LAHOWIND » Just you, me, + the dog.

Getting Our Priorities in Check! Sailboat Buying for Beginners

For two long years, Jereme checked and sailboat listings (& occasionally, Craigslist) twice a day to check out any and all new boats. Let’s just say he was intimately familiar with every boat for sail in Florida.

So after browsing what feels like 10 million sailboats up for sale online, I think it’s safe to say we’ve effectively narrowed our search down and developed a shortlist of priorities we want in a boat.

Let’s be honest, if it were up to me (Kim) our boat would look like this

Image courtesy Google Image search

Who am I kidding? This is more in line with what we can probably afford… 😉 

Image courtesy Google Image search

At the end of the day, we know there is never going to be the perfect boat, but we are trying to find the one that’s best for us AND fits our budget.

Here’s what we know for sure…

  1. Our boat will be used.
  2. She needs to be sturdy and seaworthy.
  3. She will be affordable (to us that means less than $60,000 cash money).

In a nutshell, here’s our narrowed down sailboat shopping priority list:

  • Model: Endeavour, Gulfstar, Irwin, Morgan, Pearson (older production boats, we don’t want a newer production boat). And newer than 1980. *At first we thought we wanted Gemini 105M Catamaran for all kinds of crazy reasons, but then at the Miami Simply Sail show we got on one and changed our mind. 
  • Current Location: In Florida, preferably the Gulf coast (somewhere we could easily sail back to Naples without getting too crazy)
  • Rigging: sloop
  • Length: Ideally between 35 and 40 feet. Big enough to be comfortable, but not too big that we can’t handle it or can’t afford the maintenance/upkeep.
  • Draft: Less than 5 feet (necessary for cruising the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean)
  • Water Capacity: the more the better
  • Engine: needs to be a perkins or yanmar, and as low of hours as possible
  • Anchors: Electric windlass, and the bigger the anchor the better
  • Air Conditioning (for Kim)
  • Refrigeration: electric
  • Bimini/Dodger: definitely needed to shade us from the tropical sun
  • Storage: the more the better
  • Fuel Tank: preferably one that we won’t have to replace in the near future, and the bigger the better
  • Autopilot: To relieve the helmsman.
  • Dinghy with motor: Would be a bonus.
  • Wind instruments and depth sounder: depth sounder essential, wind instruments very helpful.
  • Clean marine survey (for the major things — engine, structure, dry boat, etc.)

And here are some things we would certainly love, but aren’t a deal breaker:

  • A pretty boat. (again, Kim)
  • Large cockpit
  • Jib with roller furling. Easy to handle from the cockpit.
  • All lines leading aft to the cockpit
  • Solar power
  • An inverter
  • Instructions for all of the equipment. (So we can figure out how to fix things when they inevitably break.)
  • Maintenance records. To know how old everything is and when it will need to be serviced.
  • Chart plotter
  • Sail track

***UPDATE: We’ve purchased a 1982 Endeavour 37 B Plan. You can see all of her specs here.

>>Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing.

[…] However when we were boat shopping, we also knew that the water tank on a 1982 Endeavour 37 had decent access, as compared to fuel tanks and water tanks on similar boats. Luckily, the fuel tank had already been replaced by the previous owner (one of the items on our boat shopping priority list). […]

[…] then FINALLY we bit the bullet and called a yacht broker for one great-looking, fits-our-budget, lines-up-with-our-priority-list kind of boat we came across on […]

[…] about our boat is that it came with a beautiful canvas bimini top and dodger. Both of which were on our original “must-have” list when boat shopping.  With the obvious need being shade – a major necessity when sailing in […]

AaronOctober 16, 2014 - 6:24 pm

Hello, I’m really enjoying your blog. Just found it. I am an aspiring sailor myself with very little experience. I am interested in purchasing my own board in the near future and I have been looking hard at catamarans. I’m curious about why you changed your mind on the Gemini when you actually got on board one. Thanks for the help and keep up the great work. Your an inspiration. Aaron

ScottJanuary 31, 2015 - 5:47 pm

Just found the blog and love it. My wife and I are looking into getting a boat in the next few years. I’m really interested (like Aaron) on what changed your mind about the catamaran. That’s where we’re leaning right now. Thanks!