Thursday, 3 May 2012

The Best Boat for Cruising

Obviously there is no single answer, your ideal boat and mine will probably be very different for all sorts or reasons. Your cruising ground will not be the same as mine, the level of comfort you expect will be personal to you,and your finances will widen or narrow your range of choice. I have to accept that cost will be a major factor for me so some boats that I would like will be simply out of my reach. If you're on the same journey as me I hope you have more resources to deploy but even then, your resources will have some limits so if I can achieve my ambition, you should certainly be able to achieve yours.

Nice boat - Keel too deep
So I have to start somewhere and a list of 'candidate' boats is as good a place as any. Now there are boats I have sailed, so I know something of their ways and there are others, of which I have no experience so I will have to rely on their reputation to make a judgement.

There are lots of desirable 'nice to haves' in my 'what I want' list', and I guess I need to separate these out from the 'deal-breakers' - qualities (or lack of them) which would indicate that the boat (no matter how attractive) would simply not suit my purpose.

The essential 'must have' qualities include:

solid sea boat reputation;
accommodation for two in comfort;
shallow draft to get me through the canal;
ability to sit upright on mud or sand.

The 'deal-breakers' include:

deep keels, fin keels;
boats reliant on engine power as the main driver;
boats without accommodation;

Sadly, already some boats that I really appreciate just don't fit the list - the Folkboat for example, would seem ideal, but the keel is too deep.So where to start? Here is a very short initial list of boats which might deserve a place on my long-list.

Colvic Watson
Westerly Boats (any or all of the older designs)
Cornish Crabber
Cornish Shrimper
Drascombe (the ones with small cabins)
Colvic Watson
Plymouth Pilot
French 'Peche Promenade' style (various builders)
1960's pocket cruisers (such as the Caprice)
 Flika (I know nothing of these boats but they come recommended so they're worth a look)

Some of these designs may seem old to some readers. From my point of view 'old' may suggest affordable but maybe I am being too pessimistic, there may be newer craft that I'm not considering. So, shipmates, if you have never commented on a blog post before, please consider it today - all suggestions will be greatly appreciated - help me grow the list.