Wow, Buying an Offshore Sailboat is Really Hard


For only the second time in nearly 30 years, Phyllis and I are actively looking at buying a boat.

Yes, you guessed it, we are starting to at least think about selling Morgan’s Cloud. There, I said it. The reasons are complex and best saved for another article on the issues facing an aging voyager. I will write that in due time, once I have it sorted out in my own head, but the short version is that now that we are only sailing three or four months a year, and no longer living aboard, she is too much boat for our needs and so she should be passed on to someone who will really use one of the best long distance offshore live aboard sailboats ever built.

The interesting thing is that after years of thinking about our next boat, including flirting with the idea of a motorboat, we have decided that what we need, or at least want, is a sailboat that sails really well, of around 40 feet and about 20,000 pounds displacement (half load), at a price of around $US200,000 to $250,000, ready to cross an ocean—we are not looking for a project boat, been there, done that.

The boat that I’m guessing a lot of you readers want, too. (If you need to spend less, read on.) And guess what? Even though $US200,000 is a hell of a lot of money, that’s a really hard specification to fill.

Many of you are now saying, “duh, John”. You are right. Although I have repeatedly lamented about how hard it is to find decent offshore boats—yes, I still want to be able to cross an ocean—I had not realized just how bad the problem is. That is, until I started combing through the listings on sites like Yachtworld.

Sure, there are thousands of boats for sale, but I would not touch most of them with a 10-foot sterilized barge pole.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that over the next year or so we will be sharing:

  • The things that disqualify most boats and why. I know, sounds negative, but actually knowing what we are not going to buy is a great step to getting a good boat.
  • The type of boats that interest Phyllis and me, and why.
  • How to do a self-survey in just a few hours that can save us untold grief and money.

Of course, US$200,000 is still way too high a price for many, particularly in today’s world of uncertain career paths, so as part of this, we are also going to take another look at the whole “buy an old boat and refit her” strategy to see if there is any way to get a safe, and reasonably pleasant to live aboard, offshore sailboat ready to go for less than US$100,000 (owner labour not included). Doable? I don’t know, but let’s find out. One thing I’m pretty sure of, said boat will be smaller than the one I sketched out above.

And, best of all, this won’t be just my take on all of this. Colin is going to be part of it, too. And, as many of you know, Colin knows more about more boats, particularly in the above-targeted ranges, than any person I have ever met.

And, of course, we will have the benefit of the huge combined wisdom of our members in the form of discussion in the comments. Undoubtedly the highest quality reservoir of offshore boat knowledge and experience in the world.

Should be both fun and interesting, and the cooperative aspect will be much like the Adventure 40 project; one of the most fun and, I think, most valuable things we have done around here, even though it did not result in an actual boat.

By the way, if the Adventure 40 existed, Phyllis and I would buy one in a heartbeat and so save ourselves all this grief—it’s still by far the best option.

But that’s pie in the sky, so let’s get on with dealing with the boat buying world the way it really is. Stay tuned.


So what boats do you think Phyllis and I should be looking at to meet our criteria?  Remember, no project boats.

And do you have any suggestions for a boat that could meet the $100,000 (owner labour not included) price tag, when ready to go? Project boats are OK for this category, but not ones that need rebuilding. Refitting is one thing, but let’s not condemn anyone to 10 years at hard labour and/or an old age in poverty, both real risks of refitting the wrong boat.

Please leave a comment.

Further Reading

In the meantime, don’t forget that we have already done a lot of work on just this subject:

Like what you just read? Get lots more:

Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

199 comments… add one
  • BENOIT ANTHONIOZ May 29, 2019, 6:13 pm

    Hi John,
    As this discussion is turning into a list of good offshore boats, I cannot refrain from mentionning the RMs by Fora Marine yard ( Here in France, they are a reference for fast offshore sailboats. The very first models were very uncluttered (RM standing for Resolutely Minimalist).
    They have evolved towards more confortable, better designed boats as market demands, still keeping their original DNA.
    They are not cheap but a 12,60 from 2012 would meet most of your criteria. Light, lively and plenty of light flowing down through the big windows on modern interiors.
    The twin keels is a real plus when sailing in tidal areas.
    For those not feeling secure with a wooden hull, there is a kevlar coating option but it probably would make the search for a 2nd hand more difficult.
    However, it’s been my dream boat for many years until I turned towards a multihull for the sake of my wife’s content (not that I regret actually). By the way, an older Catana would also give you lots of pleasure for your offshore navigations but this is another story ..

  • PSea Jun 1, 2019, 11:04 am

    John, been reading here for years. I don’t know you but…I kind of feel like I “know you.”

    There is no way your next boat won’t be a ptoject boat. Simply NO WAY! Why? I don’t think you realize how much you have invested in MC. Getting any boat up to your expectations/habits/preparedness, regardless of what you say now, will be a project! 😉

    I echo the previous comment about Allures. I really think you should take a closer look. Really looking forward to this topic.

    • PSea Jun 1, 2019, 11:12 am

      PS- Really bothered by your decision to force us to post using full names. I value my privacy… more than most. Will you change this, PLEASE?

      • John Jun 1, 2019, 6:06 pm

        Hi PSea,

        I need to make clear that Phyllis and I never decided to “force us to post using full names”.

        Our old member system did not store any sort of screen name. Rather users typed in whatever they wanted and that was often stored by their browsers making it appear as if we were storing it, even though we were not.

        The new system relieves members of the need to type in their email address and name for every comment and rather gets the information from each users account page. Seems like a good feature. And you have total control of what we use through said account page:

        So, no dastardly plot, just an unintended consequence of a new system, OK? 🙂

        I think you might feel better if you read our NOT boring privacy policy:

        While we are on the subject I too value security and privacy. In fact we spend a bundle on protecting ours, and yours, every year.

        So, based on the the amount of time I spend sweating this stuff, I have a hard time understanding how publishing a name is a privacy threat. Or to put it another way, what modality could a bad person possibly use to harm you by knowing your name, given that’s all they can know from our system?

        There’s also another aspect to this. It’s a known fact that forums and comment threads that allow pen names and, worse still, anonymous posting, have much more acrimonious exchanges. Given that, although I certainly won’t enforce it, I think that it’s generally better for people to take ownership of what they say under their real names.

        For those wondering why I have answered this in such detail PSea was obviously very upset since he tore us a new one in an email.

        • PSea Jun 1, 2019, 8:03 pm

          Wow John.

          The entire email chain is below. Start fr the bottom. Ill leave it to others to decide whether the response was proportional. Two things; 1) the site did force me to post under my name, and 2) I think you’re completely out of line judging one’s values towards privacy.

          “You are welcome.


          Phyllis and John
          Attainable Adventure Cruising Ltd

          On Jun 1, 2019, at 1:54 PM, PSea wrote:

          John, THANK YOU! This was really important to me and your quick resolution is MUCH APPRECIATED!
          On Jun 1, 2019, at 9:24 AM, Info AAC wrote:
          Hi, PSea;

          Thanks for being a member. Sorry you are upset.

          As you know, we just implemented a new membership system and so some things work differently than before. We are just figuring it all out. So we did not take anything from you “on a whim”. It is a function of the new system.

          I see you changed your name in the membership system to PSea. That should be all that shows when you comment in the future. We have just changed your last 2 comments to PSea. The system will not change previous comments to your real name from your “screen name”, as you call it.

          Note that we have never stored your “screen name”. With the old system, you would have had to enter it when commenting. If it was filled in automatically, that would have been your browser, not our membership system.


          Phyllis and John
          Attainable Adventure Cruising Ltd

          On Jun 1, 2019, at 11:42 AM, PSea wrote:


          Have to admit I’m really upset right now. Just posted and the website is now posting under my full name, not my screen name as was previously the case. I attempted to change my name back to my screen name. While the system did allow the change, my posts are still using my full name.

          Please think about what is important to you and imagine someone taking it from you on a whim. This is the first time in 25yrs of being online that a website has utterly disregarded my privacy. Never expected it would be this site. I don’t do any social media for this very reason. I value my privacy HIGHLY. Non-negotiable. Have come across far too many online posters who attempt to uncover personal data and use it as leverage.

          Are all my previous posts now using my name?

          Can this be changed? If not, please terminate our near decade relationship and remove my posts. Not what I prefer to do.

          Really upset.”

          • John Jun 1, 2019, 10:02 pm

            Hi PSea,

            Whoops, just found that I was wrong, changing the name in the Account Page does not in fact change the display name. I had to dive further in to do that by hand, but it’s done now and all of your future comments will show as PSea. I have also changed the comments you made to PSea and I have edited your last comment to mask your name in the copied emails.

            Sorry you are still upset about this. I was not trying to be combative, but rather trying to understand what the issue is. My problem is that I still don’t understand what harm modality you are worried about. I would totally get it if we were displaying your address, telephone number, email or even what town you lived in.

            That’s a serious question not an attempt to provoke you. If there is something I’m missing here I will look into changing this system wide, but it’s a non trivial change to a membership system used by thousands of sites, so I need a solid reason to spend our limited resources on it.

    • John Jun 2, 2019, 7:50 am

      Hi PSea,

      Good point. That said, I guess it depends on what one defines as a project boat. So if you mean that I will always be tinkering with a boat to make her better, you are absolutely right. On the other hand I’m absolutely committed to not trying to turn a new boat into a mini Morgan’s Cloud. Also, I simply won’t consider a boat that would require me to personally do a full refit to be functional, as many older boats would.

  • Joshua Scholnick Jun 1, 2019, 12:20 pm

    What about the French line of performance cruisers? That would include the RM1200, built between 2003 and 2012, and maybe something from the JPK or Mojito 1088 ranges. From the Baltic you have the Bente 39 and XP38. I’m sure there are Wauquiez and Elan boats from the mid 2000s in the price range, not as fast as the first group. I think some of the Elans have vacuum infusion construction, so light and stiff.

    • John Jun 2, 2019, 8:08 am

      Hi Joshua,

      Definitely some interesting ideas, and a couple of boats I was not aware of, thank you.

      • Joshua Scholnick Jun 4, 2019, 10:26 am

        Other European options: a two or three year old Dehler 42, with a Judel-Vrolijk designed hull that doesn’t pull the beam all the way back. If you really want to fly there is one in Germany on Yachtworld with a carbon rig and a second set of 3DL race sails. Not sure where on the spectrum of sporting cruiser to cruiser-racer you want to land. From Italy there would be options from Grand Soleil and maybe Italia easily in your price range, too.

        • John Jun 4, 2019, 4:39 pm

          Hi Joshua,

          Thanks for the added suggestion. I’m not normally a twin rudder guy, but at this early stage I’m trying really hard not to let my long held prejudices push me into a corner. So I will take a good look.

          Also, I’m still thinking about what “fast” really means to me. For example, we could buy a downwind flyer and just put up with going up wind. But on the other hand, going up wind in a boat that does it really well can be kind of fun too, at least for a while. Lots of fun things to think about.

  • PSea Jun 1, 2019, 10:12 pm

    John, let’s discuss offline. All good.

  • Henry Rech Jun 2, 2019, 12:10 am


    Seems like everything but a bath tub has been suggested to you.

    If you’re not interested in crossing oceans but cruising further afield occasionally, may as well throw this one in:

    • John Jun 2, 2019, 8:32 am

      Hi Henry,

      Yes, an interesting concept. (I have seen the boat). That said, I still want an ocean capable boat.

  • Jeffrey Harris Jun 2, 2019, 2:54 pm

    Hi John & AAC groupies
    Whatever you decide upon, what setup/maintenance procedures would you recommend to get the new boat off on the right foot? An ounce of prevention type stuff?

  • Henry Rech Jun 3, 2019, 12:19 am


    You have rebuffed my two previous suggestions.

    However, I have left la piece de resistance to last:

    Hey, it has inside steering, what more could you want?

    • John Jun 3, 2019, 8:08 am

      Hi Henry,

      Sorry, once again rebuff! Although I’m not a fan of steel, at first glance, that would be an interesting boat for the high latitudes. However if I was going to go on with that kind of sailing I would just keep my present boat. Also, I suspect she is that cheap for a reason, and not a good one.

      • Philip Wilkie Jun 5, 2019, 10:40 pm

        Even though I like and own one of Adam’s boats I would agree … she’s well past the point of no return unless you have the time and a cheap place to put her up for the couple of years it would take to get her back to scratch. Not to mention the north of A$100k needed to update all the systems.

        • Henry Rech Jun 6, 2019, 12:05 am

          My suggestion was tongue in cheek.

          Although someone thought enough of her to call her home. 🙂

          • Philip Wilkie Jun 6, 2019, 6:54 am

            LOL … indeed. The A45 sailed perfectly well for it’s class; Joe couldn’t design a slow yacht to save himself.

            Still there’s probably nothing too wrong with her that shelling, a good wetblast and five coats of Jotun 90 couldn’t fix 🙂

  • Brian Russo Jun 3, 2019, 6:02 am

    Fast, cheap, good. Pick 2. Right?

    For boats I think it’s more like…
    Cheap, luxurious, bulletproof, pick 2

    Scratch cheap.. yep that’s doable.
    Scratch bulletproof.. you’ve got yourself a motorsailer fine for the ICW that nobody would want to take offshore
    Scratch luxurious.. plenty of old boats with few features, but they’ll get you there and not much to break.

    Reliability figures in here somewhere but that’s hard to measure. Certainly a newer boat’s systems are less likely to break once out of their shakedown period. Otoh there’s more complexity to break and maintain. And reliability is different if you’re Caribbean sailing with a blank checkbook and can get parts flown in vice adventure sailing on a budget and making do with local supplies and improvisation.

    I think the important thing is to be honest with yourself and live with the concessions you must make. I respect folks that can circumnavigate in a bathtub, but it’s not for me.

    To your point, $100k is definitely doable. What can you do without? It sounds like you’re giving up the remote expedition aspect. So ask yourself.. how bulletproof do you really need to be with good forecasts and coast guard on demand? Do you need that watermaker if you can tank up at a marina? Systems in particular, due to dependencies.. beget other systems.

  • John Jun 5, 2019, 11:50 am

    Hi Richard,

    That’s great, problem done and dusted!

    Seriously, an earlier comment mentioned a folding tri and I was intrigued and have given it real thought. Add in your truck idea and we have some serious fun going down here.

    You know a heck of a lot more about multi hulls than I do. Any thoughts on the one suggested?

    I guess maybe not ocean going, but then again nothing goes to windward like a container ship, or a 1 ton, and the folding will make that a lot easier.

    • Richard Elder Jun 5, 2019, 12:40 pm

      Hi John
      I’ve no idea about how much of a project boat the Ollier cat is. Or how easily demountable. However I’ve always been intrigued by the Ausie Pod Cats as an inexpensive adventure camping vehicle and this design fits in the same nitche. Looks to have a good turn of speed and a well respected designer. And has an Atlantic crossing in her log book. My friend Kurt Hughes also has done some designs that fit in the same general category.

      Looks like the boat is in Bend Oregon, about a day’s drive from my home. If you were seriously interested my arm could be twisted to go have a look. (Grew up skiing at Bend and haven’t been back in years since it became a city.)

      Couldn’t open the link to the folding tri you mentioned. If it is like the F27s I’ve sailed I’m not wild about the displacement buoyancy of the amas.
      Also, I am Crazy Horse! Could you change my posting heading from Richard Elder to reflect my true mental state?. LOL

      • John Jun 5, 2019, 3:04 pm

        Hi Richard,

        Thanks for the kind offer. I’m not really serious about any of this, or at least not enough to waste your time on a trip. Just trying, against my natural proclivities, to keep an open mind to different options like this.

        Sorry that was the admin link. Here’s the real one:

        • Richard Elder Jun 5, 2019, 4:24 pm

          I’ve actually sailed briefly on a Dragonfly years ago. Seemed well built. Low underwing clearance as I recall. Not what I’d consider an offshore boat— at least I personally would not be taking it across the Atlantic or out to Tahiti.

          Crazy Horse

          • John Jun 6, 2019, 7:42 am

            Hi Richard,

            Thanks, that makes sense. I too would not be going to sea in her! Just thought it looked like an interesting and well thought out boat, but that was based on very limited knowledge and analysis.

        • Eric Klem Jun 6, 2019, 1:30 pm

          Hi Richard and John,

          I have to say that I find the trailerable option very intriguing and one that I have been through the mental exercise on myself. Our current 36′ boat actually came with its own trailer which we used to move it from Michigan to New England and then some locally. I never expected to use the trailer for anything other than winter storage with this boat and that has proved to be completely true to the point where we eventually sold it. The issues were that the trailer is not float off, the boat is wide enough to need permitting, at the extreme end of heavy for even the most capable 1 tons, it just makes bridge clearances without pulling stanchions, and the mast is too big for us to put up without a crane.

          For monohulls, I think that there are some 30’ers where this would actually be reasonable. A good, galvanized float off trailer could be towed by some 3/4 ton and all 1 ton pickups. To launch, you just need a real nosewheel (not the jack), some wheel chocks and a good piece of line. Mast raising could be done with an A-frame without too much trouble or if there is a tablernacle or similar, it is even easier with a gin pole. Having owned a 30’er before, I did find it rather small for coastal cruising, I couldn’t stand up in a lot of the boat, storage was limited, and it got pushed around a lot when conditions got rough. For coastal cruising, I find the sweet spot between comfort and cost to be 35-38′ but most of those boats are just too big to self haul and launch and then that defeats much of the purpose.

          I don’t know enough about multihulls to comment on them but in many ways, they seem even better suited to this. I do wonder about the camping aspect of it, I suspect that I couldn’t stand up below in most of these boats.


          • John Jun 7, 2019, 8:44 am

            Hi Erik,

            Good analysis of the trade offs. To add another data point: we have friends who downsized from their 40′ boat to a light Hobie 30 and a trailer/truck. However, they only kept her for a year or so and then sold. They found that the launching and rigging was far more of a pain in the neck than they thought it would be. I wonder if a folding tri would make this easier since it has no ballast and a wider base for the shrouds when stepping—our friends found the stepping process particularly scary.

        • Richard Elder Jun 7, 2019, 2:16 pm
  • Henry Rech Jun 5, 2019, 3:02 pm


    Are the flammability risks of GRP, relative to metal boats, of concern?

    Have you considered these?

    • John Jun 5, 2019, 3:38 pm

      Hi Henry,

      I have not spent a lot of time on it but I guess my thinking would be that any fire on a boat that is not put out in the first few moments is going to result in abandonment, so the material of the hull is not a big issue. Also metal boats tend to be insulated with stuff that produces really nasty fumes when burned so in fact metal could, in some cases, be an even worse in a fire.

      Summary, I don’t think it’s really an issue I would crank into the decision.

  • Eduardo Miri Jun 12, 2019, 9:26 pm

    Hi John,
    Cograt for your work in this page, I enjoy and learn a lot with it.
    Take a look at “Archibald”, if you don’t read spanish I’m shure google translate will help.
    Lying in Alicante, Spain. She is not published.
    Kind regards,
    Ps. May be around €120K

    • John Jun 13, 2019, 8:36 am

      Hi Eduardo,

      Looks like an interesting boat.

      • Eduardo Miri Jun 13, 2019, 10:52 am

        She circumnavigate the world from 1999 and then went to Antartica and got back to Europe around 2015.

        • Eduardo Miri Jun 13, 2019, 12:43 pm

          By the way, I’m not a brooker or anything like that, just happend that I used to be part of her crew. Is a very special boat and need a very special ownwer.
          Hope you find yor boat.
          Will be very interesting to see all the process.
          Kind regards,

  • Edward Sitver Jul 3, 2019, 5:19 pm

    Hi John,

    Had I realized that a J/42 was even remotely in the running, I’d have insisted we go out for a sail when we met last summer. I’ll be sure to correct that oversight if we cross paths again this year.

    I could go on all day singing the praises of my beloved boat, but I’ll keep this short-ish. The boat is set up wonderfully, with some tweaks, for sailing shorthanded. She has the comfort of a much heavier displacement boat in a seaway and the nimbleness of a much smaller boat in close quarters. Might not have enough headroom for you, but you’d appreciate the low freeboard and excellent connection to the cockpit from down below (still has a generous bridge deck). For handling heavy weather, many owners have inner forestays. I don’t yet, but my mast is reinforced and ready for installation of a lower sheave box and running backstays (for when I find a bucket of money), so I presume they all came from the factory that way, if not originally built with an inner stay.

    Support was key for me, and there’s a well-informed and helpful owners group. Bonus, you can always drop a note to Rod or Alan Johnstone and expect a prompt response for details of construction or other specs.

    She has drawbacks like any other boat, and I could probably guess at many of the things you’d want to tweak, but I find that stuff fades away when we’re cantering along at 8+ kts with a mild wind on the beam. 🙂

    Even if J-boats are out of the running, I hope to have Phyllis and you aboard for a sail sometime.


    • John Jul 4, 2019, 8:25 am

      Hi Ed,

      That would be fun, let’s do it. That said, if I were going the J boat route I think it would be more likely to be a J120.

      Also good to hear that the Johnstones are still interested and supportive.

  • Matthew Parsons Jul 11, 2019, 8:24 pm

    I’m probably going to get jumped on for this, but have you looked at a Hunter 37 cutter? (The cherubini designed one). Very solid, cutter rig, nice interior layout and sails really nicely. Just make sure to get the deep draft keel.

    • John Jul 12, 2019, 8:07 am

      Hi Matthew,

      That’s an interesting idea. I well remember that time in Hunter’s history when they were producing very different boats than they do today and Luhrs was racing “Tuesday’s Child” as a test bed for new design ideas. That said, these boats are now over 35 year old, and so likely to require a major refit, something I want to avoid.

  • SVMercedes Jul 17, 2019, 3:53 pm

    I am new to this site and I’m not sure if this is the right place to ask questions but I was wondering if there is any opinion or articles focusing on rudder design. I am currently interested in a van de Stadt 41 rebel, I think the hull shape and keel look to be sea worthy and friendly in rough conditions but I noticed there is no skeg on the rudder. I was wondering if there was an opinion on skeg vs no skeg with ocean going boats and other things I should be looking for. Also if anyone has any opinion of this particular design I would love to hear about it. I can’t find a lot of information on it.


  • Ian McMahon Aug 11, 2019, 1:31 pm

    s/v Brenna
    I bought Sabre 452 hull #14 in 2007 from its original owner. It was built in 1999. One of my better decisions. The keel almost fell off my previous boat, a C&C 99. The 452 is an exceptionally well built boat. Was awarded 1999 Boat of the Year, and deserved it. Several boat builders have tried to copy it. It sails like a dream as it is exceptionally well balanced. I do all maintenance and have never had a major issue. If I lost this boat I would immediate look for a another 452 without hesitation. Our boat has a 5″5″ shoal keel that is well designed and does not impede its ability to go to weather. As one gets older the Mystic Stainless side boarding ladder is so much easier to come alongside get and in/out of a dinghy rather than clambering in through a transom. My late father, who cruised with us until he was 87, repeated this over and over.
    Having sailed on a friend’s Sabre 402 several times I narrowed my search to Sabre. Hull #14 came on the market a few months later and I did not hesitate.
    Happy to share surveys if interested.
    Ian McMahon

    • John Aug 12, 2019, 8:46 am

      Hi Ian,

      Yes, Sabre’s can be great boats. I did a couple of races to Bermuda as navigator on a 38. Certainly an option. That said I think that it may be important to check when the boat was built and if all Sabres are as good as the ones built under the original owner. Not saying they are not but it’s worth knowing that the original owner got in financial trouble and the company was bought by investors some years ago, and it may have changed hands since.

  • P D Squire Aug 19, 2019, 3:19 am

    So I’m guessing you’ll want about 3,300lb payload giving a lightship displacement of 16,700lb (more-or-less.) A new Halberg Rassey 372 displaces 16,500lb light and cost US$380,000 in 2012* so probably a bit over $400,000 now. You plan to spend half that on an older boat. Both properly built to cross oceans, not just fair-weather coastal use.

    Just for interest I looked at the nearest equivalent-displacement, lightly-built, fair-weather coastal option. The Beneteau Oceans 55.1 is very close at 16,900lb light and $415,000. Not a lot dearer – I guess cost really is related to displacement not length. So you can have a 55′ light Beneteau or a 37′ ocean-built Halberg Rassey for a bit over $400,000.

    Either way it’s going to be very interesting learning just how old a boat has to be to depreciate 50% while still maintained (or refit) to safe, functional, seaworthy condition. So I’m following this with great interest.


    (I wonder if any Beneteau Oceans fans will take me to task speaking of it in terms of “lightly built” and “coastal”. I think I’d rather be starting with a 30 year old HR than a similarly aged Beneteau but I might be wrong. Also a 30 year old HR might cost the same as a 10 year old Beneteau, which perhaps changes the picture.)

    • John Aug 19, 2019, 8:42 am

      Hi P D,

      Great analysis of the issues, thanks. It’s not simple is it!

      A lot to like about the HR 372, although why the heck they think they need a 60hp engine is beyond me! Marketing I guess.

      • P D Squire Aug 20, 2019, 10:55 pm

        Ops. The Bene equivalent would be Oceans 41.1 not 55.1

  • P D Squire Aug 20, 2019, 10:30 pm

    How many years are you likely to keep this boat? And how much of the original $200-$250k capital do you need to recover at the end of that time?
    Capital is pretty cheap these days. Perhaps borrowing another $100k will make it easier to meet the spec. The interest would be $5kpa, which would likely be offset by reduced maintenance costs from the newer boat. Pay back the principal when you sell the boat.

    • John Aug 21, 2019, 8:52 am

      Hi PD,

      Good question. And yes you are right, what matters for many of us is the delta between the buy and sell price, so good point. More on what Phyllis and I are thinking of in a future post.

  • Jack Markin Oct 1, 2019, 2:52 pm

    We are just listing our Ohlson 38. If you are interested I can send you the list of the many upgrades, a recent cruising log and some pictures, and the listing when that is finalized. By the way Jay Maloney replaced all the standing and running rigging in 2014-15.
    Jack Markin and Debi Dennis

    • John Oct 2, 2019, 8:07 am

      Hi Jack,

      Thanks but we are no where near that point yet. Have not even decided for sure to change boats.

  • Ruslan Osmonov Dec 1, 2019, 10:24 pm

    Hi John, have you looked at More Yachts?
    Not much info, but looks like their construction is similar to X-Yachts.
    Would be great to hear your view on More 40.

    • John Dec 2, 2019, 6:31 pm

      Hi Rusian,

      No have not looked at that boat. Writing anything meaningful on it would require a lot of hours of research and I have a lot of projects already stacked up so probably nothing forthcoming soon.

      What I would say is that anyone buying that type of boat or a new X-boat, or say a Pogo, to go cruising needs to understand that these are primarily performance hulls optimized for downwind and broad reaching. As such they trade comfort for speed. And they also require skilled handling to really reach their potential. Not saying any of that is a bad thing (I love fast boats) but it’s important to understand the fundamentals before committing to one.

  • P D Squire Jun 13, 2020, 8:54 am

    31,000lb too big?
    McCurdy & Rhodes 46
    Carbon rig
    Significant refit 9yrs ago (2011)
    Asking $249k—Rhodes-Custom-Sloop-Used-393562

    • John Jun 14, 2020, 8:22 am

      HI PD,

      The link you posted is not working, but if it’s the boat I think she is it seems like a great opportunity for someone. As to too big, I guess the answer is a couple of questions: Too big for what? Or too big for who? Ideal boat size is all about the owner and the planned use.

      Also, she is about the size of the Outbound 46, a boat many consider idea:

      More on boat size here:

      • P D Squire Jun 15, 2020, 1:18 am

        Curious about the link. It’s working here on this side of the world, albeit quite slow to load.

        She’s called Coup D’etat. Built from aluminium in 1971 by Paul Luke/Warren Pond.

        Very interesting to me but for the layout. It’s single cabin is perfect for a couple but we’re a 60-yr-old man with two 18-yr-old twin sons.

        Seemed like a good fit for the parameters of this discussion, if perhaps a bit large.

        • John Jun 15, 2020, 8:29 am

          Hi PD,

          If you mean for Phyllis and me, then yes, not a big enough change to make it worth while changing boats. That said, probably a great live aboard offshore boat for someone.

  • Robert Newman Jul 5, 2020, 9:55 am

    Hi both.
    Have a squiz at the Saare 38 or 38 2. It’s about the only production boat of its approximate displacement currently being built that I like. I don’t know the exchange rate between your dollar and the Euro but if you could find a second hand one it might be in your budget.
    No, I don’t have one, unfortunately, or any connection with the company.
    Bob N.

    • John Jul 5, 2020, 12:08 pm

      Hi Robert,

      Looks like a nice boat, although I wish they had not tried to cram so much accommodation into such a small hull, but that’s the way of the world these days. Also the teak decks are a problem for me, although not a deal breaker.

    • John Jul 5, 2020, 12:17 pm

      Hi Robert,

      I take that back about the layout. Just found this one which I like a lot more:


    • John Jul 5, 2020, 1:29 pm

      Hi Robert,

      Just spent a happy half hour looking at the boat. As you say, a lot to like. Unfortunately pics of the boat out of the water are hard to find, but what I did see seemed to indicate a good hull form. One disappointment was finding that she has a saildrive. I just don’t understand why quality boat builders downgrade their boats by putting these damned things in. Morris yachts does the same thing in the US. Just makes no sense.

  • Robert Newman Jul 7, 2020, 9:07 am

    Hi again both.

    Glad you like it.

    Yes, I agree about sail drive. Puzzles me when it can’t be just a cost of construction thing. They don’t seem to have let that rule badly in other areas. I’ve read that they will customise to a greater degree than other production builders so if the wallet would stand a new boat…

    Here’s a web address for footage of the boat under sail

    Bob N.

  • Eddy Sep 7, 2020, 6:42 am

    I would agree, buying an Offshore Sailboat is Really Hard for under $ 250 K, although I do not have offshore ambitions. I also agree with the above that a Saare AC is lovely. Having sold my sailboat a few years ago I am looking at buying another for cruising the Med, Canary Islands and Azores with possibly a hop across the ocean to the Caribbean for up to 6 months a year. I expect to stay in the med for at least the first 5 – 10 years though. My wife’s list of priorities is a sailboat with: a rectangular double bed – head first, spacious aft cockpit, easy access to the water. My priorities are; good sailing qualities, low maintenance with good access. On a 40 ft charter (production) sailboats, I find that options start to run out fast when the winds reach bft 6, possibly because sails are old and stretched and there is no stay sail. On the other hand, sailing a semi custom yacht in bft 6 and bft 7 with the right sail plan is quite comfortable. Point is I have never been in a position to assess a production sailboat with the right sail plan in near gale conditions. Two sailboats that possibly meet the above criteria are a 10 year old Southerly 38 / 42RST, or a new/ish Jeanneau 410 or 41DS. My concern is structural integrity of the hull, rigging and rudder. Are Jeanneaus (or similar) sailboats able to withstand near gale or gale conditions (with the right sail plan) when their specifications seem to be made for fair weather sailing and things are bound to get spooky anyway, or is this a false presumption?

    • John Sep 7, 2020, 8:51 am

      Hi Eddy,

      Sorry, but without going aboard the boats I really don’t have any insight into structural integrity. What I can say is that the Jeanneaus are built to very aggressive prices and given that they should be approached with caution if you are considering an ocean crossing. On the Southerly boats I have no first hand experience, but I have heard disturbing things about structural integrity from a reliable source, so, once again, be careful.

      If it were me with that specification I would be looking at something like an older Hallberg Rassy. You might not get everything your wife wants, but then again I’m sure she would see that structural integrity and seaworthiness are the most important thing.

  • Eddy Sep 7, 2020, 11:40 am

    Hello John, this what my gut tells after some research. Thank you for your feedback and sound advice. My search continues and will keep you updated.

Only logged in members may comment: