Thursday, 24 May 2012

Hunting for the Ideal Boat

So, today I started a serious search for my boat. The best selling boating Journal in the UK 'Practical Boat Owner' seemed to be a good starting point, 70 private ads for boats, sailing boats in the main. So, how many could I afford? Well, if I take the advice of people who have commented on my scribblings to date, 'half of your money for the purchase, half for renovation and commissioning', then of the 70 for sale, I could have bought thirteen. What were they?

Well there were:

three Achilles 24's,
a Swift 18,
a Drascombe lugger,
a Heard Picarooner,
a Vivacity 24,
a Westerly Warwick,
a Robert Ives 21-4,
a Sterling Matador,
a Westerly 22,
a Newbridge Navigator,
and a Hurley 22.

Of those, some aree unknown to me.

A Heard Picarooner? Well, according to the ad she's a GRP gaff cutter, built in 1995 - Mmm interesting! Ah, a sixteen foot day sailer! Too small no cabin - no thank you.

A Sterling Matador? 23ft  GRP yacht with inboard diesel and bilge keels - OK a possibility but more research would be required - why haven't I heard of them?

A Robert Ives? 21ft GRP bilge keel sloop - maybe a bit on the small side, no mention of an engine.

The Swift 18 - too small with an outboard slung on the transom - not for me.

So that leaves me with the Hurley 22, I seem to remember that these boats were strong and well respected as sea boats. Some (if not all) were deep keeled however so, I'd need information about the draft.

The Newbridge Navigator, was originally advertised as a having full standing head room in the cabin. Unfortunately at 19ft she's a little small, and on such a waterline length, I wonder what compromises the designer had to make to get that headroom.

Now the Vivacity, I know has a good reputation. At 24ft she's an ideal length and this one had bilge keels and a new engine. Could be a serious contender.

As for the Achilles, two of the three were described as fin keels - as for the third, the ad didn't say.The Drascombe Lugger ad said very little except to contact a broker.

Which leaves me with the two Westerly's. This company had a reputation for producing strong sea boats but I know nothing of either of these models.

What is clear, is that there are an awful lot of boats out of my reach - pretty much all of those I have written about so far. Unless, of course, I can find a semi-derelict specimen, in need of serious TLC. Now the question is, am I likely to find a Practical Boat Owner reader selling such a vessel? Nope - I guess not. So a new strategy is required. Boating journals are fine for general reading, but I'm hardly likely to find my boat within their pages -- and I can't waste money chasing all over the UK. I need to look more locally.