As a yacht broker I would run into them every day, that guy wanting a 50k boat for free. I doubt a single week has passed since starting this blog over a dozen years ago without getting an email asking how to buy a boat. I would never say that I’m a great sailor but my collective sea miles are enough to wrap the planet earth a few times. You can’t spend that much time at sea without learning a thing or two or forming some pretty strong opinions.
There are many types of sailors out there. I think the armchair sailor is the wisest of all. Their passion for the sea, boats and all things sailing is as strong as all of ours. Enthusiasm garnered by years of reading sailing books, sailing blogs and sailing forums these sailors all have their fantasies met through others and often find as much or even more enjoyment as the reality of boat ownership will never be their burden.
Another type is the doer, they just went out and did it, let’s face it, boats arent. rocket science. Anything can be fixed or replaced if you throw enough money and time at it, San Juan Sufficiency is a classic example and Chris has literally written a book through his blog on it. He wasn’t just financially challenged when he bought his boat, he was in deficit. He is a get your hands dirty and fix things type of guy, let’s face most new by boat owners are not which would explain the boat yards of shattered dreams littered across America.
I’ve done everything from building boats from a pile of glass and buckets of resin to complete bottom up resterations. You will find these guys in every boat yard across the country doing an endless boat yard rebuild, for them it’s about the process not about the boat and many if not most will never use their boat for its intended porpoise. I remember working in the boatyard one day when a girl pulled in to take ownership of her Cal 25 that she had owned for a week, it was a train wreck and she had half a dozen guys tripping all over them selfs trying to get a piece of the pie all giving really bad advice and all claiming they were pro’s. A year later that boat was still in the yard with a for sale sign never having touched the water, it simply was too much for her limited skills not to mention all the damage done by her would be suitors.
When it comes to buying your first boat it’s easy. Figure out your budget and I can assure you the purchase price will be the smallest denomination you will spend in the process. Figure out your intended purpose, don’t buy a Catalina 30 as a trailer sailor or w Catalina 22 as a winter live aboard. Look at a thousand boats while sailing on every type imaginable in the process and then buy the one you fancy. It won’t be perfect but it will be yours to have and to hold till death do you part. No boat is perfect, not even a new one. I’ve owned more than a dozen boats and sailed on over a thousand over the years, I love them all but only one fits my life, figure out what you need but more importantly where you need that boat as they are expensive to ship, then buy the damn boat.
That year you spent agonizing over finding the perfect boat would have been better spent sailing your kinda perfect boat. One thing you are more than likely to learn after a year of sailing that dresm boat is that it’s the exact opposite of what you thought you needed because you let someone else guide you into the dreams they never fulfilled. If you really want a sailboat, can afford not only the money but the time then just do it, what could you possibly have to lose.