with at first a 2-3 year sail plan.

The boat budget isn’t huge, we don’t think it needs to be for now. Nor do we believe we need our ‘Dream Boat’ as our first cruising boat, although we sometimes waver on that. Every once in a while we see a boat that we believe would be the perfect end boat, and they are always beyond our budget as we’ve currently tried to structure this plan. We would have to change the plan and sell more (ie. The house) if we really want a 40’ Island Packet or Caliber LRC, or get real lucky! We don’t want to do that (sell the house) its our 1 big investment that we have and want to keep. It’s our security our future, whatever that means.

We’re trying to get that budget to around $50K total, meaning purchase, upgrades and necessary re-fits. Seems do-able. Am I high?

So there in lies the basis for ‘the search’.

In a perfect world we’d like:

1. 38’-42’ Bluewater capable
2. Cut away full keel
3. 2 cabins
4. Keel stepped mast
5. Seperate shower stall
6. Sloop or Cutter rig
7. Lowish engine hours
8. Electronics

Something like Island Packet 38, or Caliber 38 or 40 LRC even a 35 LRC might do it. I really like those Calibers. Cabo Rico too but I like the 2 cabin layout of the other 2 opposed to a 1/4 berth. We’d like for our 10y/o son to have his own space, and us have a little more privacy as well.

Reality tells me my future is going to be a little different, more like:

1. 36’-38’ ( as close to Bluewater Capable as possible)
2. Fin keel
3. Skeg or Spade hung rudder
4. Keel OR deck stepped mast
5. Whatever layout the head has, but still would like a separate shower
6. Sloop rigged
7. still low-medium engine hours

Under these circumstances I really like the Erickson 38, Moody 376, Newport 41, Beneteau first 38, J 40, Pearson 39’, Pearson 36’, Freeport 36, Catalina 36. I like the Morgan 382, 383, 384 as well, I like the hull (ie. Keel, rudder etc.). but the desire for a 2nd. Cabin is pretty high in this family so I’m trying to full fill this requirement.

I pretty much want to stay away from Volvo engines too. Would prefer direct drive over sail drive engines, which should be easy. I also would like mid to late 80’s as the oldest models.

So if you remember I said my budget was no more than 50K total. So based on that I believe my first ‘ideal criteria’ is out the window. However I do believe I can hit a nice mixture between my ‘perfect’ boat and my ‘reality’ boat.

So if I had a larger budget I think I would lean towards a Caliber, however with my current budget I think I would most be interested in the Erickson 38, Pearson 39’ or Moody 376. Those could still be hard to find in my range, so then it looks like a Catalina 36.

Not opposed to finding something that is good bones and may need some work. I found a Morgan 383, 19K, I wonder what kind of $$$ to get something like that up to par? It doesn’t have that 2nd. Cabin, but they do have a keel and rudder configuration that I like.

So you may ask, ‘what do I want to do with my boat’. Well the plan is to leave San Diego towards the end of Pacific Hurricane season inching south down Baja surfing the end of the southern hemisphere swell season making our way to Sea of Cortez in the fall well after hurricane season. Spend the fall and winter exploring Sea of Cortez and making our way south along the mainland to be south of the Hurricane zone come the beginning of the following Pacific season. Spend the summer months cruising Pacific Central America exploring and surfing making our way to Panama in the Fall and passing through the canal to spend the winter in the Caribbean and Boca Del Toro area.

Alternately if we can’t find a boat on the west coast and being that my Mom lives on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach we could potentially find something between North Carolina and Maryland and do a similar trip as described above only in reverse.

Lets say I want to spend no more than $35k for a boat, so that I have $15k to put into it, of course a boat is not going to be sold for its asking price, so what range should I look at with the thought that I will get the boat below asking price? Whats a common starting point on an offer? %10 below, more, less?

Am I placing too much emphasis on a second cabin and missing out on some nice potential boats in the right price range?

What is actually considered ‘High’ engine hours? Low Hours? Good range to look at?

Thanks for your patience, I appreciate any and all feed back, criticisms and curiosities.

chef2sail 05-22-2019 04:06 PM

Re: Another Boat Buying Thread

$35 K 38 ft, only $15K for a late 80 s + cruiser I think will be a hard find however you have time on your side. There is no perfect boat, however you will find your ow levels.

My only suggestion is to buy one in as good as condition as you can. Reclamation projects have a habit of costing more than you initially expect.

Good luck and keep us in the loop

drew1711 05-22-2019 05:19 PM

Re: Another Boat Buying Thread
Hate to rain on anyone's parade, but I don't think your perfect world is possible (or even close, really) on a 50k budget. You've got a shot at your reality scenario, I think, but you'll have to compromise.

You didn't say how old your son is, but there are plenty of mid thirty footers with generously sized pilots berths that could be turned into a "no grown ups allowed" cave for a kid. That would relieve you of the two cabin requirement. Cape Dory 36 was not on your list but I bet one could be had and made ready for close to 50k.

Final thought, if it was me, I wouldn't cut ties and commit a young family to a three year cruise. I'd do a summer first and then probably try six months out and see how it goes, but that's just me.

Scandium 05-22-2019 05:25 PM

Re: Another Boat Buying Thread

Originally Posted by drew1711 (Post 2051603694)
Hate to rain on anyone's parade, but I don't think your perfect world is possible (or even close, really) on a 50k budget. You've got a shot at your reality scenario, I think, but you'll have to compromise.

You didn't say how old your son is, but there are plenty of mid thirty footers with generously sized pilots berths that could be turned into a "no grown ups allowed" cave for a kid. That would relieve you of the two cabin requirement. Cape Dory 36 was not on your list but I bet one could be had and made ready for close to 50k.

Final thought, if it was me, I wouldn't cut ties and commit a young family to a three year cruise. I'd do a summer first and then probably try six months out and see how it goes, but that's just me.

Belive OP said kid is 10. Agree I would not want to take my 10 year old on a 3 year cruise (in a quarter berth..) out of the blue (from sailing a potter 19 for a year..), but that's just me..

Donna_F 05-22-2019 05:52 PM

Re: Another Boat Buying Thread
First, there are plenty of people out there with young kids. One of our moderators lived on and raised his two boys on board until they were teenagers. It wasn't until then that the kids knew what it was to live in their own house. So, that part is not an issue to me.

As a Catalina owner and a Beneteau charterer, I wouldn't be comfortable in either offshore. That's a personal preference. I have friends living aboard a Catalina 445 sailing the Caribbean and they love it but they had it semi-custom built at the factory to go offshore. I love my Catalina the Chesapeake. As for Beneteau, again, a personal preference. There are too many things we dislike about them to want to compromise.

There are a few blue water boats with deck stepped masts so as long as the boat is built as an offshore boat, don't discount those. Malo (our next boat) and Hallberg-Rassy off the top of my head. Both Swedish manufacturers. Both built to go off shore. There are probably more.

I think your budget is low for the things you ticked off. At that price you're probably looking at a very old boat that will need a lot of rehab which is a lot of time you could be sailing.

In the meantime, have fun learning about boats and use the time to also increase your skill level and the best of luck with your search.

Markwesti 05-22-2019 06:20 PM

Re: Another Boat Buying Thread
You had me at go now go small .
Just for a laugh check this out . Disclaimer I don't know this person or boat , but I do have it's sister ship .

capta 05-22-2019 09:41 PM

Re: Another Boat Buying Thread
I raised a kid on a boat circumnavigating and then some and I believe she's better for her 12 years on boats, but who knows? Also, I haven't had a home ashore since 1969.
My thoughts about 'go little, go now' are that most who try it probably don't stick with it very long. If you are buying a boat as a home, then it has to be a comfortable home, at sea or in an anchorage, and a lot of anchorages aren't going to be placid, beautiful tropical paradises. You are also probably going to want a decent kitchen in which nice meals can be prepared in any weather, again at sea or in a crappy anchorage.
Then there's another really important one; ventilation! Some of the most beautiful boats don't have good flow-through ventilation, and if you are coming to the tropics, that's a pretty big deal. A quarter berth just isn't going to work out, nor is a cabin w/o flow-through ventilation.
Next, you might consider where your family of 3 is going to store their clothes, food, boat spares and schooling stuff for the kid. Don't forget tools. Lots of tools. And maybe a sail or two?
Those are just a few things that I think are a whole lot more important than your lists about keel/rudder design, rig and shower stalls, when you are getting into this on a low budget. After all, if you haven't got a watermaker, chances are your 'stall shower' will be a storage place most of the time. Water in the Caribbean can be near a buck a gallon, and if you are doing any long distance sailing, you'll come to love sea water showers or quit the life, unless your olfactory sense is poor!
Buying a boat as a weekend plaything and buying one for your home on the water are two completely different things. I don't believe any of us can tell you which boat your family will be comfortable on. You really are going to have to go check out a whole heck of a lot of boats before you put your lists together, I think.

Lanealoha 05-23-2019 12:36 PM

Re: Another Boat Buying Thread
Thanks for the replies. I could really care less about the separate shower stall, just trying to find the combo between the sail boat that I would like versus the comforts that my wife would like, and what she likes is good for me;). As far as living on a boat and moving the family on for extended time, everyone is into it and I'm not worried about them. We are a different bunch then most. We've lived off grid every summer for 9 years until a few years back. Spent months traveling Baja camping and exploring remote places. Have spent weeks climbing in the mountains and traveling through them solo, and guiding people on technical climbs like the North West Face of Half Dome and El Capitan in Yosemite as well as various BIG cliffs around the US and Europe. My wife and kid are of the same ilk.

So its possible I'll have a bigger budget, but I'm starting low and creeping north from there.

Still haven't got any hard info regarding typical starting points for offers when purchasing. I understand that when the right vessel shows itself to me that my offer will be highly dependent upon survey findings, but in general I'm just wondering what most would generalize as an acceptable/ typical starting point. For example is %10 below asking price too much, not enough or about what most sellers are expecting? Thanks everyone for you thoughts.

Does it make more sense to up the boat kitty with the thought that in the beginning I will put less into it if it is newer, has been recently up-graded etc. Or go the other way, cheaper with good bones and have more to put into it. Like Donna said, I don't want to waste time re-habing when I could be cruising. Thanks Capt. for reminding me of ventilation issues, stowage and that a second cabin in the tropics is way better than a 1/4 berth. These are the small tidbits I'm interested in. Thank you.

Jeff_H 05-23-2019 03:16 PM

Re: Another Boat Buying Thread
Probably the first boat that comes to mind is a Wauquiez Hood 38. These boats meet most of your criteria except age and only slightly on price. (Mark 1's seem to sell for a little less than $50K and Mk II's for somewhere near $60-65K)

A similar boat is the Hood designed Gulfstar 40. They are pretty rare, and a little less quirky.

Hughes- Northstar made a very nice 40 foot mid-ship cockpit design that was a S&S design. These came in a number versions with different keels and rigs. The version that liked best is the cutter rig with the Brewer notch style keel. These are pretty race but an acquaintance picked one up for around $60K roughly 12 years ago so you might find one in your price range.

I also would suggest that you might be able to get by with a Pearson 386. They do have a quarter berth but its partially into the main salon and can perhaps be modified with removable bulkheads to provide a modicum of privacy. They seem to sell for around $50,000 and so are a bit over your budget. A Pearson 385 might also work for you, and it does have two cabins, but I am not a fan of midship cockpit layouts on boats smaller than around 42 or so feet. The shortcoming of the 385 will be lack of storage and motion comfort.

Those are my first thoughts. Lunch is done and I need to get back to work.


Lanealoha 05-23-2019 04:36 PM

Re: Another Boat Buying Thread
Am I missing out by not considering boats with centerboard designs like some Tartans, or the Wauquiez Hood mentioned above. What kind of rep do the Ercison 38 have? Reviews I've read are good, with 'beefing' and prepping do these make for solid offshore platforms? I like the layout, price point and design. I see one that looks worth taking a look at.

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