Searching For Home: Guts And Science

It’s the day after Christmas, and we hope your holidays are pleasant, safe and warm. While comfy in our little rented abode on land, we’re in search mode. Kelly and I are fortunate to have jobs keeping us distracted, but we remain otherwise focused on finding a new sailboat to call home, so we can get back out onto the ocean and continue traveling with minimal footprint. (Photo to left: Kelly likes the interior layout on this Bristol 45.5, but it needs TLC.)

Avoiding more detailed analysis of our ideal boat criteria, let’s just look at a few boats and talk about what we think we like… and don’t like. Considering prior experiences of sailing (and, ahem, socializing) on boats over the years, we start with a concept of what seems to appeal. Of course we also apply a bit of logic to start the filtering. Formulas such as SA/displ and bal/displ are usually considered. Regardless of how scientifically we approach the search, final results filter back to what our collective gut says. Feelings about boats are difficult to describe, but we know it from walking around on the boat. For boats new to us we also read reviews of how they sail, attempting to consider opinions on handling and life aboard. Out of the thousands of sailboats are listed on YachtWorld, below you’ll find nineteen finalists we visited recently in the north east U.S. Google for additional design details.

A sailor’s joys are as simple as a child’s.

Bernard Moitessier
2000 Outbound 44 – She’s perfect! But sold before we could make an offer.

From the time Kelly and I seriously discussed pausing our lengthy cruising plans last summer, we’ve traveled to and boarded several interesting contenders. Floating or on land, all meeting our basic criteria, listed below are vessels in order of our viewing. Most of these are great boats, but we typically declined due to price versus cost-to-fix issues. A couple were long shots, just to be sure, that we consider more possibilities.

  1. 2000 Outbound 44. Viewed in mid-summer; we hadn’t yet sold our Pretorien, but would have jumped on this one. A bit of a price stretch but everything is optimal here. It was no surprise that she was sold and off the market before we were ready to make an offer.
  2. 1988 Stevens 42. Kelly didn’t like general layout with island sink over the engine. Guts rule. Nuff said.
  3. 1996 Pacific Seacraft 40. Out of water for 15 years! Relatively clean for the price, but 15 years can hide serious issues. Put on back burner for later consideration.
  4. 1988 Brewer 44. Love the layout, but this one has several leaks through decks, sole in disrepair, higher price, etc. New to market, so not willing to compromise. Others on the market have their own issues too.
  5. 1997 Caliber 40 LRC. Older model vs higher price. Needs updates. Sold to a less scrupulous buyer. Good luck.
  6. 1993 Pacific Seacraft 44. Tragic disrepair vs price. Waste of time. Thought it could sink while aboard at mooring.
  7. 1998 Pacific Seacraft 40. Very high price, yet needs updates like canvas and rigging.
  8. 1998 Valiant 42. Our first pick in terms of layout and equipment. We made an offer on this one, and went back Annapolis for complete survey and sea trial. Unfortunately, we found many costly issues due mainly from poor maintenance and neglect. Seller not willing to compromise, and deal fell through.
  9. 198? Oyster 43. We found plenty to like here. Was second on our list but made offer on the ‘98 Valiant 42. Sold while dealing with above Valiant 42.
  10. 199? Cabo Rico 45. Long shot having a full keel. Needs cosmetic work, price very high, but tried to be open to possibly liking this rather heavy but comfortable beast.
  11. 1983 Stevens 40. Deck gel coat very tired, leaks, needs updating. Layout ok, but felt a bit tight.
  12. 1986 Shannon 43. Very sad and neglected condition. Deceptive broker described as “delayed maintenance”. Waste of our time.
  13. 1985 Shannon 43. Excellent condition, but extensive brightwork (maintenance) turns us from further consideration of others on the market.
  14. 1984 Nordic 40. Remains high on our list. Holding out because of age, old motor, deeper draft (6.5ft) and limited fuel tankage. Higher price point doesn’t allow for compromise. Maybe offer something lower?
  15. 1979 Bristol 45.5. Older, heavier. Rough condition. Lower price made this attractive initially, and Kelly likes the layout, but I’m not as comfortable with the deck layout.
  16. 1986 Lafitte 44. Absolutely love the strange design of the Lafitte, but… looking like the delaminated keel might fall off, and saturated teak decks in need of removal. Needs costly repair. Too bad because a wishful owner recently spent mucho dinero on numerous attractive updates.
  17. 1984 Passport 40. We’ve been on other Passports and like many aspects of the Bob Perry classic design. This one has non-skid decks, but with big leaks and plenty of cosmetic damage in tight spaces below.
  18. 1985 Passport 40. Bad teak decks complete with leaks below. Interior kinda rough.
  19. 1989 Hans Christian 41. Beast of a heavy boat. Good condition. Waaaay too much teak sealed its fate for our consideration.
  20. Fill in your suggestion here 🙂

As of this writing we’re reconsidering a couple above, while continuously hoping for additional contenders. However, we’re told that many brokerages are short on inventory, giving us a poor chance of finding more choices. Should we expand our drivable geographic area? We’d probably consider more to preview in Texas, Florida and Washington state if not for Covid-19.

There is nothing like lying flat on your back on the deck, alone except for the helmsman aft at the wheel, silence except for the lapping of the sea against the side of the ship. At that time you can be equal to Ulysses and brother to him.

Errol Flynn

Like a hermit crab searching for a new shell, we’ll keep wandering and exploring.

3 thoughts on “Searching For Home: Guts And Science

  1. Pingback: Purchase Decision – SV Fayaway

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