Sunday, September 24, 2006

Chosing the right cruising boat

<===Allied Mistress 39


Considering I will be spending 3 years or more on this boat and that it is my primary defense against drowning for those three years, I want to make the right decision. I've spent a ton of time researching boats on the internet trying to make a shortlist of those that seem to best fit my needs. In a nut shell, that means she is less than 40 feet, modified full keel, fiberglass, and show consistent maintenance all under 50 - 60K. Needless to say, this does not return a whole lot of boats. It's been likened to hunting for a needle in a haystack.

I've been trying to take a few hours here and there while I travel to the west coast for work to look at boats. While this has helped me get a much better appreciation for what is available out there, it is also somewhat frustrating. I've not viewed a boat yet that was realistically depicted in its ad. I am hoping that the broker I am working with now in Texas can help me cut the list down to those that fit the bill. The title link goes to one of the boats at the top of the list. There is also an Alberg 37 in Kemah that looks promising.



Alberg 37 ====>

I've been running through the numbers for the boat purchase should I find "the one". I figure $1000 for the haul out and inspection, $7,500 for the down payment; $150/month for insurance, ~ $500/month for slip fees, ~ $500/month for the boat loan. This adds up quick. I am still looking at the pros and cons of buying the boat outright. I am leaning towards financing so that the interest gained from the cruising kitty can at least offset between 200 & 400 per month of the expenses. Roughly a break even with the loan, but I still have the money in my bank for emergencies.

Transport cost is another concern. Originally I wanted a boat on the west coast as it made more sense with the amount of time I spend in CA for work. However, I can't, or I should say, haven't been able to find a suitable boat out there. That means there will be some added expense for travel back and forth from New Mexico to Houston. Or, I could have the boat hauled out and transported over ground for between 5 – 10K. Yeah, I still live in a desert and am planning a circumnavigation. Go figure.

Insurance is another problem. With the hurricanes in the news the past year or two, no one can pretend the Gulf Coast is safe. The problem arises in that with a boat loan, insurance is required. I can probably swing a basic policy for the first year, but once we start cruising insurance goes through the roof. I don't like the idea of sailing around the world in an uninsured boat, but there may not be a great solution to this problem. Obviously, there are about a million variables to work through still.

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