Monday, 30 April 2012

The Ideal Sailing Boat

Well I didn’t quite get to the point of listing suitable boats this weekend but I’m getting closer to specifying what I’m looking for. Here's a checklist ( love checklists). If you're on the same course, feel free to use it for setting out your own preferences.

Sailing boat
Cruising not limited by fuel. The wind is (kind of free). Sailing is more fun and more comfortable than power. Technology is more understandable to me. I have time in plenty but money is a scarcer resource
Gunter would be really interesting - more sail control. Simple rig. Mast can be lowered or raised more easily for rivers and canals. Masts are easier to stow, within the length of the boat – no overhangs. If not, may have to put up with standard Bermudan. I’m assuming she’ll be a sloop or a cutter. Can’t imagine I’ll find a two master on such a small boat. Gaff might be fun. Haven’t considered a junk rig although some people swear by them.
Overall length
Accommodation on less than a 22ft hull would be cramped for two people on an extended cruise. Above 25ft makes single-handed sailing and maintenance more difficult
Happy to sacrifice cockpit space for cabin space. The larger the cabin the better
Draft / Keel
Shallow draft (less than 3ft) for canal work. Traditional keel for directional stability. Bilge keels so she can take the ground. Triple keel or long keel with bilge plates may be ideal. NO fin keel.
Powerful enough to drive the boat at maximum hull speed. Inboard if necessary. No transom hung outboard (just too plain ugly) Outboard in a well would be really good
GRP, sheathed Ply? (More info needed). Steel might be too heavy on a boat of this size.  Not confident with wood Restoring or maintaining a wooden vessel would be beyond my level of skill.
A boat with a reputation as a good sea boat. Safe and predictable even if slow. No skittish racing vessels. A traditional strong sea boat is first priority
If she meets the above criteria she’ll look good in my eyes anyway
Beggars can’t be choosers but she has to be ‘recoverable’ preferably through cleaning, polishing and painting. Essentially the hull, decks,  mast and engine have to be sound (even if sad and neglected looking)
Immaterial. There is an argument that says the older GRP boats were more strongly built (over built) because the technology wasn’t fully understood 
As low as possible. £10,000 is all I have for both purchase and renovation. Assume 50% on purchase and 50% on renovation?

22-24ft, GRP, shallow draft, Gunter sloop, inboard engine (or outboard in well), good accommodation for size, traditional, bilge or triple keel. With an excellent reputation as a sea-boat.

Why this kind of boat (see initial Post 'introduction')

Come on shipmates - if I've overlooked something tell me now before I start going down blind alleys (or sailing up inappropriate creaks)