Tips for your boat search
In case you're in the market for a family cruising boat, here are my tips, mostly from experiences learned the hard way...
• Use a yacht broker to help you with your search. if you find a good one, they will make your experience so much easier
• Location matters. Unless you can afford to travel to look at the boat, try to stick to ones in your area, or just a day trip away. If you buy the boat, you'll have to still get it home, and if your experience is anything like ours, you'll be making multiple trips to the boat during the buying process.
• Ask lots of questions, and try to get lots of recent pics before traveling. We once drove more than eight hours to see a boat we thought was_ the one_ only to see it and find out that it had been flooded (including the engine), mostly gutted, and the hull and ceiling were covered in avocado-green carpeting. This was before online listings and digital pictures, so things are definitely easier now, but you still need to make sure that you are looking at recent photos of the boat.
• Look at as many boats as possible. If you're fortunate enough to live in an area with lots of boat yards, take a look though them and start to get more of a feel for what you are looking for. If you see something you like (even if it's not in your price range) call the broker or owner and ask if they can show it to you.
• If you have kids, try to involve them in the boat search as much as possible.
• Throughout your search, stay organized. We used to keep small files about each boat that we looked at which would include info on the boat, contact info, pics that we took, and our likes/dislikes.
•** Buy a copy of Don Casey's Inspecting the Aging Sailboat** and read it before you look at a boat. It's full of great info and will help you know what you are looking at when you are going over the boat's construction, systems, etc.