Why did you choose that boat?
We seem to get this one a lot, in one form or another. "Why not get a newer boat that needed less work?", "Why not a smaller one?", "Why not get something a little bigger?", "How did you choose from all the options out there?"
There seems to be plenty of books, video and websites devoted to telling you what boat is best for you. Great. Go read them, if you’re still looking. But like everything related to sailing, there are as many opinions as there are sailors. So, we will skip telling you what boat you should buy, and instead give you some insight into why we chose the boat we did.
First and foremost, you need to love your boat. It is often the case that many people return to buy the first boat they saw, or the one that caught their eye, after a long and fruitless search. This was definitely the case for us. We spent months looking over every kind of boat we could find on YachtWorld, Craigslist, eBay and other such sites, searching and learning about what was out there. Being new to the idea of living on a sailboat, we had no idea what to look for, how to look for it, or even what to put in the search bar. Price of course is a major determining factor. It has been said before that the best boat for you, is the one you already own. The problem was, we didn't own a boat yet.
OK so, choosing the boat:
I think that before you even search for a boat, you should know 3 things and for us, we literally wrote down the bullet points to help us choose.
Everyone has a budget, rich or poor, and you can find a boat for any budget. I must tell you that our poor sailor’s pockets would definitely not allow us to get a new boat. When the idea of getting a sailboat came to mind, we started to browse through a great website: www.yachtworld.com (its basically a better craigslist type of websites just for boats) you can find used and new boats from $1k to $5million+ so its important to know how much you are willing to spend, knowing that if its an old used boat, it will need work and yes depending on what type of work, you might be able to do it yourself or it can be quite pricy. But its a tricky one, because even new boats, will need work done. Especially since a lot of companies nowadays build for sexiness and performance and not for the normal cruiser who just needs a good slow but sturdy boat. Another section of the budget to consider is that the bigger the boat, the more expensive the maintenance and the marinas will be. Additional length on deck adds exponential expense, so finding a personal range is quite important.
#2 Intended Use
The 2nd point and I believe the most important is figuring out what you want out of it. Do you want to live aboard; or just use it as a weekender; How many people would be with you; do you want to cross oceans or plan to stick with the coast. For us, we knew we wanted a boat small enough so that we are able to handle it by ourselves (Uma being our first boat) but large enough for us to live in comfortably (Uma being our only home). With that said, we put our range for the overall length to between a 32-40 feet. We want to be able to go anywhere, and not be limited to the US coast. So we started researching for a good blue water capable boat within our range. We read some blogs and forums online. In the meantime, we contacted a couple of people and went for a visit on their boats in the 36-40’ range . So we went back to yachtworld.com and kept looking.
#3 Personal Choice
Each and every boat is different. We wanted is a boat that meets our personal needs structurally but also esthetically, and in terms of the functionality of the space. For instance a lot of the boats less than 35’ you have to walk through the head to access the V berth and we agreed that it was a layout we wanted to avoid. We, absolutely, would rather have a helm than a tiller. Basically, we wanted a boat that had the potential of being a comfortable, great blue water sailboat to our liking. Lastly, we’re a big fan of giving it its own personality, so for us finding a sailboat that we can fix ourselves and give it the aspects we want her to have was something to consider. It would also allow us to know your boat inside and out.
We hope that helps clear things up a bit. If you have any related questions, feel free to ask them in a comment below.