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Old 08-02-2019, 06:08 PM   #1
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Question Sorting Through All The Info!

This forum of questions and answers is a continual education on boats for us as we delve into the boat world in the possibility of making a purchase in the near future. So much valuable info. and everyone has their own preferences and dislikes!
We want to live aboard for at least a year or two to try it out in fairly comfortable surroundings down south during our winter(s) and in the north during our summers. We are in our mid 70's and on our bucket list is doing "The Loop".

We raised our family and our 5 Grdkds.(the youngest turned 18 today) are in university and two are apprenticing, if we are ever going to do it, now is the time.
We are able to afford a boat in a price range of up to $3 hundred-thousand.

We are confused about what would be a good purchase based on:
The best manufacturer, best engines, hull type, comfort, handling and a variety of other factors..... disregarding our personal preferences which to be honest at this point we also don't really know!

Is there a chart or guide of any type that compares boat manufacturers, engine types, displacement styles, good and not so good features, reviews, etc., that one could look at to sort through to at least get to a level where a potential purchaser is able to narrow it down to one or two manufacturers/engines/fuel economy/history of defects, etc. and then able to look at boats with these best features for sale or am I wishful thinking?
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Old 08-02-2019, 06:41 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. There is no objective standard as to which boat brand is best or worse. I would sit down and make up a list as to what your must haves and want to haves are. Then cruise Yachtworld and just look at lots of boats. There is a boat search 101 thread on TF. You need to actually get on as many boats as you can. Things like Trawler Fests and AGLCA get togethers. MTOA has Rendezvous that lots of members bring boats to. Walk some marinas and talk to people. You will probably get invited aboard to take a peek at some boats. I am inviting people aboard all the time to see our boat. Have you taken some boating classes? I would not be especially concerned about which boat is best, rather I would be concerned about which boat is best for your needs.
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Old 08-02-2019, 06:43 PM   #3
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I am in awe of you and your wife or husband for what you've accomplished and what you plan to do. I hope that we're still as active and adventurous as you two when we're your age.

I haven't seen the comparisons you've asked for, but I'm sure there are comparisons out there. Your budget is ample to buy a boat that does what you've described. What you choose to spend it on depends on a lot of factors. Get on boats at boat shows or however you can and find what you like, don't like, which include the features you think you need, and those that come with features that are not so desirable. Once you have some experience, certain boats, boat manufacturers, boat styles/sizes will begin to stand out. If you're in a hurry, establish a relationship with a good buyer's broker and have that person find a number of boats that fit your needs for you to view. (I think doing it yourself is more fun and productive, but others will say otherwise.)

Good luck with your search and let us know what you're looking at!
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:35 PM   #4
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Good luck on your hunt! When the boat speaks to you, you’ll know. But get on as many as you can then sit down together and discuss what you both like and dislike. Sure there will be compromises, but you’ll find the one, or it will find you!

Cheers!
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:48 PM   #5
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LorM,

What do you see/imagine doing on/with the boat? Verbalize/text that.

For example, long distance cruising, family get togethers, weekending, liveaboard, etc.

Walk the docks and talk to some owners too.

Your voyage has just begun!
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Old 08-02-2019, 11:55 PM   #6
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Yeah, sure, youbetcha with looking at a lot of layouts. You might even charter a couple of layouts that you are liking. On our ten year search we kept coming back to one style. Things like a cockpit deck close to dock height. I don’t want to carry a set of steps to get on and off of a flush deck aft cabin. Upper an lower helms, a walk along the side master, both a comfortable hull speed and the ability to move at a faster rate when I want to. Command bridge access was an absolute concern. The Admiral nixed a tri cabin layout, wanted good storage, command bridge access more like steps, lots of windows and entertainment space and privacy for having guests aboard.
I showed her lots of boats, lots of styles and lots of prices. After lots of frustration of coming back to a 38xx Bayliner and having the ladder be a show stopper, I got out my sketchbook and after several hours of measurements figured out how to repitch the ladder from near vertical to just less angle than the average stepladder and about the same as the molded in stairs on many of the newer boats. I also had to maintain access to the port lazerette. Once I had that planned it was only a matter of finding the right boat at the right price, and that only took a week.
We’ve had our 1988 3818 Bayliner for three years and are enjoying it thoroughly. It’s not the most expensive boat in any harbor, but I’ve never felt the need to try to impress others by the amount of money I can spend on something. I’ve also seen some really expensive boats that I’ve been less than impressed with for my personal use. Okay for them, not so much for us.
Point is, just like your home or where you shop, do what fills the mission, is right and comfortable for you and enjoy.
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Old 08-03-2019, 05:46 AM   #7
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"The best manufacturer, best engines, hull type, comfort, handling and a variety of other factors..... disregarding our personal preferences which to be honest at this point we also don't really know! "

Bestitis is a Disease,,,,everyone has a different opinion of best.

My opinion ,you want a boat that will not require constant repair to keep enjoying , maint like fresh oil is normal, rebuilding the decks and PH , no way desirable.

You should also try for a "Zero Round Trip".

A boat that can be sold for about what you paid for it .

This is more likely to be a motor yacht about 28-35 ft , built in huge numbers , more likely with a gas engine to lower service coats.

Look at a 30ft Bayliner , work from there.
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Old 08-03-2019, 06:40 AM   #8
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You're not going to buy new at that price. Boats require maintenance and usually you have upgrades to do. I would recommend spending $200K to $250K with the anticipation of spending the balance in the first year or 2 to square it away.

As others have mentioned, you need to get on some boats, even if you can't afford them, to see how small you will be comfortable with. Sort of like buying a house. The other part to consider is annual budget. Boats consume a lot of money even if they're just sitting at the dock. Bigger boats consume more, generally.

If the Loop is on your list, draft may be a factor if going to do the Canadian canals. In general, I would focus on a maximum of 5', less is much better. Air draft (bridge clearance) is also important. The maximum is 19' and a little. 15' will allow you to go on all the routes. In your price range, I don't think length will be an issue.

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Old 08-03-2019, 07:00 AM   #9
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This has been posted many times before by me (including yesterday on another thread) and others: The very best money we ever spent in boating was chartering various boats in various places all over the USA. If you don't have cruising boat experience, then many charter companies provide training captains, and there are independent schools like SeaSense.

All this will

1) help you determine if the cruising life is really for you
2) what you need/want in a boat that you will be living aboard and cruising full time
3) where you really want to do all that and perhaps most importantly
4) get you out on the water NOW, and expose you to other cruisers in the real world.
5) if you do make the leap, you will be infinitely better prepared, which makes it all that much more fun.

It's a fun journey, so enjoy!
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Old 08-03-2019, 07:19 AM   #10
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Isn't there a boat broker here on the forums (or one that's recommended) that's known for handling Loop boats? Boats sold to folks doing the Loop and then often re-sold by the same broker when they're done? That might be a good place to start, talk with a knowledgeable broker about what sort of of boats are available, what's in your price range, and known pros/cons with them.

You can do the loop in just about anything. Whether or not you (and your wife) like being aboard something is the more important question. The cruising life depends on how well both of you are going to handle being on any particular boat, together.

It's been my experience that nothing replaces actually getting onto different boats. Traveling to attend a boat show with a good inventory of boats is WELL worth the time/money. This lets you walk around, see sightlines from helm stations, sit on furniture and imagine how passing the time would go, etc. What looks great in pictures often turns out to be quite different in person.
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Old 08-03-2019, 07:24 AM   #11
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Welcome aboard! I suggest a copy of the McKnew Guide to Motor Yachts & Trawlers. A 2006 edition is available on Amazon. A 2019 edition costs $$$. This will at least give you a broad survey of trawlers. Be sure to have "Trawlers" in the title. Don't buy the Powerboat Guide. Buy used, of course. A great feature is it has a section on high & low prices for a range of years for each make.

You might also shop YachtWorld for pictures, details, etc., of boats you become interested in. Of course, this forum is valuable when you have questions that arise from the above. Others, here, can refer you to books re: the Loop. There's a host of literature out there, plus YouTube videos when your needs become more defined. Some armchair reading can do wonders for your beginning search.
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Old 08-04-2019, 12:05 PM   #12
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Thank you everyone for all your input.

I will qualify some points.
I wrote the original question with my wife's input.
In reference to Bill Kearney"s concern about our ability to live aboard together is well noted. We do have 53 years under our belt so far, giving us lots of practice.

Reading all your messages the main theme coming through is to go see boats and find out what we really like as well as look at sites listing all types of boats to view the differences.
We have been looking at boat sales on several sites and trying to pick out what specific features each wants. We are listing some specifics and will continue to do so.
We may get to a point where all our wants put together do not come with any boat available. If we do get to that point I guess you pick the boat that has the most wanted aspects.
Pcpete has listed a number of items we have discussed and would put on our want list immediately!

We will probably be back with specific questions as we become more educated.

Again, many thanks for all your sound advice.
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Old 08-04-2019, 01:42 PM   #13
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LorMur, what is your experience in boating, jointly and individually?
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:02 PM   #14
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Thank you for your question caltexflanc.

Synopsis:
I spent my teenage years in the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets up to the age of 18. I was taught seamanship, some navigation, how to sail a dinghy and a whaler (mizzen rigged), morse and semaphore(which I have mainly forgotten) knots and general naval subjects.

As well, when 17/18 I was fortunate enough to train on a training minesweeper on several Great Lake cruises in the summer, including being caught in the tail end of a hurricane.
I became very interested in not only being on the helm, but the equipment in the engine/generator rooms where I got experience working on dual straight 8, 500 H.P. GM diesels and GM 6-71 auxiliary diesels.......again long ago in the 60's. The ship was built in 1942.

When I finished high school I was selected for officers training school in HMCS Venture, Esquimalt, B.C.; thus entering the RCN and receiving more sea training. I then decided to specialize in mechanical engineering and attended Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) in Toronto and started my career after Ryerson with my new wife and our 1st. son...... and not a pot to pee in.

I started three businesses during my career, two manufacturing in which I designed the majority of equipment and also worked for several large corporations designing equipment and setting up plants.

During the 70's I was recruited back into the reserves to revitalize a Sea Cadet Corp that was in serious need of more recruits and ended up being the first corp in Ontario and probably Canada to enrol girls against all precedents. From these endeavours I went on to establish a band and colour guard, build our own naval cannon for jack-stay transfer displays and community parades. My short term service I envisioned turned into my being in command for 8 years, retiring as a Lt.(N).
Many young people were trained in the naval subjects I was taught and able to pass on and they went on to careers in our navy. I even had one young lady cadet go on to become the CO of our old corp.
I paid back what I was given and thankful for at the age of 14.

During the raising of our family we rented and cruised on 40 ft. houseboats in the 80's on the Trent-Severn System.... my most recent boating experience!
This is also the extent of my wife's boating experience, except she has had to put up with a navy buff all these years!
She does know bow from the stern, what a head, deck and bulkhead are and many other necessary nautical terms and features.

I use to teach cadets port from starboard by using the question " Is there any red port left?", this indicated the left side is called port and the colour assigned to maps and buoys is red and they're also all short words as "right, green and starboard" signifying the right side is green and called starboard are the long words.
Pretty simple but effective if you have never been to sea.

We have no illusions! We would pay for training at such time we purchase a boat and would continue being educated until we felt comfortable and confident enough to go solo.

If I've been long winded or come across pretentious I apologize. Just trying to provide a good picture of where we are in relation to boating as per the question asked.
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:42 PM   #15
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Red port left I like that! That thought me something new!

All I can say the best boat will be functional to you two. Repetitive movements as well as engine room clearance if you plan to service it yourself with what you know.
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:57 PM   #16
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Thanks for the detailed response LorMur. I have to say it reinforces my opinion that the best (and by far the funnest) course of action is to do some charters with instructing captains, then just the two of you... and on different kinds of boats in different places. I say this having witnessed first hand many cruising couple failures, and successes.
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Old 08-05-2019, 08:37 PM   #17
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As we digest all the comments and suggestions we have received, the question came from our family on how safe it would be cruising in the States. In addition the question arose whether we would need some type of firearm for self-protection etc. Our firearm laws in Canada are very strict and having to carry a weapon is not the most appealing to us.

Our family and friends are very turned off with the extreme amount of violence taking place (as we are also) and although we have had some incidents in Canada, we are wondering what the opinions are about safety while cruising and living onboard.

Do most American boat owners carry firearms on their boats because of necessity or because that is your right under your 2nd. Amendment?

Are you aware of Canadian boaters carrying guns when they are in the USA?
They certainly cannot in Canada unless they have a very special permit which is difficult to obtain.
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Old 08-05-2019, 09:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LorMur View Post
As we digest all the comments and suggestions we have received, the question came from our family on how safe it would be cruising in the States. In addition the question arose whether we would need some type of firearm for self-protection etc. Our firearm laws in Canada are very strict and having to carry a weapon is not the most appealing to us.

Our family and friends are very turned off with the extreme amount of violence taking place (as we are also) and although we have had some incidents in Canada, we are wondering what the opinions are about safety while cruising and living onboard.

Do most American boat owners carry firearms on their boats because of necessity or because that is your right under your 2nd. Amendment?

Are you aware of Canadian boaters carrying guns when they are in the USA?
They certainly cannot in Canada unless they have a very special permit which is difficult to obtain.
Been cruising between Ontario and the Bahamas for 30yrs and never felt the need of a gun or any other weapon in US waters. Don't confuse the American people with their politicians (and hope they don't confuse us with ours). You will find no more friendly, helpfull people on the planet (south Florida excepted) than the citizens on the east coast of the USA.
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:11 AM   #19
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"We may get to a point where all our wants put together do not come with any boat available. If we do get to that point I guess you pick the boat that has the most wanted aspects. "

Welcome aboard TF
My comment to others in similar situation has always been for both parties involved (spouse, SO, etc) to develop their own lists separately. But first define what you anticipate will be your style of boating... duration, on the hook / off the grid vs marina hopping, guests / no guests, etc

Break it down into Musts, Wants, & Don't Want. Then compare, combine and compromise where necessary (most often just do it her way!)

Then go look and talk to other boaters.
Be sure to ask about their style of cruising and what they like about their boat that satisfies their style, what they dislike or would change if possible.

Every boat is the "best" for someone but never everyone. The challenge is to define & find the best for your combined needs.
If possible find and join a local Sail & Power Squadron and take some courses together even if it's a refresher. Your not only will learn something you will expand your network of contacts with similar interests.
Good luck w the search and subsequent adventures.
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Old 08-09-2019, 04:19 PM   #20
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I agree with boatpoker. I have been travelling up and down the ICW from Ontario for the last 17 years, as well as all over the Bahamas and Florida Keys. I have never once even thought of the need for a firearm.

The people along the eastern seaboard of USA are the salt of the earth. I could fill pages here with the kind acts people have done for me. I'm sure it will be the same along anywhere we travel by water including Florida.

Load up your boat young man, and head south for the winter. !! Been doing it for years and look forward to mid-September almost every year.
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