Be warned - I am an unseasoned and not very salty sailor. Any tips I share about boat buying are of the low sodium variety.
How big is too big for a sailboat? I want a boat that is big enough to hold all of my stuff, but not so big that my bum looks big in it. All the ladies out there can relate. The worst thing in the world is to go jeans shopping. You try on pair after pair after pair desperately looking for the one pair that your bum doesn't look big in. It is all about getting the right cut which suits your shape. I imagine boats are a bit like that too. You want to get the right size for you and your family. Too big and you can't sail it without other crew members and too small and you're horribly uncomfortable and cramped inside. And, as far as I know, there are no sailing Spanx which can solve that problem. (Scott, don't ask what Spanx are. You really don't want to know.)
Well, Scott and I will be buying our next boat sometime next year, so I need to figure out what size will best suit our shape. We could go really big and get a mega yacht. If you have enough money to buy one of those, clearly buying diesel isn't your biggest concern so why not dispense with the sails entirely? The biggest mega yacht out there right now is the Azzam which is owned by some rich dude from one of the Emirates. Clearly, the price of diesel really isn't a problem for him. It is 180m / 590ft long and can reach top speeds of over 30 knots and cost a gazillion dollars. Have you ever seen anything more ridiculous? But I guess if you have this much money you never have to worry about your bum looking big in it because you have a whole host of fawning sycophants* who will tell you how great you look and how tiny your bum is. There aren't any sycophants in our neck of the wood, so we'll be going with something smaller.
So after checking that Scott doesn't have a gazillion dollars stashed away in some secret checking account, I'm now having a look at smaller boats. Although he is from North Dakota and there is a lot of oil to be found there, so who knows maybe the Dakotas will be the new Emirates in the near future and the oil money will come rushing in and we'll buy a mega yacht? However, I'm not holding my breath. In the meantime, I'm thinking that we want something larger then what we currently sail on (26ft) but less than 40ft. Two reasons why - we're cheap and it is just the two of us. As you go up in size, your maintenance and other boat related costs go up. And obviously, just like with houses, the more square footage you have, the more the purchase price is.
Let me give you an example. We keep our boat in the piles in Westhaven Marina in Auckland. (The piles are the "cost conscious" option for mooring your boat there.) Our boat is small so we can go with the smallest mooring which costs us NZ$201.50 a month. If our boat was between 28-33ft it would cost us NZ$248.00, between 41-46ft it would cost NZ$294.50 and so on and so on all the way up to NZ$465.00 for boats between 61-66ft. The same principle applies when you haul your boat out for its annual anti-fouling. The bigger the boat, the more cans of paint you need. And as anti-foul paint is expensive enough as it is, who really wants to buy a lot of it? Every penny counts when you're sailing on a budget, so I want to go with the smallest boat we can comfortably live in.
The other big reason has to do with ease of sailing. I'm a really rubbish sailor and the last thing we need is to have a really big boat that is hard for me to manage. Ideally, Scott would single hand the boat and I could just spend my days reading and snacking and you really do need a smaller boat for one person to be able to single hand it. (Scott, I am just kidding. I'm there for you. In spirit anyway. In spirit from down below reading and snacking.) From what I've read, it looks like something between 35-38ft would be manageable for the two of us. So that's what we'll go for. One more thing figured out on our boat buying checklist. Next up I'll have a look at the different interior set-ups there are on boats. Since I'll be spending a lot of my time down below snacking and reading, this is an important one!
If you're interested in other slightly eccentric posts on how to buy a sailboat when you know nothing about sailing or boats, check out this page.
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*Yes, I realize that saying "fawning" in front of "sycophant" is probably unnecessary and a bit redundant. However, "sycophant" on its own is a really silly word which just sounds plain odd. If you add "fawning" in front of it then suddenly it has some oomph.
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