Searching For Your Cruising Sailboat

IMG_2542Good news, my latest boat hunting trip to FL was successful!  I even had a side trip to Isla Mujeres near Cancun, Mexico, too to view another sailboat while I was in Florida.

Joe and I now have a contract to purchase a sailboat- a Taswell 43 to be precise.  I will be heading back to Florida soon for the survey, rigging survey, sea trial and haul out.

Searching for the right boat has been an interesting journey.  Sailors and potential cruisers find their boat any number of ways.  However, this is the way it worked for us:

1. Make a list of features you want on your boat. For us, we wanted a center cockpit, fin keel with a skeg hung rudder, great engine access, and had to be a safe blue water capable boat.  We had other things on the list, but those were the biggies.

2. Consider your budget.  We ended up raising our budget after not finding anything we liked in the lower price range.  We could have waited for a boat we liked to come on the market at a lower price point, but wanted to get cruising sooner rather than later. logo

3. Find a Sailboat broker (representing buyers) that you can work with.  Initially, we started working with a first broker, who was too busy to meet our needs.  Then, though my friend, Pam Wall, we found Philip Thompson, at Dream Catcher Yachts in Dana Point and Newport Beach, CA.  Philip has been a incredible broker for us, we cannot say enough good things about him, his work ethic, and his communication with his clients (us).

4. Become familiar with all sailboats that meet your criteria by searching websites like and  Yachtworld is a site similar to the MLS for selling houses.  Only brokers can post listings.  Sailboatlisting has a mix of “for sale by owner” and broker listed boats.   If all you want is a small pocket trailer sailboat, try looking on Craigslist.  That was how we found our O’Day 23, which we love. IMG_6338

5. Plan trips to view potential boats.  Your budget will dictate the area you are looking.  We started by looking on the west coast of the United States, finding few boats that met our criteria.  So trips to the east coast of the US, namely Florida, was what we did.  Once we narrowed down the boat we liked, I viewed as many of them that were on the market.  Trust me, we saw a LOT of sailboats before making an offer.

Note about Boat Viewings-  You see a wide variety of boat types in all sorts of conditions.  Most times, you meet with the listing broker, who shows you the boat.  Occasionally, the boat owner is on board to show you their sailboat.  Every time we have met an owner, they have been wonderful people, and their pride of ownership was self evident.  Cruisers tend to be friendly, giving people, we have found.

6.  Changing Your Expectations.  There came a time when we were not finding what we were looking for.  We looked at our Features list from Step 1 and re-evaluated this list into what we really needed versus what we wanted.  This was a critical step to do and finally lead us to the boat under contract.

Stay Tuned!  Once the purchase is complete, I will share details and pictures of the new boat.  Take care, Carla

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