Table of Contents

  1. Buying a Boat
    1. Online Resources
    2. Offline Resources
  2. 8-Step Game Plan
  3. Our Answers and Stories

Buying a Boat

Buying a boat can be overwhelming. During the past few months, we have received a lot of questions about the boat buying process. While we are by no means experts, we are happy to be transparent about our process and how we did our research. Part of this was pulling together resources that were helpful to us. Below you’ll see a list of online and offline resources.

As future boat owners, we also asked ourselves some questions. Some of these will be asked by brokers if you choose to go through one. These questions will help you crystalize your sailing plans, just as it had for us.

Finally, we wanted to provide a centralized place for you to read about our journey of buying a boat. Hope this is helpful to you.

Online Resources

Here are a few websites we referred to when we started shopping for boats.

Marketplaces: Boat Trader, Boats, Yacht World

Boat Shows: Boot, Annapolis, calendar of others around the world

Magazines: Cruising World, Latitude 38, Passagemaker, Sail, Sailing, Sailing Today, WindCheck, Yachting World

Offshore Training & Expeditions: Mahina Expedition, John Kretschmer, Ocean Sailing Podcast

Cruising Costs: Catamarans include - Leopard 46, Fountaine Pajot Helia 44, Leopard 43, Monohulls include - Amel Super Maramu 52, Catalina Morgan 45, Tayana 42, 36 ferro-cement gaff ketch

Other: Cruisers Forum, Sailing Anarchy, Sailing Schooners

Offline Resources

Here are a list of books we found invaluable. All of the links below do not have affiliate marketing. We provide the links merely for your convenience.

Calder’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual Link to Amazon

Chapman Piloting & Seamanship Link to Amazon

Cornell’s World Voyager Planner Link to Amazon

Leonard’s Voyagers Handbook Link to Amazon

Spurr’s Guide to Upgrading Your Cruising Sailboat Link to Amazon

8-Step Game Plan

We know that buying a boat can be overwhelming. Follow these 8 steps and come up with a game plan that answers as much as you can before you make an offer on a boat. This will be an iterative process as you narrow down your preferences, especially if it involves your significant other.

  1. What kind of sailing do you want to do?
    • racing vs cruising
    • coastal vs offshore
    • tropical zones vs high latitude
  2. How often do you want to sail?
    • every weekend & 2-week vacations per season
    • 6-months on / 6-months off
    • year-round
  3. Establish a budget. Think of total boat ownership that would include:
    • Initial purchase plus upgrades/refitting for your needs
    • On-going cost of repairs and maintenance
  4. How do you want to fund your sailing adventure?
    • Work as you go
    • Rental income or dividend stream from investments
    • Savings, 401K, Pension
  5. How long do you want to sail?
    • Most cruisers sail for 2 years or less
    • Consider your current and likely future health status
    • Reference your budget and sources of funding
  6. What stage of life are you in?
    • Pre-career - limited resources
    • Mid-career / Hiatus - 2-5 years before returning back to shore life
    • Retirement - comfortably funded (note: can age-out due to health reasons)
  7. Figure out what’s important to you
    • Speed vs comfort
    • Size of your crew
    • Accommodations for visitors (family & friends)
  8. Know what you’re getting into
    • Charter similar boats
    • Crew on offshore passages
    • Learn boat systems
    • Consider impact on your relationships
    • Sailing ability (both strength and confidence)

Our Answers and Stories

As mentioned above, we derived these answers for ourselves through an iterative process. A bit of trial and error. Wandering down some goat-paths based on an initial assumption. In the end, you’ll find your way to what feels right for you… just as we did.

  1. The type of sailing we want to do was offshore cruising, both in the tropics (horse latitudes) and high latitude (40-50 degrees north and south of the equator). Refer to John Neal’s online resource for the implication of this choice.
  2. We wanted to sail year-round, which meant finding a large enough live-aboard cruiser. The range we considered is 40 to 50 feet LOA.
  3. Our budget is roughly USD $300K. Our on-going boat repair & maintenance costs is budgeted at USD $25K per year. This excludes costs for provisioning, travel to/from home to visit family, entertainment/sightseeing, health insurance, etc.
  4. We are largely funding this sailing adventure with our savings while we look for opportunities to generate additional income streams. Our hope is to find jobs that we are passionate about rather than rely on our first mountain skillsets.
  5. The current timeline is to sail around the world for the next 5-10 years, and to be able to immerse ourselves in each destination for 2-3 months.
  6. Some may argue we are mid-career. We like to think we are in early retirement and looking for encore careers. Potato, po-tah-to.
  7. First and foremost is safety, comfort and then speed. We think we found the perfect vessel that balances these requirements.
  8. We have done some legwork already, but we know we have a long ways to go, especially as it relates to learning to sail a 2-masted schooner.

Here are each of the stories we wrote on our process around buying a boat.

If you would like to delve deeper into our adventure as it unfolds, please consider joining the Serenade Wind Crew. Our sister site provides more information on what it means to be part of the crew, unlock the pirate’s booty, and receive other exclusive access and benefits.The first 50 members have a gift waiting.