Boat Buying

Image via the Graphics Fairy

Boat Buying Tips Without Too Much Salt

We're going to be upgrading and buying a new sailboat sometime next year. Since we'll be spending a fair chunk of change on our new boat, I thought it might be sensible to start studying up and learn something about what to look for when you're out sailboat shopping. And I thought I would share what I've learned in case you're in the market for a new boat too. But a word of caution - I know practically nothing about sailing or sailboats and am a very unsalty sailor. Any tips I share are a bit eccentric and definitely of the low sodium variety. But hey, maybe you'll find my ignorance amusing and who can't use a good laugh. Even if it is at my expense - I'm okay with that.

So here are my boat buying tips without too much salt. Keep checking back as we add new posts.

"How Long Can You Hold Your Breath"
The post that started it all with the realization that your boat can roll-over and that I should probably learn more about boats. And that I need to start practicing holding my breath.

"Boat Buying Tips Without Too Much Salt (Pt 1) - Hulls"
I looked into the pros and cons of the different types of materials hulls are made out of. And became a bit frightened to find out some people make their boats out of balsa wood. You know the type of wood that you can easily snap in two.

"Boat Buying Tips Without Too Much Salt (Pt 2) - Keels"
I like to think of a boat's keel as its big toe. Sometimes you stub your boat's toe when you run aground. That can hurt and be expensive if you do damage. That's why it is important to learn about the different types of keels you can find on sailboats.

"Boat Buying Tips Without Too Much Salt (Pt 3) - Keels Again"
I found out keels are more complicated than I originally thought and that there are both bolt-on and encapsulated keels. It was all too complicated for me so I turned to the Cruisers Forum and got some advice from the folks there.

"Boat Buying Tips Without Too Much Salt (Pt 4) - Rudders"
If keels are like a boat's big toe, then rudders are like its tail. Makes sense doesn't it? In this post I check out the different types of options there are for the rudder tail on your boat.

"Boat Buying Tips Without Too Much Salt (Pt 5) - Tillers vs. Wheels"
It's pretty hard to use a tiller if you can't tell your left from your right as everything is backwards (left=right and right=left). Given I have this affliction, I thought I would see if a wheel is a more sensible option on our next boat. 

"Boat Buying Tips Without Too Much Salt (Pt 6) - Catamarans vs Monohulls"
I wade into one of the most controversial subjects there is in the sailing world - which is better a boat with one hull or a boat with two hulls. I check out what the Bumfuzzles and the Pardeys have to say on the subject.

"Boat Buying Tips Without Too Much Salt (Pt 7) - How Big Is Too Big?"
How big should our next boat be? What's the right balance between being big enough to hold all of our stuff and easy enough to manage?

"Boat Buying Tips Without Too Much Salt (Pt 8) - Galleys, Heads & Beds"
Eating and sleeping are two of my favorite activities so I'll be paying particular attention to galley set-ups and berth layouts when we go boat shopping. And while toilets can be icky, they are pretty important too.

Wish List for Our Next Boat

Shakedown Cruise Review: Wish List for Our Next Boat (Pt 1)
{Things that make life easier} 

Shakedown Cruise Review: Wish List for Our Next Boat (Pt 2)
{Set-up down below}

Shakedown Cruise Review: Wish List for Our Next Boat (Pt 3)

Shakedown Cruise Review: Wish List for Our Next Boat (Pt 4)

Other Posts

Go West, Go East or Somewhere in the Middle?
Where should we buy our next boat - the East Coast, the West Coast or the Great Lakes?

Boat Reviews

We're trying to create a short-list of boats to look at when we buy our new boat next year. Otherwise, it would just be too overwhelming as there are so many choices out there when it comes to sailboats. As part of the process, we're doing some research on boats that might be of interest to us and which meet our general criteria. Here are links to the boats we've reviewed so far.

Boat Review: Catalina 36

Boat Review: Tartan 37

Links to Sites I've Found Useful

Here are some links to sites which I've found really useful as we start to think about what boats we want to put on our short-list when we start our serious boat shopping next year back in the States.

Sail Far, Live Free is a great resource for boat reviews written not only from their perspective, but also with guest posts by boat designers such as Robert Perry and Ted Brewer. They also do reviews on sailing related gear which are quite useful as well. A site well worth checking out.

Little Cunning Plan has a series of great boat reviews as well. I stumbled across their site when I saw that they had did a review of a boat in the Pacific Northwest that we had been interested in but weren't sure of what the condition was like. Their review was really helpful and sheds some light on why this particular boat has been on the market for so long.

Sailing Today magazine's online site is a good resource for boat reviews written from a British perspective.

Boat U.S. is an American boat owner's association which offers insurance and boat towing coverage. They also have a series of over 70 sailboat reviews on their website which are worth a look as well.

Sailboat Cruising has a useful overview of what a practical interior layout for an offshore cruiser would look like vs. that used for inshore weekend sailing.

Cruising World has a number of articles which are helpful when thinking about boat buying such as the 40 best production monohulls and the 9 top sailboats of 2013, as well as a whole raft of boat reviews.

Ben at Sailing Simplicity has a couple of articles on the best features of blue water cruisers, the first on hull and deck configurations and the second on interior set-ups.

I found the information on galley set-ups on the Women & Cruising site really interesting as there are a number of different views on what works for a variety women on different boats with different cruising lifestyles. They also have a handy check-list which you can use to think through the various aspects of galleys when you are next out boat shopping or just want to make changes to your current set-up.

If you want to delve into the nitty-gritty of a particular boat, Sailboat Data has a huge database of boat specs.

And of course, when you're ready to go boat shopping or just want to see what's out there and do a bit of dreaming, you can check out Yacht World and Sailboat Listings.


  1. Thanks for visiting our blog and stopping long enough to read our review of that Westerly. Frankly, you could do worse than that boat, especially if you can get it for the right price. It's a beautiful boat, stoutly built, with an excellent layout. But it would be a lot of work up front. Still, if the price is right...
    Curiosity compels me to ask what kind of work Ellen does that allows her to take assignments in such cool far flung places? We have a son who is majoring in Archeology with a minor in Anthropology, owns his own sailboat and loves to travel. I'd like to give him hope that there are still jobs that pay something for people who like to live in farflung places. If you find yourselves in the Pacific Northwest during your boat shopping forays, give us a shout. We love to look at boats.
    Enjoying reading your blog! Lovely!

  2. How great your son is an archaeology major! We actually both have degrees in anthropology - Scott put his degree to use and is an archaeologist working in the UK. I sold my soul to the devil for medical / dental insurance many, many years ago and ended up in HR. Then I was just lucky enough to work for a company that transferred me to the UK. Not nearly as exciting as anthropology! When we head back to the States next year, we might end up starting our look for our next boat in the Pacific Northwest as our families are out there. Will definitely touch base if we start the search out there - we're happy for any help and advice we can get. Thanks!

  3. Vườn hoa có các hình ảnh rất nghộ nghĩnh, tôi rất thích, bài viết rất hay, mời các bạn xem các thông tin >>> Chỉnh nha và các vấn đề liên quan ?


We LOVE when people leave comments. It's so much more fun hearing what you have to say. If you have a blog, make sure you leave a link and I'll be sure to pop on by.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.