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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Looking to buy my first boat, and I live in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle), USA. Ideally something I can stay on a few nights a week locally and take for weekend trips as well as occasional longer trips of 1-2 weeks. Budget is flexible but let's say $500k USD (less is better).

I've been looking at the new 2020 Grand Soleil 42 LC (Grand Soleil) but in reading extensive reviews, it appears this boat is better suited to warm-weather cruising and not the PNW conditions. Anyone what know specifically the reviewers mean when they say this, or what leads them to think that? I imagine a spray hood and Bimini could be installed on any boat?

Also considering Hanse 418 which is much more wallet-friendly but lacks a lot of the nice features the 42LC has... plus it looks a little "cheap" by comparison. However, I have at least seen a few of these in the local waters, whereas I have seen exactly zero Grand Soleils. And they are still nice boats.

What I like about these boats is they are specifically suited for solo sailing, have composite hull construction, modern interiors and (for my other half) have separate shower stalls (standard on 42LC, optional on Hanse). This is why I ruled out the C42 (plus the C42 is not as well-suited for solo sailing without the lines being led to the helms).

Thanks all.
 

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Are you looking to do some winter sailing/cruising in the PNW? Be realistic with yourself as well. It is cold, quite windy and gets dark early. If you want to, how does your family feel about it? WIll that limit you to not sail as much? I personally enjoy winter sailing here, though it can be "rough" at times and somewhat dangerous if you can't keep warm. That said, one thing many people dont think about with winter cruising is how do keep the boat warm - forced air/hydronic systems use a lot of power to stay "comfortable" imo. My neighbor cruises on his 2019 38ft bene but has a hell of time managing power(as we all do) during winter, granted he's only runnning with 2 service batteries(80ah each) and an engine start battery. He runs his engine at anchor for atleast 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours at night to maintain his heat onboard. Something to think about when choosing a boat.

I personally am not a huge fan of these modern day yachts. I think they are good for their intended design which I believe is mainly about comfort at anchor or more likely comfort at the dock. PNW winters get very windy and rough. Looking at the interior photos, there doesn't seem to be many spots for grabbing on to things, and there are some long falls if you miss grabbing onto something, which could be quite damaging to the body or who ever has to help bring the boat back in when you are injured. I also am not a fan of the boats aesthetically and the few that I've sailed, I was not impressed. This is mainly of the Bene variants. I've sailed on my neighbors Bene as well as a Hanse, and with boats with such large hull sides, there was quite a bit of water washing over the decks than I would have expected. I think the bull nose tends to allow waves to slide up higher on the hull as the bow tends to cut into it.

That said, as you said you can add a bimini, dodger and enclosure on just about any boat, but I don't think most of the modern day yachts are the "best" option for PNW cruising. Have you take your wife to look at something like a Valiant 42? There is a nice one for sale in Seattle right now which would be a comfortable winter cruiser(and safe) - Link here

Now if you expect to not cruise or really sail much during winter, I think any of these boats will be suitable for PNW sailing as most summers are not incredibly windy and we all tend to motor far more than we would like too.

I would suspect we dont see any Grand Soleils here because Bene/Jene/Hanse have cornered our markets, but could be wrong.
 

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That's a pretty nice first boat budget! There used to be a sailor here from the PNW who had a Pearson 28-2 like mine, he was a fountain of useful advice when I first got her. Lovely cruising grounds you have there.

You say it's your first boat, so my advice is basic boat buying 101: get a smaller, older boat than the ones you are looking at. You can get a remarkably nice 37 foot* 10-15 year old Tartan or Island Packet for about half your budget, and sell her in a few years for more or less what you paid for her and meanwhile you will have learned a ton about what you really want in a boat. That list changes with experience!

Good luck with your search!

*Honestly as a first boat I'd want something even smaller than that while I'm learning how to dock and manage my sails but I know others will disagree.
 

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If teak decks aren't a deal-breaker for you, there's also this gorgeous Hallberg-Rassy for sale near you:

 

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I am going to second Emcenter's concern about spending have a mil on your first boat. Learning to solo a boat that size might take some years, or maybe your wife does not like sailing so you might lose a significant part of your 'investment'.

If it is not your first boat I apologize and make suggestions ignoring my concerns. I have only sailed there once but have thought long and hard about moving onto a boat up there, possibly year round or just summers. The winds are often light and when not can be big when stormy. The weather is moderate but never too warm. Based on my evaluation of the area, I came up with the following needs for a good boat for the PNW.

  • Decent light wind performance.
  • Big anchor with chain and windlass (deep anchorages often next to steep rock shoreline.)
  • Good cabin heating.
  • Full enclosure cockpit or inside steering station. (Summers get crowded so extending the season would be nice)

Beyond that, your price range is outside almost everyone onboard so very few of us can tell you about 1/2 mil priced boats. I did race against a Grand Soleil, they held their own against us so probably fairly easy to sail, the pictures make below decks look nice.
 

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If I had your budget I would by this boat
and be done with Seattle...I live in Puyallup and dream of living in the Caribbean on a sailboat...and have loads of sailing fun and living in the sun, away from Seattle. As much as I love the PNW, I am tired of 9 months of cold. Just imagine all of the different cultures to sample in the Caribbean. Good luck in your search.
 

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Buy what ever suits your fancy, and enjoy it! I know of a few follks living aboard Jeanneau's, Bene's, Catalinas, new ones, older ones etc locally. There is NOT a best boat frankly. what works for you, may not work for me, or any of the other posters.
But the higher quality, priced boats do usually do better than the lower cost build point boats, as they have higher quality better interior fittings etc.
I'm a bit partial to Jeanneau myself. I can get you the name of multiple couples that spend year around use here in Puget sound with models less than 10 yrs old.

Marty
 
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