Saturday, 7 April 2012

Buying A Secondhand Boat

Small is Beautiful

Important message to self:

Everybody wants a larger boat, a newer boat or a boat with a more powerful engine. Often the size of your ambition is calculated as a percentage more than you can afford. I can buy this eighteen footer but what I really want is that twenty four footer over there, if only I had fifteen percent more cash!

There is an argument though that the pleasure you get from a boat is inversely proportional to her size. In effect, the larger the boat, the less fun your have, and the more you have to worry about. This is particularly true if you’ve over-extended and bought something you can’t afford to maintain and use.

Small boats aren’t simply cheaper to buy, they are cheaper to run and maintain and some costs associated with boat ownership simply disappear. Mooring fees for example, are often set according to the length of the vessel. The smaller the boat, the less you pay. A small boat on a trailer though can be moored on your drive. Not only do you get away with the fees altogether but also you have access to the best boatyard in the world, it’s close to home, with water and electricity available on demand. All the tools needed for maintenance are on hand, and there are refreshment and rest-room facilities on the premises – what more could you ask for?

There is of course an other argument that small boats don’t have the cruising range of larger ones and so your voyaging potential is restricted. This might be true, although there are plenty of accounts of remarkable journeys being undertaken in small boats but anyway small boats have other qualities. They can reach places unavailable to larger craft and if you get bored with your local cruising ground, you can tow your craft to another.

Compare the experiences of two friends. One has a large vintage twin engined motor cruiser. A trip around the bay to entertain children and grandchildren a few months ago cost him £200 in fuel. He won’t be doing that again. The other guy has a small Drascombe on a road trailer. Last summer he cruised every one of the navigable waters in the Lake District UK, and next year he’s planning on trailing the boat down to the med with the boat acting as a caravan en route. So, ‘small can be beautiful’ – but for me it has to be ‘comfortable too.’