Boat Reviews

The more we look at sailboats, the more we narrow down our field of interest and this is a good thing. Buying a boat is a big decision emotionally, functionally, and financially. Sure, we know the saying that ‘it’s not about the boat’, but on some level it IS about the boat since making a poor choice is going to compromise the experience of sailing and living on that boat. The reason we don’t want to sail Moonrise down the coast of Chile is the same reason people shouldn’t take a small Toyota Corolla off-roading. Sure, maybe it will make it, but the ride won’t be pleasant, and it’s likely to create hardship of one kind or another.

We know that every boat is a carefully orchestrated system of choices made by the designer and by the boat’s previous owners. The common wisdom says that ‘every boat is a compromise’. Tell me what area in life is NOT a compromise? So, true enough. The goal is to find the compromise that works best for us. That being said here is a general description of what we’re looking for. We reserve the right to change our minds about things as we become more educated.

We’re looking for a boat intended to cross oceans, not a coastal cruiser. It needs to be large enough for our family, which means at least 40 feet long, and have a displacement that is adequate for passages, but not so heavy that we will never leave the dock in Puget Sound. Sailing well to windward is a very desirable trait, since we always seem to be doing just that. The ideal hull for us would have a wide fin keel similar to our Cal 34, or would have a modified full keel with a cutaway forefoot, and a skeg hung rudder. We’d prefer a ketch rig with an inner forestay, but that might be asking too much.

In terms of layout, we’d like two cabins, two generously sized settees, a galley that is not an afterthought and is designed with ocean passages in mind, and reasonably good storage. We’d like at least one of the cabins to have a berth that is comfortable for two adults who like to have some breathing room at night. I’d like to say that these things are non-negotiable, but I know better. It will depend on the boat.

Aside from these desires, what’s ultimately important to us is that the boat feels right. That intangible quality cannot be described in the written word. We will know it when we step aboard. So far, we have seen a few boats that had that ‘just right’ feeling to us but we were not ready to pull the trigger on buying: the Spencer Center Cockpit 44, the Westerly Sealord, and the old Sparkman and Stephens ‘Flying Gull’. That last one broke our hearts for awhile.

These boat reviews reflect our opinions of the actual boats we’ve seen, based on our knowledge of ourselves and what we need and like. Because my knowledge is more practical than technical, I focus mainly on the ‘livability’ issues of the boats we’re looking at. Technical details like rigging are best left to the experts to discuss. If your boat is listed in our reviews and we have not yet had an opportunity to talk to you, please contact us with more information about your boat and we will gladly include it in the reviews. We hope these reviews will help you sell your boat to someone who will love it and take care of it, even if it’s not the right boat for us.



2 thoughts on “Boat Reviews

  1. Hello to you, Michael and Melissa!

    I know exactly how you feel in terms of seeking your perfect “new home” as we have only recently completed our purchase and are enjoying the first blush of cruising full time.

    About 4 years ago Gregg came home from a sailing trip with “the guys” where the topic of discussion turned to leaving their land lubbing lives behind and moving aboard the sailboat full time. After sharing this idea with me, I came back with “when do we leave?”. From that conversation, we began to consider all that would be required of us to prepare, where did we really want to sail? We were both still working full time and had only experienced sailing in the San Juan Island, Gulf Islands, Straights of Georgia (Salish Sea) and Desolation Sound. When, friends invited us along on a vacation in Florida, we decided to look up a broker and see what was currently on the market….after all, if we were going to sail the Caribbean for the first while, we might decide to purchase our boat in Florida. We met George Eberhard from David Walters Yachts, rented a van and pretty much covered the state of Florida looking at several boats a day, every day for a week…..well, except for the day we went to Disney World!

    While we didn’t find our hearts desire on that trip, we learned a lot about ourselves, our expectations and our “must-have” vs “nice-to-have” lists and found an amazing broker in George who stayed with us over the next year and a half, sending e-mails about boats that seemed to have our interests covered. This past January, we found “our girl” and WE LOVE her!!! George has been a real help in arranging matters that would have made us crazy, particularly as we were working through all of this from Victoria, BC! He even found us a wonderful man by the name of Stuart (Global Marine) who managed the repairs, refits and general all around “geting to know our boat” with great good humour and very minimal cost. Stu is worth his weight in gold!

    I look forward to following your blog and wish you wonderful sailing with fair winds and following seas!

    Shelley and Gregg Singer
    aboard Simplicity II

    • Thank you for the lovely comment! Having a broker who knows you is such a good thing. Ours continues to be in touch with us with new boats listed on the market that he believes will suit our needs. Just now it’s all about selling our Cal 34 and then we can get more serious about the next boat. Glad to do a ‘shout out’ for Global Marine on the blog. Good people like that are worth their weight in gold! I’m looking forward to seeing your blog and reading about your boat and boating adventures. We do live in an area that is rich with wonderful cruising grounds, especially up in the Victoria area. We were pleased to be able to check into Canada through that port and it was the first time we’d been there by boat. Lovely!

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