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

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