For as long as we have been married, my wife and I have always had the dream that some day we would buy the boat we would own and sail for the rest of our lives. Over the last twenty years we have owned a couple of small, old boats that were good for a day sail or an uncomfortable weekend but limiting in where and how far we would sail.
In the last year, we have become empty-nesters and we decided to take the plunge and buy a boat we could cruise with more ambitiously. And it has taken a year to buy that boat. Over that time, we read a lot, researched extensively and were given great advice from various sailing friends and a few professionals whose advice we came to trust. For the benefit of anyone who is buying a boat, I thought I would share our experience. Is it the definitive advice on buying a used sailboat? Of course not but it worked for us and we are happy with where we ended up.
And here she is. Her name (well her current name) is Poetry and she’s a 1988 Mk2 Sabre 38.
Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing the experience of buying our boat. For convenience sake, I have broken it down into five phases.
Step 1: Figuring out how you will use your sailboat. This is a crucial step that you cannot spend enough time on. I have heard so many stories of people buying brand spanking new 50 foot cruisers only to find that the rest of the family gets seasick or hates sailing. In this section, I will take you through the process we went through and share some experiences from other boat-buyers who ended up in a different place.
Step 2: Developing a long list. This is where the hard research comes in. Web sites like www.yachtworld.com are incredible resources but make the process overwhelming. In this post, I will explain the process we went through to get to a list of 10-15 possible boats.
Step 3: Narrowing your list down. Getting to a shortlist of 2-3 boats is the really fun bit. This is where you start to experience what sailing and owning the boat of your dreams will be like.
Step 4: Finding YOUR boat. Once you have narrowed the list of models down, the hard analytical work of finding THE boat you want own.
Step 5: Closing the Deal. Completing the purchase of a boat is more like buying a house than a car. It’s complicated and there are many details that need to be planned out.
As I don’t pretend to be an expert, I would love to hear others experiences and perspectives and promise to include the best advice.