Bayfield 29 — An early review

I’ve had a few weeks with the new boat (Bayfield 29, la Princesa…until I change the name in a few weeks), and I’m getting a good feel for her.

Firstly, I don’t have any buyers remorse. At least not yet. I’m rather pleased with the design in general.

Under sail:

She sails remarkably well in light air. Not race boat fast; but certainly a lot better than I expected from a full keel, rather full body cutter. Under the asymmetrical spinnaker she would do three knots in around six knots indicated wind (masthead anemometer), and if I was willing to settle for two knots of speed (and I often am), I could probably keep her moving at that pace on most points of sail under working canvas in any but the lightest wind (perhaps I’m overstating the case; but given my experience so far I don’t think by much).

She is perfectly happy in heavyish weather provided she gets a reef in the main by around 20 knots wind or so. I’ve had her in the high twenties pushing thirty (apparent, indicated) under one reef and both head-sails (I’m not sure if they are the original sizes or not) and there was a fair amount of weather helm; but it wasn’t unmanageable or uncomfortable, although a second reef probably wouldn’t have been a bad idea. I haven’t explored the full range of capability yet (I JUST bought the boat); but I’m willing to bet that with the second (fairly deep) reef, 40 knots of wind will be somewhat anti-climatic (although the wave action that goes along with 40 knots might not be pleasant…I’m not rushing to find out). I find her quite stiff (a benefit of that rotund body, I suspect), dry, and comfortable throughout the twenties with probably three to four foot Chesapeake waves.

Under Power:

No trouble handling under power in forward. She will turn within her own length to port (edit: I THINK to port…My recollection is suddenly challenging that direction). In reverse I now understand all the full keel complaints. I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually; but I haven’t yet. I back into my slip; but I am using warping lines more than engine power at the moment. It’s a bit more work; but even single handed in a cross breeze I know I can get the boat in that way. I have watched some maestros under power, though, and I know it can be done with some more experience.

Cockpit and Deck:

The cockpit is deeper than I would like. It feels quite secure; but I need a huge cushion to sit high enough for good visibility (and I’m not a tiny man!). The seat coamings are practically vertical, the seat bottoms are too narrow, and the foot well area is so wide it is difficult to brace against the opposite seat. Happily, with the cushion I’m high enough I can see, and the boat is stiff enough that bracing isn’t as big a deal as it could be. But if each of the seats was a few inches wider, and the foot well was 6-8 inches narrower, and the back rest was angled a bit, the cockpit would be much more comfortable. Also I find it a little tricky to have one person at the tiller while another is tending the sheets as they both want to occupy the same space. This can be worked around, and with experimentation I am figuring it out; but some more thought here wouldn’t have been out of place. The cockpit also seems designed to hold a tremendous amount of water, with only two average size (1.5″ maybe? Less?) drains to let it all out. Hopefully if I’m ever out in conditions likely to flood the cockpit the cabin hatches are in, and the engine room hatch gasketing is more robust than it looks. Before serious contemplation of an
offshore trip I’d have to think long and hard about putting in more cockpit drainage. As deep as the cockpit is, boat handling would be a challenge with more than a couple people in it.

While we are in the cockpit, I’d also like to say that I am not a big fan of having halyards run aft.
Running the two head-sail halyards aft is pointless because I have roller furling (which is pretty nice, by the way). And the mains’l halyard is almost as pointless as the main seems to often get hung up on the lazyjacks going both up and down, which requires going to the mast to guide things along. While this is probably correctable either through a reconfiguration of the lazyjacks, or a change in technique on my part, what is not easily correctable is the reefing lines which are at the base of the boom. There is little point in trying to rig them to the cockpit as it is still necessary to be at the mast to get the reefing hook into the tack (although I suppose I could try and rig single line reefing…I’ll think about it). The outhaul and topping lift are also controlled at the mast. What the heck, they might as well have left the main halyard there too! I’ll think about it for the next year or so, I guess, and see if it bugs me enough to make changes. This is one of those things where the current setup appears ideal for the single hander, but I find it quite the opposite. It’s also a shame the boom wasn’t a few inches higher as this is a headache waiting to happen (a foot higher might permit standing headroom under the dodger and bimini)!

One other gripe, although this seems to also be common across most modern designs, is that one of the shroud chainplates on either side goes through the deck. The inner shrouds are attached to the house sides, and with that near vertical orientation they don’t seem to leak. The outer shrouds, though, poke a hole through the damn deck. Why? This is certainly NOT a racing boat, so a couple extra inches of sheeting angle won’t matter, especially since neither head sail extends aft of the mast. If Bayfield would have just moved the chainplates to the hull side I’m willing to bet that any water leakage, even with old caulking, would be minimal. As it is I’m going to need to caulk them up when I do my winter refit. The standing rigging will need to be replaced at some point, and I may consider moving those chain plates out at that time. I need to do research first, though, as there are likely to be unintended consequences.

The good news is the side decks are reasonably wide, the life lines are high enough to be safe, the foredeck feels secure, and the motion of the boat is quite comfortable.

The Cabin:

Moving on to the interior we have what is, in many ways, a brilliant layout. By eliminating the v-berth (which typically in small boats becomes a catch all junk room) we not only get rid of the least comfortable berth aboard, we suddenly have room for a remarkably spacious head for a small boat. It is quite comfortable. Forward of the head is a hanging/storage locker, and further forward a huge anchor locker. There is even a funny little cushioned seat in the head, which I haven’t been able to find a point to; but it looks pretty cool even if I’m unlikely to ever sit on it. With the head further forward, we open up the main cabin. There is a centerline table with fold up leafs. On the starboard side is a berth that pulls out into a double, with a regular settee on the port side. Aft further is a half bulkhead that separates the galley (starboard) and chart table (decently sized to port). Partitions slide up from the half bulkhead to really separate the main cabin from what I’m calling the “working” (galley/navigation) cabin if the need for privacy and separation would arise (for instance, on a passage with sleeping crew). Aft of both the galley and chart table are a pair of quarter berths, port (a little too short) and starboard (plenty long). Four opening portlights plus the hatch in the head allow for decent ventilation. I’m 5’10” tall and I have standing headroom throughout, barely, although I have bumped my head a few times walking through the door to the head. Stowage is quite reasonable (I’m still experimenting on how best to utilize it). Water tankage is fine for a week or so (25 or 30 gallons I’m guessing); but could probably stand to be increased for any extended trips, especially considering the waste associated with a pressure water system (there is currently no system implemented for non-pressure water, although this is on my to-do list). The interior is teak, which some people like (me, for one), and others find gloomy. Build quality seems generally very decent.

Brilliant or not, I have a couple gripes about the interior as well. Well, I have one BIG gripe. Once
again Ted Gozzard (or perhaps Bayfield yachts themselves) had an ergonomic brain fart. The settees, when in “couch” mode (that is, the seat backs are down), are too narrow, and it constantly feels like you are sitting on the edge of your seat. I guess this is OK for eating at the table; but not my cup of tea for just relaxing in the cabin. Raise the seat backs into bunk mode and they are as comfortable as any bunk I’ve personally been on. I have a few thoughts on how to make the settees more comfortable; but it will take a little experimentation. I’m going to try to avoid major surgery, or having to make new cushions ($$$); but I might not get away with that. Given that this boat will eventually be my home, though, the situation needs to be worked on a bit, and it deserves to have a few dollars thrown at it.

Ice melts fast in the ice-box. I think I’ll probably turn it into dry storage and pick up an Engle or
something (I’ll snug it down into the starboard quarter berth or something, I guess).


The engine is a Yanmar 2GM, is about thirteen horsepower (although I can not get it up to max continuous RPM of 3400, meaning I’m not getting all the ponies), and seems to push the boat along just fine. When the wind and seas are calm I am just about getting to hull speed at maybe 2800 RPM (indicated). When the wind and waves are well up, I’ve been held back to as little as four knots over the ground (the knotmeter is not giving realistic numbers, so I’m defaulting to GPS…it should be correct within a quarter to maybe half knot or so, I think) at my max achievable RPM of three thousand. A few extra horsepower when the wind is blowing would not be unwelcome; but I think I’m getting an adequate amount. I think twenty horse power would have been a better choice; but not nearly better enough to consider spending the money to repower. I haven’t figured out fuel consumption, yet; but it is modest. The standard alternator is 35 amps. Given the horsepower, I’m not sure if it is reasonable to go much bigger which might put a practical limit on battery capacity.

Engine access is terrific, both through a hatch in the cockpit (although I wonder what would happen if the cockpit got flooded) and by removing the companionway steps, through the cabin. My only complaint is that the oil dipstick is in an awkward location which discourages checking it daily; but that is part of the discipline. I had a cooling problem a few days ago, so I pulled the water pump off to check the impeller and replace the belts. It was easy. I haven’t done any other maintenance on it yet; but outside of changing the oil (I think the old oil is sucked up through the dipstick port with a pump), most everything looks pretty easy to handle. Since there isn’t an hour meter on the motor and I don’t know when any scheduled preventative maintenance was last done, I’m planning on doing pretty much everything on the scheduled maintenance list to effectively reset the clock to zero before hauling in a few weeks for the winter. I may put in an hour meter at some point to help keep track, too.

I have a pair of Group 24 deep cycle batteries, in two banks. I’d like to at least double my amp capacity. It is not immediately obvious the best way to shoe-horn in more batteries, although I have a couple ideas. A tape measure will be my best friend for awhile. Given the smallish alternator, solar charging will be a good idea.

Boat options:

Air-conditioning! It is probably twenty years old and blows cool, but not cold air. I’m going to see if I can fix this up. As a soon to be live-aboard I believe I will replace this unit if I can’t get it working better (might just need a charge, or perhaps a good cleaning). It does get hot here in the

Propane on demand hot water heater. It works, and generates scalding hot water. But it seems to take awhile to get going, and the water tanks are small enough that running the faucet while waiting for the hot water to show up seems like a terrible waste of fresh water. Taking a hot shower on a cool morning is pretty damn awesome, though! (Although there are pitfalls to showering aboard). I need to redo the propane lines (it’s a trust issue), so I may decide to get rid of the water heater. It will be kind of odd having a hot water faucet on each of the sinks without any hot water; but such is life. I can use my portable pump up sprayer for showers (it works well) by either solar heating the container or just boiling a pot of water.

Deck wash-down pump. The water around here is muddy. It’s very cool to be able to spray off the
chain and deck after raising anchor. Very cool.

Propane stove. I guess the Bayfields came with Origo alcohol stoves; but my 29 has a Kenyon two
burner propane job. I’m not a big foodie and I tend to cook simple meals, so this isn’t that big a deal to me. Gas is nice, though. Unfortunately, the stove is not gimballed (and it doesn’t have an oven, although that is of limited interest to me), and there is no easy way to install a permanent gimballed stove without doing major galley surgery and probably sacrificing the starboard quarter berth (which isn’t likely to get used much; but it might be important if it comes time to sell the boat down the road). I have a thought on how to inexpensively build a portable/removable gimballed stove sort of like the old Sea Cook stove, so when the time comes I’m sure I’ll be OK. There is currently a six pound propane tank hanging off the stern pulpit. Before doing any long distance cruising it might make sense
to get another.


While I have a few gripes, I find the boat meets my needs about as well, better really, as could be expected. There are always compromises; but in a sub-thirty foot live-aboard (take away the pulpit, it is probably closer to 27′) I don’t think I could ask for much more. I don’t know if many Bayfield 29s are out doing ocean crossings; but while the design might not be the best choice for a trip around the Horn, I don’t see any reason why she shouldn’t be perfectly capable and comfortable for seasonally appropriate passages providing some modest updating is done; although my experience in the matter is a bit limited.

She makes me smile when I look at her, and even though she looks a little tired at the moment, she gets a lot of compliments. She is thirty years old, and as is reasonably expected, her systems and cosmetics need some attention. Getting old sucks; but I don’t see any reason why “la Princesa” (I’m looking forward to the new name) can not be restored to full glory with a modest amount of elbow grease.

Feed from:

New boat?

I bought a new boat! Well, I’m in the process of doing so anyhow. I still need to do the survey and sea trial; but an offer was made and accepted on a Bayfield 29. I believe the same Bayfield 29 that mysteriously disappeared from the listings that I mentioned in the previous blog just as mysteriously returned. That was convenient because the Grampian 30 I was interested in was taken off the market by the owner.

The Bayfield is an interesting design. It has an attractive clipper bow, which means that its’ effective length on deck is probably around 27 feet instead of 29; but it has an interesting interior which makes up somewhat for the difference in length. The typical cramped v-berth has been completely eliminated, with the pointy bow area being filled instead with a large chain locker, storage locker, and very comfortable head (bathroom). Aft of the head is a centerline folding table with convertible settees on either side (the starboard settee converting into a double bunk while the port settee converts to a single). Aft of the settees is an L shaped galley on the starboard side with single sink, dual burner propane stove (not gimbaled, sadly), and plenty of storage. An ice box and chart table are on the port side. Matching quarter berths round out the interior. I’m happy with the stowage.

She is powered by a 13hp Yanmar diesel, is cutter rigged (two head-sails), has a shoal (3.5 foot) full keel, tiller steering, and most of the other things a decently equipped cruising boat should have.

She needs some work (of course); but she doesn’t appear to be too bad to my eye. The survey will almost certainly uncover untold horrors. I’m almost afraid to find out.

I’m thinking of a new name. I don’t think I want to sail around in La Princesa.

Feed from:

I wanna new boat!

No, there is nothing wrong with my current Seafarer. I still love the thing. But the more I think about moving aboard, the more certain I am that that is what I want to do, the more anxious I get to just get on with it. I did a little bit of math and I have figured out that I can pay off my 401(k) loan (used to purchase my rental property) right now, which would free up the account to buy the next boat.

The problem…I would have to dip into my Big Adventure funds to do it. I’m thinking, though, that I could consider that something of a loan, with a null result as I’m basically paying off myself, essentially moving the loan. And, I could perhaps immediately return the funds to the BA account if I decided to take out a couple thousand extra.  Hmmm….definitely worth considering. It’s time to break out the spreadsheets!

Anyhow, what is getting me is that I am seeing all sorts of decent sounding boats online. Lots of these could potentially work for me. Of course, what a boat looks like online, and what a boat looks like in person are not necessarily the same. But it would be nice to have the option to jump on a deal should one come along.

There are a lot of boats out there that I’m interested in; but two have grabbed my attention of late. I take that back…one of the two has apparently just been sold…you see my frustration?

 Anyhow, the last one that is currently holding my attention is a Grampian 30 centerboard model named Avocet. Click the name and you come to the boats current owner’s website, click here to see the sale listing (up when this post was written…it will quite likely disappear in the future). I’ve stolen a couple shots from the for sale page (hope the guy doesn’t mind) just in case the advert comes down.

Now, the Grampian 30 is a pretty roomy, pretty seaworthy, and not terrible looking boat; but not really designed as a world voyager, more of a coastal cruiser (like most of the boats in my price range). But, even so, this particular boat has done a fair amount of voyaging all over the Atlantic and Caribbean and is pretty well outfitted including a newish diesel engine, Cape Horn wind vane steering, solar panels, wind generator, refrigerator, upgraded (and reasonably recent) rigging, and who knows what else, and with the centerboard it gains the benefit of shallow draft (3’3″). This gear would represent a significant investment if upgrading another boat, quite likely coming close to this boat’s asking price of $15,000. Of course, there is a catch…I’ve yet to find anyone claim that the Grampian 30 is a stellar performer, especially to windward. But she can get the job done, clearly, because she has gotten the job done. I like the interior shots. I love the outfitting list. I love the shallow draft. It might be worth looking into. Especially if I can free up some money and actually purchase her if things look good.

If things don’t look good all is not lost. There are several Tartan 30s around that look like they might fit the bill, and some Sabre 28s that might be worth a gander. The Bayfield 29 had some really interesting features I wanted to check out, but I waited and it apparently is gone. Ah, well.

Feed from:

Looking forward…

It’s a funny thing. As I get closer to finishing the mods and improvements I’ve always envisioned to s/v Godot, I get much closer to buying the next boat.

Living aboard and fairly extensive travel is still the goal, and my valiant little Seafarer 24 is just too small. Believe me, this is causing me a fair amount of stress as I have grown to love my little boat in the years since I’ve owned her.

She (even modest little yachts like mine, are properly always girls) wasn’t always the diamond of my eye. It took quite awhile for my little boat to earn my love, as she just wasn’t what I really wanted  when I bought her. But with time, as we grew together and I put my blood, money, and sweat into her, I really began to appreciate her strong points and forgive her her superficial cosmetic issues that didn’t quite live up to my ideal. I’ve begun to trust her to look after me when things get just a little too unpleasant. I suppose that’s what love is, really, looking beyond the superficial to appreciate her heart and soul. And this boat has heart and soul. How am I going to sell her? Will a new owner love her as much as I’ve grown to? God, I hope so.

But I need to look to the future, and my baby just isn’t suited to what I hope to do. Why do I feel guilty? She is, after all, just a thing, a hunk of glass fiber and resin. Right? Why do I need to work so hard to convince myself?

Feed from:

Updated Considerations for the next sailboat

Blogs (or any journal/diary) can be like a time machine, taking a person back months or years. It can be real interesting looking at plans and such from a couple of years ago and match them up to reality. It can also be a shock to the system.

It’s been almost two years since I wrote Considerations for the next sailboat, and I’m a bit shocked and dismayed at how miserably I’ve missed my stated goals. All of them. Badly. Lots of things got in the way: divorce, economy, real estate market, etc… but I really thought I’d be further along rather than essentially in the same place. Well, the old plan didn’t work and a new (equally painful; but faster) plan is now in place. I have rethought some things.

First, I’m not so sure I’m going to be replacing my Seafarer 24 Godot (though I’m still thinking of renaming her). She’s small, cramped, a little homely looking. But she’s also paid off. I really would like to be taking off in a couple of years, and any money I spend on a new boat just delays further that trip.

That said, a new (to me) boat is still a possibility, especially given the current buyers market. My criteria has changed, though.

  • My desired length has shrunk… Figure 27-30′. This puts me back in sailfar territory, a place I probably belong.
  • Light air performance and shoal (under 5′ in this case) draft is still important as is reasonable seaworthiness.
  • Purchase price plus simple outfitting under $12,000 is desirable. Way under even better. I’ve read lots of promising advertisements; but I’m not sure what the reality is. If it costs much more than this, then I’d be better off staying with my current little boat. I do not want to delay departure too long paying for the damn thing!
  • Heat still matters. If I have to deal with a small electric space heater in the winter, I’ll deal with a small electric space heater. Electric heat ties me to the dock, of course; but when I’m ready to go I expect to be using the Latitude heater. That is, moving south. Fast.
  • Chart table? Bah. Who needs it.
  • Gimbaled stove? Oven? Whatever the boat has will be fine. I’ll use a small backpacking stove if I need to. Not a priority.
  • Screw the shower. I’ll shore-side it, sponge bath it, solar shower it, or figure something else out. Not a consideration.
  • A wet locker near the companionway would still be nice. Real nice. I don’t expect to find one on this size boat, though. Screw it. I’ll deal.
  • An enclosed head is necessary on a new boat. If I don’t get this little piece of comfort, there really is no point in changing from Godot. I’ll deal with what ever head system is installed. Or I’ll put in a composting toilet.
  • I still don’t care about electronics. They are nice, but I will happily buy a cheap handheld GPS and VHF if I need to. I still need 110v AC for running a heater, the laptop, and charging the batteries. I can handle installing that, though.
  • A dodger is probably the single biggest improvement I could make to any boat (either my current seafarer, or a theoretical future sailboat) for comfort. It’s on the list.
  • If I have to sleep in the main cabin, I’ll sleep in the main cabin. I no longer care if I have a separate sleeping compartment. I no longer care if there is a double bunk. I no longer care if there is a dinette.

Well, my selection criteria just got a LOT simpler. Shallow draft. Reasonable seaworthiness. An enclosed head. Cheap. Dodger. Surely I can find something that meets those needs. If not, I’ll go with what I have. Who needs the other junk.

Current favorites:

  • Bristol 27
  • Several of the 26-30′ Cals
  • Tartan 28

Feed from:

Considerations for the next sailboat

I am broke. Poor. Fighting the cat for what food scraps I can find in my almost empty pantry (perhaps I exaggerate … slightly). But, barring another major financial disaster (knocking on a nice hunk of varnished oak), I should hopefully find myself in much, much, much better financial shape in six months or so (I know I said that six months ago … but my wife going crazy put me behind schedule a bit). The plan is to cut expenses, buy a new boat to live aboard, and eventually do some cruising for a few months to a few years. Things are quiet in my life at the moment, so I thought I’d do some thinking “out loud.”

Consideration number one is that I am not seriously heading over the horizon for a few years, and in the meantime will be using the boat as a “living” home, as opposed to a “cruising” home. I’ll be living aboard to avoid the ugly home mortgage bill (I really don’t need a four bedroom home) including the $12,000/year in interest, the $4000/year in taxes, not to mention insurance and utilities. An extra $16,000? That will help settle things down. Plus, I just WANT to. What this means is that I need to have enough room for shore-side/work gear to live and to, hopefully, occasionally entertain guests while still keeping the boat in sailing trim.

Consideration number two is that I do plan on seriously heading over the horizon IN a few years (and maybe the Bahamas, via the offshore route, NEXT year if things come together fast enough). That means seaworthiness. Something that a reasonably prudent sailor would consider for a trip to Bermuda would be a good place to start. I’m probably not going around Cape Horn; but crossing the Atlantic someday is a possibility.

Consideration number three is that I will likely be doing most of my sailing for the next few years on Chesapeake Bay, which means that light air performance and draft are considerations.

Consideration number four is that I don’t want to replace a house mortgage with a large boat mortgage (assuming I could even get one in today’s market). Freedom is the goal, here. I don’t want to be permanently tied to a job and bank.

Consideration number five is that while I would like to have company on occasion, or better yet a long term companion, I have learned that I need to be prepared to handle everything on my own. It is impossible to count on anyone, long term. My dreams are my responsibility. The max boat size and complexity needs to take that into consideration.

Consideration number six is that I will be living aboard in Maryland (quite probably either Middle River or Annapolis) for awhile; but could conceivably end up in New England at some point. Both cold weather and hot weather need to be considered.

Happily, I am a reasonably simple man with simple tastes. I don’t tend to buy stuff for stuff’s sake. I tend to use things until they fall apart on me. I’ve lived quite happily in the past in a very small studio apartment. I’m certain I can do it on a small sailboat.

So, with the above considerations in mind, and based on my experience with my Seafarer 24 and sailing in other peoples boats, I’m starting with the following criteria…

The size will probably be in the 29-34 foot range. This could take me somewhat out of Sailfar territory; but as far as boats go it is still pretty small. If I was just cruising and not planning to live-aboard dockside for a few years I would consider smaller.

Since I’m currently sailing on the Chesapeake, I would really like to keep the draft below five feet. Nothing over six feet will be seriously considered. Heavy, slow lead sleds, while great offshore, and generally comfortable below, lose points (but aren’t automatically disqualified) because of the light air we typically get here in Summer.

It gets cold here. I was really impressed with the diesel heater on Auspicious (much appreciated on the January Bahamas to Annapolis Beaufort trip), and will probably use something similar (I’m expecting to have to install it myself … bonus points if heat is already installed). If I’m shooting for diesel heat, a diesel engine makes sense. A diesel also makes sense for fuel economy. I will consider repowering; but I would expect that to cost between $7-10,000, so will have to take asking price into consideration.

A permanent chart table to use as a desk is very desirable. I would like to keep working space/living space/sleeping space as separate as possible (difficult in such a small space). I spend a lot of time on the computer (both for work and pleasure). It is best if it has a permanent usable home. Oddly, if I’m actually doing navigation (with good old fashioned paper charts, I mean), I’d probably be content to spread the charts out on the cabin table.

A gimbaled stove with oven would sure be nice. I will survive if it has a built in Origo or something (I would have to have add a Seaswing or equivalent for cooking while underway); but given the choice… Propane is convienient and available, but care needs to be taken to avoid leaks and the Boom Factor. Alcohol (the non-pressurized kind) is pretty safe; but not terribly hot and rather expensive per gallon, and reportedly hard to find in exotic and desireable cruising grounds. However, even if alcohol is expensive, if the boat already has an Origo stove, I suspect it would take a very long time for the extra cost of the fuel to meet the expense of putting in a new propane system. It sure would be nice to have an oven, though.

I’d prefer to have a dinette. For a live-aboard it just seems to make sense. Not a deal breaker, though.

I’m not thrilled with showering on a small boat due to the moisture (it’s unlikely that much in this size range will have a separate shower stall); however some facilities for occasional use are very desirable. Marina or health club showers might not always be practical.

How does one handle wet foulies in a small boat without getting everything inside drenched? Wet lockers or aft heads located near the companionway get major bonus points as a way to deal with this problem; but they appear to be rather rare in this size range.

I want a permanent place to sleep that isn’t in the main cabin. A v-berth, if comfortable and if I can keep it from being a catch all, is fine. As is a quarter berth, if not too cramped. Regardless, I do hope to have the pleasure of occasional female company, so a good double berth (even if I have to occasionally convert a dinette or something) needs to be available. Some boat companies are a bit optimistic with what they call a double. It needs to be usable.

For the sake of potential guests, the head needs to be enclosed. And it needs to have at least enough holding capacity for two people for a week (10 gallons? 20?). Bonus if it has a Y-valve for overboard discharge. If the boat for some reason has just a porta-potti, I might consider using an Air-Head or Natures-Head composting dry toilet.

I cannot over estimate the value of a good dodger. If the boat doesn’t have one, the cost of installing one needs to be factored into the price.

MINOR refurbishment needed is acceptable. However, I am not looking to do a major refit. One necessary major project is probably OK. Minor cosmetic stuff isn’t a problem. If I need to rewire, re-rig, re-power, re-core and repaint… too much. I should be able to move on-board within a month or two after purchase. And it should be reasonably comfortable and attractive when I do. Not necessarily new looking. But comfortable.

Electronics are a bonus. I like wind instruments. I can live without them. I like chart plotters. I can live without them. Same for RADAR. I need an autopilot; but I can install that later. A VHF is necessary; but I have no problem installing that myself. There should be 12v and 110v power in several places in the boat.

PRESSURE hot and cold water is VERY desirable. Remember, I’ll be living dockside for awhile. A foot pump for when it’s time to go sailing is just fine. Decent cold storage (given dockside living, preferably a fridge of some type), and enough counter space to prepare at least a simple meal (I don’t often cook fancy meals) is important.

And finally PRICE matters. I’ve been struggling with this one; but I think I can afford $25,000 (with major systems being in decent shape) without messing up my plans too much. I’ll go a little higher for a boat in very good condition. Theoretically I can afford more; but I want the boat paid off quickly (it will probably be financed with the money I receive from selling my rental … whatever doesn’t go into the boat, pays off debts. I want to be debt free quickly). Minor upgrades aren’t part of that cost (I’d expect maybe $10-12,000 in upgrades over three years). Major upgrades should be. All things considered, cheaper is better, of course.

Early favorites with good availability (there are lots of boats with only one or two examples available … I’m not going to list them all):

  • Pearson 323 – current favorite
  • Bristol 29.9 – Last months favorite
  • Cal 31 – Reportedly fast. Capt. Woody circumnavigated in one, I believe. sadly, no permanent sit down chart table, and hatches really too large to be ideal for offshore work, although they’d be great for the Bay.
  • S2 9.2 – The center cockpit version looks particularly interesting for a liveaboard; but I’m not sure I like the look. It has a rare separate shower stall and, dare I say it, a tub of sorts.

This is not an all inclusive list. Just my current favorites. Next month’s list may look very different.

Feed from: