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Dash rendar 04-21-2015 04:19 AM

help me choose my yacht
Hi guys!!

My name is Konrad. I'm 25, and I am in the process of buying my first yacht.
I am saving really hard and my goal is around 40k.
I am looking at doing major ocean crosses by myself.

I am looking for some help with what yacht I should buy.
The important things that I am looking for are:
Extremely sea worthy, capable of completing a circumnavigation.
Can be comfortably sailed by myself.
Not to small, between 31-37 ft
I am doing as much research as I can but a lot of people have different opinions..

Tiller or wheel?
I am not opposed to tiller but I don't like the look of tiller pilots, they seem flimsy and temperamental. A windvane would be great while there's wind though.

Fin keel or full keel?

Speed is not as important to me as being a bit more stable in rough weather and at anchor. I like the idea of a full keel better protecting the rudder in case of a collision. Any thoughts?

From what I have seen so far I am interested in a:
Sparkman and Stephens 34
Sadler 34
Westsail 32

Any help would be awesome, I am so keen! Its all I think about :s

I will have enough money by November so I really want to have a good idea in my mind of which boat to buy.
Thanks for your help!!

svhoneybee 04-21-2015 06:48 AM

There are going to be a lot of conflicting opinions on this and a lot will come down to your situation and personal tolerances.

My view is that you should buy a good fast sailing boat, otherwise, save the cost of rigging and sails and buy a motor boat. A lot of people are doing that and a lot are motoring around dragging a useless rig. No matter where you go (we are from Hobart), you will find yourself sailing a lot in light conditions. A good sailing boat makes the difference between continuing sailing in those conditions and reaching for the starter. A heavy boat is not necessarily safer or more comfortable, its just heavier.

If you buy the smallest boat you can tolerate (which, of course, conflicts with the above), you will generally find it easier to sail yourself and you may even be able to afford to maintain it. We have done two year long Pacific cruises in a 30 foot boat, so small isn't necessarily a limitation. We are more comfortable in our current 40 foot boat, but we wouldn't have done those trips if we had hung out for a bigger boat.

Your budget means that you are most likely to be buying a fairly old boat. That's not a bad thing as many of the older glass boats are more solidly built than the current machines, but you will need to have a very close look at the state of the gear and have a very generous budget for replacing anything that is worn out. New sails, rigging, major engine repairs etc could easily double the cost of your boat.

Which brings me to the whole maintenance thing. You really do need to have a good, ongoing, budget for maintenance. Take a walk around the waterfront and check all the boats. You will soon start to work out which boats don't have a sufficient budget and the consequences of that. A boat that is seriously on the move wears stuff out at an amazing rate.

I'm not trying to be negative, but you really need to buy a boat with your eyes wide open and be very realistic about the costs. Grab a Whitworths catalogue and browse to get an idea of the price of everything.

As for boat choices, try looking at the Van de Stadt 34. They might be out of your price range, and you might have trouble finding one in glass, but they usually sail very well. We love our VdS 40, which is the same boat scaled up.

Good luck with the decision making process.

Dash rendar 04-21-2015 08:10 AM

Thanks a lot for your reply!
I definitely understand your point about getting a faster boat, but does that mean that all full keel yachts are ruled out? I will be living on it as well so I like the idea of something that doesn't roll around quite as much. Plus I'm sure I will run aground at some point so that added safety for the rudder is comforting. Can you reccomend any other yachts? I am based in Sydney.
Thanks for your advice on maintenance and the cost involved in that and getting it properly set up for a big trip. I guess if I get it in November i can't go anywhere anyway because of the time of year, right? So I could save onwards until winter yo deck it out.
What would the other ongoing costs be apart from engine maintenance and anti foul?

Auzzee 04-21-2015 03:27 PM

Honeybee is very wise and makes excellent points. The only additions I would offer are strictly a reflection of my preferences. If you are going to be doing ocean crossings a full keel and narrow beam will be more comfortable. It depends on how you split the usage time. If you are going to tramp across the globe go the narrow, full keel option. If you are going to be doing a lot of short hops along the coast or day sailing, look for something with a broader beam and flatter bottom, which will be more comfortable for more of the time.

If you are looking to cross oceans, I suggest you look for used boats through Yachtworld in America. The prices there are still depressed. I recently looked at a 42' Irwin in Florida for US$34,000 that would sell, I believe, for much more in Oz. In Europe boats are not so cheap and they don't seem to get the electronic gadget upgrades which characterise boats from the US.

The good thing about researching through Yachtworld is you can include many criteria. For instance if you want a 36', long keel, GRP sailing boat with a Bermudan rig for less than US$35,000 in a specific location, you can look for it and, at the same time, get a real understanding of the current state of the market.

Wheel steering vs tiller. On a small boat the tiller is king. It allows for a lot more useable space in the cockpit. Tiller steering requires a lot less maintenance than wheel steering. However, it is nice to hold a wheel.

As far as self steering goes, rigging a tiller/sheet system can be a very easy thing to do, and can save you six months of cruising dollars if you are prepared to tinker until it's just right. Take a peek at this
I would also recommend you go to a second hand book shop (or if you are feeling like a splurge, Boatbooks in Sydney) and buy a copy of Lyn and Larry Pardey's Self Sufficient Cruiser, Capable Cruiser and/or Cost Conscious Cruiser. All three are as bibles to the low budget sailor. (Me included).
Best of luck in your hunting, keep us informed as you progress and seek advice (or counsel on the inevitable suicide days of boat inspections) and we will offer whatever help we, as a community, are able to provide,
PS. Tiller steered boats will generally be lower in cost than a comparably sized wheel steered boat.

Dash rendar 04-22-2015 02:54 AM

Thanks alot for your help i really appreciate it.
I was thinking of buying one over there and sailing it back, but idk if id have the skills to do that. what do you think? i met a couple of teenages over there that were doing it in a shitty 3000 yacht they bought in san diego with not much experience, that definitely inspired me to just do it and figure it out as i go. 4 weeks of open ocean to the Marquesas from mexico so youd have to have some idea. theres 15% import tax though, plus the flight there etc. our dollar is pretty **** atm though.
so do you have any other names of good blue water yachts i can look for other than s&s 34?

svhoneybee 04-26-2015 08:43 AM

Konrad, while doing research, you might try to find a copy of Modern Cruising Under Sail by Don Dodds, perhaps at your local library. (or from Boat Books or Amazon ). You will find a lot of well thought out discussion on design, boat shape etc, amongst other things.

markwesti 04-27-2015 06:15 PM

Hi Konrad , my vote would be a Westsail . Bet nobody saw that coming . W 32's are good but lets not forget about the W28 . A tried and true method for AP is a windvane with back up electric . here are some sites for your amusement . Please note Mango . I knew Todd met him over 20 yrs's ago in Long Beach Ca.
WOA Home page
Singlehanded TransPac | San Francisco to Hanalei Bay – The 19th Edition
Good luck and keep us posted !

Munchi Mike 01-08-2016 10:38 PM

^_^Okay if you want to be a boater get fibreglass; if you want to be a Yachtsman, get wood.

Your first boat should be the one you fall in love with, so should your second third and so forth.
You have to go out on some before you know; just like your women.

Other than that asking a forum of strangers what you should buy is like asking a crowd of hookers what condom you should use lol.

Sydneysider '64 to '76
Sailor since Cadiz to Mallorca '58:rolleyes:

UnionJack 01-11-2016 07:25 PM

Carl Alberg's Masthead Sloop
Hi Conrad,
I did a lot of research before buying my first 'serious' boat and I wrote about my choice in my latest book. Here's an excerpt from the manuscript which may be of interest to you; it explains 'what' I wanted and 'why'. Alberg also designed a 32 but I preferred the 7 ton 29. We sailed comfortably on the North Atlantic and we endured a couple of gales at sea together. Good luck with your selection.

"Though I looked at numerous vessels while accumulating the necessary funding, I always returned to Carl Alberg’s twenty-nine foot, blue-water, masthead sloop. She had four of the five features most important to me. Her full keel provided directional stability and rudder protection. Her keel stepped mast added strength to her rigging while at the same time eliminating excessive load on the coach roof. The vessel’s ballast to displacement ratio was forty-four per cent, a very comforting feature in heavy weather. Also, I considered the diesel auxiliary safer than the gasoline powered Atomic 4 used in earlier Albergs like Pequod. The design was a foot short of my arbitrarily set thirty-foot minimum, but it had a wheel instead of a tiller and, by eliminating the lazaret incorporated into earlier designs, its architect had increased the cabin size substantially. Bronze fittings made it compatible with salt water, and its fine bow and deep forefoot were romantically classic and seaworthy."

Auzzee 01-11-2016 10:57 PM

Welcome Dave, the Alberg is a wonderful yacht and it seems you are having a ball sailing on her. I am interested to see your comment above regarding deck vs keel stepped masts. I've always preferred the deck stepped for a variety of reasons.

In cold weather it seems to me that having a keel stepped, metal mast makes your saloon, in effect, a large refrigerator. Then there is the problem of leaking which isn't a feature of deck stepped masts. Also it is all but impossible to have dry bilges when your mast is keel stepped due to the water travelling down through the spar. The strength of the arc formed by the deck is compromised with a keel stepped mast, which can lead to the deck sagging. Harmonics from the vibration of the rig is transferred more effectively to the saloon with a keel stepped mast and, in the event of a dismasting, the deck/cabin trunk can be torn away whereas the deck stepped version is less likely to cause major structural damage.

If the deck stepped mast is fitted in a tabernacle directly above a keel stepped compression post, all the above points are negated and the integrity of the deck is ultimately preserved.

Meanwhile I am always impressed by people who have the get-up-and-go to write and have a book published. Well done and I hope we see much more of you here on CL.


UnionJack 01-11-2016 11:32 PM

Hi Auzzee,
I absolutely agree with the harmonics issue, though I avoided any leakage with the use of a thick rubber sewer pipe connector with integrated stainless clamps (wrapped with shrink-wrap). Sort of a jury-rig but effective. You probably have a good point with the dismasting, especially down under. I only sailed the North Atlantic and haven't experienced more than a force-8. As to the cold, the sea seems to suck the heat out of the cabin without any help from the mast. I suspect you have a lot more experience than me, and I respect your opinion.
Dave 02-01-2016 11:57 PM

What Kind of boat you actually buy is up to you. It has to fit you, it has to be of your love. If you have the wrong boat, you'll never be happy. A stiff one when in hard sea and you are used to a smooth one? I did my buying, did fix the boat from the bottom to the top. Electrical, sanitation, installing watermaker, Windturbine, stouve, Refrigeration, all the Navigation Equipment, Radar, HF SSB Radio, everything. Then you do your own bottom Job, taking out Blisters, refitting the rudder. If you go for ocean crossing? Do that... You don't want to have a Problem with a lost rudder, because you did not check by your won the rudder. You don't want to loose your Autopilot, because the Connections are corroded and you don't want to loose your running lights, your bordlight and everything, because the bulbs are corroded, because your wires go out. Reset the size of your wires, redo all the wiring, all the rigging. A good Thing is increase the size of your rigging. In a hurricane Close by you'll Need those. Even do you are not in the hurricane, it will be rough and nasty... so, do your homeworks. Otherwise, you can loose your boat...

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