Sunday, November 2, 2014

The perfect cruising boat - My shortlist

The solution to two-foot-itis?
I have recently come down with a severe case of two-foot-itis. Salammbo, our Hughes 29, has been a wonderful boat for our family and has whet our appetite enough that we are now looking for something bigger.

When I broached the subject with my wife, her reaction was "I don't want to do this for a couple of feet, if we're going to do it, let's do it." Yes, she is awesome. With that in mind, we have refined our search to include only boats that will keep us comfortable for many years of cruising.

I have set out these criteria for our new boat:

  1. Price - Always a factor... we'll be looking at older, used, boats to fit this criteria. My preference is a boat that is good value for the money. I don't mind putting sweat equity into a boat to clean it up and improve it's capability. 
  2. Pretty -  Yes this is subjective, but I don't want an ugly boat! I prefer classic lines on a boat.
  3. In the 35' to 40' range (15,000lbs - 25,000lbs displacement) - This is the general range that fits our budget and space needs. Larger boats would be more expensive for ongoing maintenance and harder to short hand. Smaller boats are too cramped for us.
  4. Solidly built - offshore capable - We don't plan to spend a lot of time offshore but we will want to do limited offshore passages. 
  5. Suitable accommodations for 4 adults for limited duration- Us and our two, quickly growing, kids
  6. Suitable accommodations for a couple to cruise indefinitely - Empty nest planning
  7. Good short handed capability - My wife likes to take a less active role in handling the boat. My ability to short hand is important. 
  8. Fuel capacity (>40 gallons) - Enough fuel for several days of motoring if the wind doesn't cooperate. Our local cruising grounds tend to be less favorable to sailing. 
  9. Water capacity (>80 gallons) - Should keep us going for a week or two at a time without having to worry about consumption too much. We currently do well with 15 gallons for a week of cruising. 
  10. Hot/Cold water and shower - Cleanliness is next to godliness, right? Crew happiness is important!
  11. Sail-away condition suitable for short duration coastal or river cruising - I don't mind a boat that needs work (they all do!) but, given the short duration of a New Brunswick summer, the boat needs to be usable right away. I'll get to the projects the first winter.
  12. Shallow draft - Less than 5' 
  13. Good anchoring setup - We prefer anchoring over mooring since it is more suitable to our anti-social cruising habits. A good anchoring setup makes life easier.
  14. Reasonable performance under sail and power - I don't need a racer but would like something with reasonable performance.
With this in mind, I have come up with the following shortlist of boats that might meet our requirements, depending on how they are equipped. This list will undoubtedly grow as I find more that I like. Links are to posts about my impressions of the boats before and after viewing:

  • Allied Mistress 39

  • Allied Princess 36

  • C&C Landfall 38

  • Hughes 38

  • Pearson 365

  • Pearson 36

  • Niagara 35

  • Endeavor 37

  • Seafarer 38

Do you have a boat in mind that meets these criteria that should be added to the list? Comment below, I'd love to hear about it.