Choosing a Boat

With the imminent approval of my leave of absence, our focus starts to be on “stuff.”  We have decided to rent our house while we are gone with the exception of 1 of the 5 bedrooms.  This we will fill with the furniture and possessions that we don’t want to toss/sell, can’t loan to someone or take with us.  Additionally on the “stuff” topic, we need to buy a boat and determine what will fit on board and what we want to add to it.  Buying a boat quickly becomes a discussion about priorities and what each person values.  In general, Leah’s and my own priorities align pretty well.  We want a boat that will have sufficient space for the five us to live on.  This means that no one needs to sleep in the salon every night, that there is sufficient headroom to avoid getting sore from being hunched over all the time (mainly a Richard issue), enough storage for “stuff” on board, sufficient tankage for fuel and water, comfortably sized berths and a reasonable amount of systems.  In addition cost is also a factor.

After the Vancouver boat show we both figured we could live with a two cabin boat in the 36ft range.  Oscar, the Hunter 356 that we chartered was a trial for the potential boat we would buy.  On the charter we decided that having to tear down the dinette everyday and having to transfer one sleeping child every night was not something we wanted to do.  Also putting a child to bed in the salon eliminates the possibility of using it for adult time.  This drove us to look at a slightly larger boat with three cabins.

Surprisingly there are very few three cabin boats that are less than 45 feet and almost none below ~$80k.  Even rarer are Pullman berths which we think will be superior to a vee berth for two tall people.  Our original budget for a boat was in the $75k range but we have had to increase it slightly to $100k to meet the Pullman and 3 cabin criteria.  Of the offerings out there the one that seem most suited to our requirements is a Beneteau 393.  I looked at catamarans as well which would be my first choice but with exception of very old Prout’s and Gemini’s there are none to be had in the $100k range.

There are some cons to buying a newer bigger boat:

1)      Higher percentage of total assets tied up in the boat reducing monthly allowance

2)      More worry about protecting the boat because it is valuable

3)      On resale a 30% drop in value versus invested will be a larger amount

4)      More maintenance because boat is bigger and comes with more systems

Pros for a newer bigger boat:

1)      Modern, faster design for passages

2)     Likely easier to sell later.

3)     Headroom is better

4)      Lighter interior

5)      Larger Cockpit

As such we will be looking for a Beneteau 393, which is a little larger than we originally thought we would get but is large enough that the five of us can live aboard comfortably

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