In a previous post I highlighted the fact that you need to look at what your sailing ambitions are and how you plan to utilise the boat.
If your boat is going to take you around the world or on a similar adventure, it needs to be suited for living aboard for a long time. You will probably be looking for a combination of spacious areas, stowing capability, kitchen area, and a lot of equipment. For this purchase, the best advice is to follow some of the many living their dream sailing around and often blogging or vlogging about their endeavors. A lot of the blogs give good advice, and reasons why they chose the boat they are on. It is certainly also a question of where you are going to sail.
The double hull type boats are especially well fitted for comfortable sailing and touring. Due to their nature, they do not heel in near the manner of single-hulls, and often you get a lot of living space in such a wide vessel. It is another kind of sailing, and it may be just the right thing for you. You should try sailing a catamaran in different weather conditions before going for the buy – which is of course relevant no matter what boat you are acquiring.
Holiday Get Aways
I expect most people would set their ambitions in this category. With modern boat design and the aid of electronic equipment you can get a good sailboat easily handled by one or two persons and therefore the perfect family boat. However, if you are looking for a larger boat, you should also consider a race boat disguised as a touring boat. Quite often, you will find that race boat is more stable, as they often have a deeper keel, which you should of course calculate in if you are surrounded by very shallow waters.
Day or week-end sailing
You can enjoy sailing at all levels. If you cannot see yourself crossing oceans or living weeks on a boat, you might want to look into smaller boats. I will argue, that the sailing itself can be more fun, when being close to the water in a smaller boat, maybe even a dinghy. And with a smaller boat, there is also the option of being able to hook it up after the car and be more flexible as to where you are sailing. You don’t need an ocean, a lake will do. With a powerful car, you should be able to transport a boat up to about 24-26 feet in length.
If you are serious about yacht racing, you need to look for boats that are classified as such – for racing. But really, the race boats you see in Volvo/The Ocean Race and other high-end racing competitions, are only in reach for the very few. Designing boats for these races is extremely expensive. However, boats exceeding 32-35 feet are often pretty good sailers, simply because there is a financial need to build race boats that can also work as a touring boat, in order to get enough sales.
Acquiring a sailboat, or any boat for that matter is often and for many a big investment. And you don’t want to limit yourself in terms of what direction you are going with your sailing ambition. Of course, you can start small – and less expensive – and then trade up later. Another great option, especially if you want to test yourself and the family aboard, is to rent a sailboat for one and two weeks. If you believe racing is of interest, try to locate local sailers and see if you can join as crew. Not only can you test yourself, but probably also get some good guidance and some fun along the way.
Good luck !