“Is it so nice as all that?” asked the mole, shyly…
“Nice? It’s the only thing,” said the Water Rat Solemnly, as he leaned forward for his stroke. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
“Simply messing…about in boats — or with boats… In or out of ’em it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems to matter, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not.”
So we are looking for a bigger boat. After 9 years on the wait list we finally got a permanent slip in Dana Point Harbor. Now we are looking for the ‘forever’ boat. The sailboat that will carry us safely around the globe by sea and will continue to be our trusted home after the kids have gone off to college. Or so the vision goes.
I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE being on the boat. Living on the boat. Tinkering on the boat. I could just disappear on a boat with my family and fix up, relax, play on a sailboat just about anywhere. I have dreamed of sailing to exotic places on a sailboat my entire life but honestly could just live on one right here and sail it up and down the coast forever. But the lure of places like French Polynesia, Niue, the Cook Islands and Australia is very strong and with a boat as a home you have the ultimate freedom to sail to those places after all!!
So far we have looked at 14 sailboats 38-46 feet in length. In order of what we like so far:
Kelly Peterson/Formosa 46
Gulf Star MK II 43 (viewed two-one was nicer than the other)
TaShing Taswell 43
Waquiez Amphitrite 45
Bristol 38 (beautiful boat but not big enough for us)
Hans Christian 38 (again beautiful but not big enough AND the only head was in the bow!!!?? A nightmare on a passage)
Franz Maas 42 (beautiful old boat but we were told it sailed horribly)
Whitby 42 (boat in the poorest condition-completely neglected and virtually worth nothing really it was so bad)
Mason 43 (terrible cockpit-probably the worst laid out boat we saw)
Of course there is ALWAYS something that makes it not quite the perfect boat. Some of these are out of our budget (but have room for negotiation), some need a ton of work or have deck issues that we need to have surveyed or need a major refit because we don’t like the way the main has a roller furling system (who in their right mind would put on a roller furling main on a cruising boat!!???).
So the hunt continues. These are the priorities: we are looking for a solid built fiberglass monohull ideally with a full or modern cutaway keel with attached rudder and moderate displacement. We would like a standard batten mainsail to avoid furling failures and have less chafe. A cutter or ketch rig would be fantastic for sail configuration options in various weather.
Down below we are looking for a layout with at least 2 staterooms plus a pullman berth or a split aft or forward stateroom for the kids to have a space to make their ‘own.’ I’ve seen some cool split bunks in the V-berth which might work well. We need two heads one with a separate enclosed shower. Easy access to the engine and the packing gland is high on the list as well.
A lot of the other stuff ie: genset, watermaker, refrigeration, electronics, outboard motors, scuba gear and autopilot are great if they are in excellent condition but these are things we can add if necessary.
We also look at the storage capacity, access to batteries, propane tanks, chain plates and potential leakage issues.
It’s quite a project but we are both really into it. We LOVE doing this together and both my husband and I have very similar thoughts on life aboard. We believe in keeping systems simple and making sure the boat isn’t a burden on itself and our way of life.
Here is our database of boats we have looked at: