The hunt for a boat… To live on…

He, is a fat bald out of shape former academic with a penchant for classic plastic and specifically Taiwanese teak rejects. She, a high-speed low drag marathon runner who likes red wine on clean smooth decks with an Ikea interior.

The must have list they share? Roller furling headsails and main, and preferably sloop or cutter rigged for simplicity. It must be a sailboat. A washer dryer combo or location to put one. The cockpit must have room to stretch out (and cancel any canoe stern boats). We like dual helm for weather work, but if you can get around the wheel without falling overboard that is fine. He likes center cockpits for the roomy stern cabin, and she feels like they are descending into a cave. If you want to make passages big fuel, and water tanks are a requirement. External freezers are nice but well-made integral freezers and cold storage is better. By the way she is short so five-foot-deep freezers are kind of silly.


She is little and built speedy (cute as a bug) so electric winches, a sturdy anchor capstan, and even electric autopilot will make her day better. He is fat and built sturdy so requests beer cozies be available and air conditioning be an option. This drives requirements for good mounts for solar and a large battery bank. Enough room for a barbecue on the rail, preferably a davits arrangement to keep a dink from getting mucky, and solar array that throws some shade is welcome. Similarly, it is not always warm and she shivers like a crazed Chihuahua looking for a snack, so a full enclosure capability for the cockpit is a good idea.


He is not partial to bolt on keels and looks at them with a skeptical eye. Enclosed lead worked for the ancient mariners’ keels and things with wings on them fly. Boats should not fly. She, being smarter, as in any smarts is more than him, likes performance and the idea of going to windward. Cadillac rides in full keel boats is nice, but the ability to get somewhere is also important. He thinks gentleman never sail toward the wind and thinks the trade winds are wonderful gift that should not be forgotten. She sticks her tongue out at him. Do keels really fall off and ruin your day?


She being a sexy grandma has more children than sense being late to understanding the principles of contraception. He is not complaining. Thus, accommodations for the two of them is important but like weather, visitors happen. Decreasing from 8 to 6 to 4 to just the two of them does not mean no child shall be left behind with spouses or their own children in tow. In fact, gray hair streaming in the wind as grandchildren adventure playing pirates of the Caribbean has some allure to both. Winning the memorable grandparents merit badge is a goal.


A walk around or at least not crawl across master berth is important. Snuggling is fine but climbing across the Himalayas every time she needs a drink or to dispose of a glass of water is not fun. The idea of berthing her on the outside for the same reasons though more to create fun is just not a happening thing. Owners version, tri-cabin is perfect. Four tiny cabins is not a thing she likes or feels is an indicator of success.


He lived on boats from a young age and the route to the shower was uphill both ways in the snow. Which (no lie) he walked in bare feet because sense and sensibility are her characteristics. Not so much him the graduate of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children school for wayward boys. She has suggested with some disdain if he does not buy her a boat with a real stall shower she will never wear lingerie to cook vittles again. Thus, be it decreed, at least one stall shower is required. He knows that is what sun and buckets in the cockpit are for, but remember vittles are important.


She loves dark hulls and the look of teak decks. The glow of a fully sanded, freshly bedded, and oiled teak deck is a wonder to behold. It is a sturdy, sticky platform upon which traction can be maintained and glory can be had. An eagerly waiting porous contraption just thirsting to suck in some tuna blood and be forever stained and stinky. A thousand holes in to the core of the deck, a thousand holes a leaking, a thousand holes to be filled and beckon more weakness. Non-skid shall be the deck and teak shall be synthetic or none at all so says he.


Thus the field of boats dwindled. From thousands to hundreds then dozens. The field was first split into neo-modern vessels of 2000 or newer vintage. The second cut was 1990 to 2000 thus dubbed almost modern. The third cut was 1990 or older being dubbed classic plastic. The vessels were either center cockpit (45 feet and up) or rear cockpit (42 feet and up).  The encapsulated full or near full keel boats almost all fall into the classic plastic pantheon. The modern almost all bolt on keels. The pricing schema was a driving factor. In a world where price is no issue there are unicorns, fairy dust, and guys with goat feet named Pan. Set a max price at $250K, a penchant to not pay depreciation, and mix well on the spam riddled website Yacht World.


Encapsulated Keel

1980ish Bristol 47 ($130K to $200K) (centerboard!)

1990ish Island Packet 44-45 ($170 to $225K)

1990ish Passport 44-45 ($160K to $190K)

2000ish Moody 46 ($100K to $300K)


Bolt On Keel

1990ish Amel Super Maru 53 ($190K to $300K)

2000ish Beneteau 473 ($125K to $230K)

2000ish Catalina 47 ($150K to $250K)


What no catamarans or other marans? Of course not. They represent painting two-hulls, having two engines, and lord forbid twice the mooring fees. He and she both like the 43-47 Leopard speed demon catamarans. The lightweight go fast personality matches them both quite well. You get lots of room. In an owner version, they are rare as hens teeth at a duck roast. Coupled with the other issues of complexity and cost they are not making it into the mix. Go search for $250K or less owners’ version and find zero Leopards. Bump up to $300K and the options grow but owners hull is not a thing (and you likely lose the stall shower). We don’t denigrate other people’s boats but we have our requirements and they don’t necessarily match up.

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