Buying a boat is really difficult: What features are vital? Which features are dispensable? In this chapter, John comes up with a way for you to figure out what you need in a boat…and what you don’t.
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How To Buy a Cruising Boat
Table of Contents:
A fundamental fact is that, even if you are rich, you can’t have it all in an offshore voyaging boat and that goes double for the rest of us with more modest means. So the most important step in selecting a boat that will be successful for you is to identify the things that you really need. In this chapter I give you an easy to use and apply test to do just that.
Buying a poorly designed boat is one of the most costly and heart breaking mistakes anyone can make. But maybe if we understand how bad designs come to be, we can avoid that.
One of the saddest things that can happen to a cruiser is buying a fundamentally bad boat, and there are plenty of those out there to tempt the uninformed. Here’s how to make sure that the boat you buy is well designed.
Sadly most boats, both power and sail, have interior arrangements that are designed to look good at a boat show, not work well offshore or when living aboard for extended periods while voyaging. Here we give you and explain, based on some 20 years of living aboard and voyaging, a guideline for eight things to look for as you shop for a boat.
In this chapter I have a good old rant about one of the most common and unpleasant faults of many modern designs that claim to be offshore capable. Reading this chapter could save you from buying a boat you will come to hate.
Continuing the theme of making the right decisions when selecting a voyaging boat, this chapter tackles the thorny question of engine space, cockpit space, and a covered area to operate the boat from. Can you have it all? Read on to find out.
It seems like a logical way to own a good offshore sailboat. Buy an older and a bit rundown but fundamentally decent boat and refit it. But does it really work? To explore that important question, I have a true story to tell you.
Andy writes about what it takes to refit a 45 year old 35’ Allied Seabreeze Yawl to the point where it is safe and fun to sail her across the Atlantic. This is the first of three refits Andy will analyze.
Andy continues this series by writing about his second refit, that of his father’s 1986 Wauquiez Hood 38, a good boat that the refit made ocean-ready.
Andy continues the series with the third refit he has done on an old boat—a 1972 Sparkman & Stephens Swan 48—an ongoing project.
Now we get to the payoff. In this fourth and final post Andy summarizes what he has learned from the three refits he’s done, and provides some solid hard-earned tips for anyone considering refitting an old boat.
When researching buying a cruising boat, we are deluged with information on all the gear she must have and how perfect she must be before we can go cruising. But is that really true? How about buying an old and tired boat and just getting out there? John tells his story of going cruising in a half-assed boat…and having one of the best times in his life. Will this work for you? He shares tips on how to decide.
What about buying a brand new boat? That should be great if you have the money, right? Yes, but with caveats. And if you think that buying a brand new boat will enable you to just jump aboard and go voyaging, this sobering story will show another far more likely scenario and highlight the traps to avoid in buying a new boat.
It’s an all too common story: a boat that has been structurally fine for years while sailing inshore starts to come apart as soon as she is sailed offshore. This chapter explains why and will give you a good basis in the underlying engineering theory that will help you choose a boat that won’t let you down offshore.
In this chapter, John applies the theory of cycle loading that Matt explained in the last chapter to come up with solid rules you can apply to boat and gear purchases.
Matt takes a look at the materials available that offshore voyaging boat hulls are generally built of and explains the benefits and drawbacks of each one.
Matt carries on from the last chapter and examines how the various materials voyaging boat hulls are built out of will survive a collision with a hard object.
The sad fact is that many, perhaps most, production sailboats are not built to take the loads imposed by even a moderate collision or grounding. In this chapter AAC Technical Correspondent, explains the engineering and shares what to look for before buying a voyaging boat.
One of the common debates in any sailor’s bar is which hull material is best. John settles the argument…it depends. But he does make some solid recommendations for hull materials most of us should avoid and the one that the majority should choose.
Phyllis and John have spent the last few months researching buying a smaller cruising boat. Here’s what they have learned so far. Also some thoughts on getting a good survey.
There are a huge number of second-hand fibreglass cruising boats for sale, but very few good ones. Here is how to weed out some of the junk.
Whenever the subject of buying a boat comes up, the horror stories about surveys that failed to find serious, or even catastrophic, structural problems are sure to follow. John interviews industry expert Steve D’Antonio to learn how to avoid having our very own survey horror story.
There is endless debate about the effectiveness of moisture meters. Here are the facts from Steve D’ Antonio, who has used one for decades, together with some thoughts from John.
Hang around with cruisers, and sooner or later someone will say, “Never buy a boat with…”. Should we listen? John shares how to decide, and examines the choice between encapsulated and bolt on keels.
I have written at some length on watertight bulkheads because I think the subject represents an interesting exercise in risk evaluation, a process all of us who wish to sail offshore must become adept at, because if we treat all risks as equal, and try to guard against each of them equally, we will quite simply never leave the wharf.
So far we have written a lot about how to buy an offshore boat, but what about the elephant in the room: how can you possibly afford to buy said boat? Matt tackles that thorny subject from the real life point of view of someone working toward just that goal.
So what boat size is optimal for offshore voyaging? There is no one number. Rather, we must understand our own expectations before we can zero in on that. John tells the story of a smart guy that saved him from getting this wrong.
So is it possible to get a real offshore cruising boat for around US$100,000, ready to go? John suggests a possibility for those willing to go smaller and older.
A look at the claims that are made about second hand boats…and the probable reality.
No question that cruising sailboats have been getting bigger in recent years. And that begs the question, what’s the safe top end for a couple to handle? John has a simple answer.
Is there an age when you should buy a motor boat or motor sailor, rather than a sailboat, for offshore voyaging? I take a look at that by answering a question from a reader.
Carrying on from the last chapter, I take a look at motor sailors, again by answering a question from a reader. Do motor sailors make sense for offshore cruising? Read on to find out.
Can we go offshore cruising in a fully refitted, safe and comfortable boat for US$100,000, all in? Colin and John think so, but making it work won’t be easy and will need careful planning and lots of sweat. Colin kicks off the series with some things for us to think about before we even start looking for a boat.
So now that we have decided to focus on boats that have been well taken care of and not butchered by inept amateurs, we still need to be realistic about potential flaws in materials and construction and what it would really take in time and money to fix each. We can have no better guide than Colin as we figure that out.
To that end, Colin turns his attention to seven basic construction areas where problems can turn a refit into a horror show we definitely don’t want to star in.
Many secondhand boats out there are being sold as ready to go offshore. But what about the vital underwater appendages the loss of which often results in abandonment or worse? Colin shines the bright light of reality on this vital subject that no one else likes to talk about.
Colin completes his four-part series on going offshore cruising in a boat for less than US$100,000, with a look at materials other than fibreglass, and then winds up with a summary ending on a positive note.
John started out to write an article on budgeting for a refit, but ended up writing, based on personal experience, about something far more important: how to avoid the oh-so-common human failings that can turn a refit into a budget-busting rebuild, or even a total fail, as well as how to decide if a refit is something you even want to do.
Considering buying a steel boat? If so, you owe it to yourself to read Colin’s chapters that examines a beautifully built steel boat and shares what it really takes to do steel right.