Planning an extended off-shore sailing excursion takes time, in-depth research and plenty of patience. Seasoned sailors recommend that you give yourself six to twelve month to plan the trip and purchase a boat. The latter takes ample research, expert knowledge and a sizeable amount of cash.
A variety of important factors come into play, and you must remember that you are making a long-term investment, much like when you purchase a new house. Just like having a potential home checked over by an engineer, you will have to get your boat surveyed to meet insurance requirements and perhaps to satisfy the bank if you are hoping to get a loan for your purchase.
Perhaps the most important point to remember is that you will need to be able to handle the boat on your own or indeed that your travel companion can do so, too. A lot of people have different crews along their journey, however, you need to be in a position to be in charge of the boat as well as whatever crew is with you at any given time.
Size and Price
Most people work within the limits of a certain budget. Don’t spend your entire budget on the initial purchase. Instead, keep perhaps 40% of your money for additional sails, a life raft, electrical equipment, ground tackle, and safety gear. While buying a larger boat will give you extra living space, maintaining a large boat also costs considerably more. Ideally, I would recommend buying a medium-sized boat because it will be easier to manage and finance.
New or Used
If you have the cash, buy new. You will save yourself lots of time and many potential headaches. Most people are not in a position to do so and have to opt for a used boat instead. Before you purchase, have the boat surveyed by a professional. On receipt of the “things to fix” list, price every single repair job and add it to the purchase prices. Only when you budget for both will you have a crystal clear idea of the actual cost. It can be quite difficult to find a decent 3 to 10 year old boat so you are going to have to be patient and wait until you find a boat that will stand the test of time as well as come within budget.
Home on the Water
You also have to remember that the boat will be your home and perhaps your partner’s. Even if you have the best sailing boat, you may not be comfortable if the living area doesn’t meet your standards. Most boats are only out on the ocean one-quarter of the time, and having comfort on the boat when it’s docked is just as important.
Investment of a Lifetime
Buying a boat for travelling is an investment of a lifetime, not to be made lightly or hastily. Plan well ahead, get plenty of advice from experts, and budget carefully. Talking to people who’ve gone through this purchasing process will also give you a good insight into the specific points you need to consider.