How To Buy a Cruising Boat Chapter 28 of 49

Buying a Boat—Never Say Never

Two keels I would not want to own: one encapsulated, the other bolt on.

We have all heard the following phrases on forums and any place sailors gather to talk boats:

I will never buy a boat with:

  1. Core in the hull.
  2. Core below the waterline.
  3. A spade rudder.
  4. A fin keel.
  5. ...yada, yada, yada.

Let me translate: Add it all together and be dogmatic about even a few of these "nevers" and we often get:

I'm going to buy a boat that does not meet my actual needs very well, if at all.

So, rather than just saying "never", we need to think about the risks associated with boat design characteristics, while keeping firmly in mind that nothing in boats (or life) is risk free, and then weigh said risks against the benefits. And, yes, all of the above have benefits.

But just thinking about risk and benefits is not enough. The next step is to weigh those risks and benefits against the vital capabilities that we identified before we ever started looking for a boat...we did do that, right? If not, see Further Reading for how.

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Meet the Author

John Harries

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.

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