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Hi All,

I am quite new to sailing (RYA Day Skipper and working on Coastal Skipper skills).

My current experience is from some sailing school and some charter in the Mediterranean.

I am planning to buy a boat and have already a short list but I would really appreciate any comments and recommendation from the experienced sailing folks out there before any final decision.

The following are some facts / things important to me:

- Safety and seaworthiness
- Possible to sail single-handed
- must sleep up to 4 (most of the time there will be 1 or 2 on board though)
- living aboard for extended periods would be important
- older long-keel designs are appealing to me (I have been sailing with new fin keel designs like Bavaria & Co and found helming is like a fitness training on a slightly rough weather condition)
- I will sail mainly in Mediterranean and may be some east coast of Atlantic although the boat should be capable of longer passages like crossing the Atlantic in the near future
- speed under sail is good but not primarily important
- the boat should be forgiving the failures of an inexperienced sailor
- I am planning to buy it within 1 year and keep it at least 5-10 years
- The boat should be easy to find in the European and Mediterranean market (shipping from US would be far too expensive relative to the cost of the boat I am planning to buy)
- I can spend up to a total of US$ 50-60 thousand

Initially I was looking at boats around 37-42 feet but I came to the conclusion that a smaller boat would be more suitable for me for the following reasons:
- cost (purchasing and maintenance)
- ease of handling I will be sailing a lot single-handed or with one less experienced person on board
- I believe I have identified some boats which are small but still fulfilling my requirements listed above

I have the following two boats short listed:

- Vancouver 27/28 or Vancouver 32
- Contessa 32

Further, I am also considering the following:

- Hallberg-Rassy 29
- Ebbtide 33 (Steel hul)
- Island Packet 29 -32

I would appreciate any recommendations, experience sharing, or pointing any mistake in the thinking above or any alternatives for this matter.

Many thanks in advance
 

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I had a list strikingly similar to yours. The big factor that I didn't consider until relatively late in the game was headroom. Otherwise a HR 31 Monsun was looking to be it.

I'm 6' 1" and very few smallish boats have headroom at or above 6ft. In the end I went with a Vancouver 274, as it's a fantastic boat and was really the only one in my size range that allowed me to stand upright down below (her headroom's about 6'2"). Haven't even thought about regretting it. A fantastic boat that fulfills all the requirements above.

Anyway, just thought I'd throw this out there for consideration.
 
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