Monday, 18 November 2013

The Ideal Boat

One of the most difficult aspects of buying and renovating a small boat is choosing the boat to work on. Three factors make for the difficulty:

all boat design is a compromise – a boat good for this may be useless for something else – so you have be clear about what you want your boat to do;

the boats you inspect will differ in the amount of work needed to bring them back to serviceable use – and you will need to be able to diagnose the treatment before you spend your money;

the cost of renovation will be greatly affected by your own skill or lack of it.

For me the first of these problems was the most difficult.
While marine architects are happy to design
boats for particular purposes, builders need a volume of sales so they try to market craft as being all things to all people. To get the right shortlist of boats for you, it’s important that you can compare hundreds of boats and know which ones might be worthy of consideration.  By way of extreme examples, an old trawler might make an excellent motor cruiser but she wouldn't get far up most UK canals. A 19ft sailing cruiser might be great fun – but would be unlikely to offer comfortable accommodation to four adults and a dog for extended cruising – despite what the builders and brokers may say.

Now, there is a book that I wish I had known about before I began my search. I’d like to think that I would still have chosen my Westerly Nomad – but I also think that I would have arrived at my decision much quicker, and with less road miles under my belt in the search process.

Anyway, for anyone embarking on this process, and already committed to a sailboat of no more than 26ft, as opposed to a motor vessel, here is the first weapon in your armory – you’ll recover its cost in time and petrol which could be wasted visiting inappropriate designs.

The Book is called:  The Sailors Book of Small Cruising Sailboats, by Steve Henkel.

You can get it here:

The Sailor's Book of Small Cruising Sailboats: Reviews and Comparisons of 360 Boats Under 26 Feet (USA Readers)
The Sailor's Book of Small Cruising Sailboats: Reviews and Comparisons of 360 Boats Under 26 Feet
(UK Readers)