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What kind of yacht??

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by StephanieD, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. StephanieD

    StephanieD New Member

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    Hello all! I am new! Thanks for having me and I apologize for so many questions! My boyfriend and I are looking at doing The Great Loop in a few years. We are not sure what type of boat we would need that could do the loop and then afterwards be good for cruising the gulf coast (part-time liveaboards), possibly hopping over to the Bahamas and US Virgin Islands and back to the gulf. I have been researching and researching, and keep coming up with conflicting information. It is getting a tad frustrating. We are planning on buying a boat next year to start to learn boating. I thought it would be great to find something that would be good for us when we do the loop, but I cannot figure out what kind of boat that would be. Please offer any advice. TIA!
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    What is your budget (to buy and also to operate), are you on a time schedule? What ammenities do you need? What speed do you need?
  3. StephanieD

    StephanieD New Member

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    Well that's where I'm stuck. The budget will be dependent on our financial condition and there would be no time schedule. Would need the basic amenities like you would have in a house, washer/dryer, kitchen. Speed would probably not be a factor. I mean it would be cool to have a fast boat to get down to the Gulf quick for the years before the loop, but we really just want to kick back and relax, and check out various areas on our way. I know it's probably a hard question to answer. I told my boyfriend after researching you pretty much choose economical or fast. So any recommendations froM the low end of the spectrum for cost on up would be great. I'm going to anticipate we would not spend more than $100,000 next year unless my books sell insanely well once I get them published. Hahaha thank you for any advice. As it gets closer to when we are ready to buy a boat, it will be easier to answer those questions and narrow things down a bit. :) Thanks again!
  4. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Maybe it's just me but I don't find the gulf coast to be very appealing, except maybe from Tampa southward.

    You can do the loop ni just about anything, but to be confortable (home like amenities including AC, washer dryer, good storage etc...) 40/45 is probably the minimum. Depends if you want to live aboard or camp aboard.

    Once way to do it isn't to go for an older (but well builds) boat so you can get something bigger with more space and comfort.

    You mention the loop, the bahmas and the VIs. Loop and Bahamas is pretty easy cruising and just about any boat can handle that. The VIs, and the caribbean is taking it to another level as the run from the central Bahamas to the Caribbean is a lot tougher than the loop and Bahamas. Sure, it s been done with smaller boats but it's not an easy run into the trades, swell, etc...

    Finally, the cheaper the boat, the bigger the operating budget maybe be. More maintenance, more things breaking down, etc...

    You need to define a comfortable budget, both for initial purchase and operation costs, then find the boat that will fit.

    As to speed, just about any boat can run economically at slower speeds.
  5. StephanieD

    StephanieD New Member

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    Thank you! I'm sure we will probably have a similar opinion after cruising the whole gulf coast. Lol we vacation in Gulf shores and absolutely love it there, but are excited to travel to other places. I think we will just have to wait until next year and see what kind of budget we have for a boat and go from there. I will say I am having a lot of fun looking at all the boats out there!
  6. 30West

    30West Member

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    My 40-foot, aft-cabin boat is too small for your needs (no washer/dryer, insufficient range and water), and is over your $100k budget, and this is an older boat (2004). This is not quite camping, more cottaging. It would be great for intercoastal and inland, not really a "blue-water" ocean boat, but a lot of people use them that way. It is certainly enough room for two couples. You could make it work with some compromises, but there are better boats of this size and style for what you want to do.

    My boat has a planing hull, so it can go pretty fast when I want to spend the petro-dollars, and I do use it that way. When not in a hurry it gets very good economy, as Pascal mentioned. The real tradeoff is in how comfortable it is in bigger waves. A displacement hull boat that can't go fast is going to roll around less in waves at slow speed. I simply get up on a slow plane and mush through big waves, spending a lot less time in them, and a lot of money. Or I use speed to avoid bad weather all together, find a port and wait it out. By big waves I mean big and steep storm-pushed waves, our freshwater waves tend to be steeper. Most any boat will do well in big waves that are long and slow.

    40+ gallons an hour is my cost to cruise on a plane, around 27mph/24kts, that would be cheaper with diesels instead of gas engines. At leisurely speeds around 8mph/7kts, I get about 2mpg, about what a lot of boats this size get, regardless of hull type. On a plane I get around 3/4 to 1/2 mpg. I spent $3600 to go 500 miles in three days last summer, mostly in pretty big waves, so on a slow plane using lots of fuel. If I had done that 500 miles in six days, it would have cost less than $1000 in fuel.

    There are boats this size that have hulls shaped for better wave handling, they have a bit less interior space as the tradeoff. Mainship makes an aft-cabin this size that would be an example. Some have washer/dryers in this size range, you will find them if you look.

    I hope your books sell phenomenally well so you can buy and cruise the boat you want. Enjoy reading about and looking at boats. My wife and I spent a lot of time looking at boats at beaches and marinas. When we asked people about their boats they usually wanted us to come aboard for a tour, it was great fun. We both grew up with boats, but didn't know what we wanted.
  7. StephanieD

    StephanieD New Member

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    Thank you!! I am thinking we will probably go with economical over speed. I am also thinking maybe we do not bother with the US VI. I cannot believe how much fuel some of these boats go through. I was looking at one a few days ago that burned almost 50 gallons an hour at top speed. I don't know that we would travel at top speed much, though. Neither one of us know anything about boats, which is why I am researching so early, and also why I want to buy one next year. We live about 30 minutes from the Illinois River. So it would be great to get one next year, learn how to use it, and learn what we like and don't like.

    Thank you again! I am also hoping my books sell well. If I would ever get them done and up for sale. They are children's books. I have written 2, my cousin illustrated one and I am currently illustrating the other. Illustrating takes way longer than writing. lol
  8. 30West

    30West Member

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    At top speed, about 35mph/31knots, my boat is supposed to burn almost 64 gallons per hour. I haven't spent more than a few minutes at max throttle, we mostly cruise slower and burn 4 gpm. Most big boats will gulp down a lot of fuel at max throttle, even the slow ones. Most will sip it at slow speeds. A displacement hull boat will not be able to go any faster than 8-10 kts.

    I prefer being able to go fast if I need to, for weather or whatever, but prefer to go slow. Since I'm still working for a living, I wouldn't be able to go very far if I only went slow. Luckily I love where I am, and my kids really wouldn't enjoy a beach on the other side of the world any more than the beach I can idle to in twenty minutes.
  9. StephanieD

    StephanieD New Member

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    Oh I totally get your point there. We won't be able to go far for a while. My boyfriend's youngest sons are freshmen in high school. They are the only ones we have left at home. That is why I thought about a faster boat. If we could take off for 2 weeks, then we could actually get somewhere with a faster boat. I just don't know if we could afford the fuel. I work at a school, so I have summers off. I could technically travel all summer, but my boyfriend cannot. I don't think he would appreciate if I ditched him. haha Once the boys are off at college, we are then going to figure out exactly when we can start traveling more. Unfortunately, for the loop, we may have to wait until he retires. I will probably still work, but I have side jobs that I can do remotely. We just really love the Gulf. We have not traveled a whole lot of it outside of Gulf Shores/Orange Beach/Pensacola, but we are hoping to down the road. I am sure the boys would be perfectly fine just hanging out on a boat for a week or 2, whether we went to Gulf Shores or not.
  10. 30West

    30West Member

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    My youngest and last at home is also a high-school freshman. He likes having his own forward stateroom with a door for privacy, seems to enjoy the boat. We haven't taken any trips with friends for him, but there would be plenty of places to sleep. When he has friends for day cruises, they do disappear into his stateroom and sit with their phones on occasion. I'd prefer they were out in the sun and with us all the time, but it is nice to have our peace as well, even when we go below.

    Our son has enjoyed time with us on the boat, and has balked at spending time with us on the boat. Overall he seems to enjoy it, and his friends and their parents definitely enjoy it.
  11. StephanieD

    StephanieD New Member

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    Oh that is very cool! I would love to find something with 2 staterooms so we can weekend out and they have some space to themselves if they don't want to hang out with us, but for the times they would, it would be some fun family time!
  12. 30West

    30West Member

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    If you want to learn about cruising, there is a forum for that, with sub-forums for more specifics. This is mostly a sailboat forum, but lots of great info for cruising: http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/
  13. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Whoa.

    Let's slam the breaks on a bit.

    Here's what I've gotten from the information you've shared and if any of it is wrong, I apologize and please correct me.
    1. Zero boating experience. Means you have no idea if you'll enjoy it and to what degree you'll enjoy it, plus no knowledge or experience.
    2. Thinking about a joint significant investment in a depreciating asset with a boyfriend.
    3. Aspiring but unpublished writer
    4. Thinking under $100k, but no indication that you've taken into consideration maintenance of an older boat or cost of slip and fuel and taxes, if any
    5. Future possible liveaboard but not time soon while boyfriend still working.
    6. Currently tied to Illinois River. Future the world but that's upon retirement which sounds like it could be as much as 20 years away. Also the boat for future purposes might be far different than current.
    7. Currently tied to a week or two usage maximum at a time
    Recommendations
    1. You need to learn some things about boating that can't be learned on a forum. Look at the boats that most own in your area. Take some Power Squadron courses or something to give you a bit of insight.
    2. Go out with someone knowledgeable or rent a boat locally and find someone to run it and show you some basics. Even charter on a vacation somewhere.
    3. Think about the boat then you could use for the next several years, not the one for the gulf or the loop or the VI or the Bahamas. We lived on a lake in NC. The right boat there for us was a 30' bowrider. Any of the boats we own now would have been the wrong boat there and the wrong boat as we had jobs and were limited to afternoons, weekends, and a week or two occasionally.
    4. Look at all the costs of ownership, including slip fees, insurance, taxes, fuel, repairs and maintenance. Things like periodic bottom paint, bottom cleaning, engine repair.
    5. Look at what kinds of boats others have for your area. Not knowing exactly where you are, I'm guessing, but I suspect a lot of pontoon boats, small fishing boats, small runabouts. Not boats designed to do the loop because most people don't have time to do the loop. If you are maintaining a house, you don't need a liveaboard boat. Something for a weekend perhaps, like a small SeaRay Sundancer or a Carver. Maybe a Bayliner pilothouse or a Mainship. But they are probably bigger than you need now.
    6. You can get into a more appropriate boat for today for less money and learn. Also, if things don't work out you'll lose less. Regardless of what you do today, you'll want something different in the years to come and by then you may know what. Don't financially strap yourself today to a boat that you don't need and is a lousy fit as a starter boat and for your current use. Also, your financial situation should improve over the years allowing you to afford a boat in the future that matches your future needs.
    So, I'd do more preparation, then if still interested, I'd buy my first boat, not my forever boat. I'd probably spend less than $50k on it, and I'd find out how boating is for me in reality not how the dream of it or the fantasy of it is. For us, it's nirvana, it's life as it should be, we're fanatics. I hope it's like that for you and your boyfriend. However, you don't know that yet. You have no way to and for many it isn't that. Life interferes with boating. Even many who dream of the loop find that 20 years in the future or the time never comes. Enjoy the present. Before retirement, a million things might happen in your lives. You don't know what the next three years will bring, much less 20 years from now. I want to see you enjoying boating but easing in is the way, finding the right boat for now, not spending the maximum you could, making it a special world, special place for your family, not an albatross.
  14. StephanieD

    StephanieD New Member

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    Thank you! I will check that out!
  15. StephanieD

    StephanieD New Member

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    Yes, we do not have much boating experience, other than renting boats a couple of times on vacations, once in Alabama and once in Wisconsin. Boyfriend is long-term, 8 years this year. We are already in a significant investment with a $175,000 house. We do plan on going out and checking out boats in our area. I have been doing this online, but we do plan to physically go out and take out a few boats. Maybe later this summer, maybe early next summer. I know our first boat will not be our forever boat, but we would like something that would accommodate 4 of us for over a weekend up to 2 weeks so that we can see if we like being on a boat. If we don't, then no need for a boat. If we do, then we can go from there. I was thinking under $100,000 because of what research I had already done and boats recommended, though originally I was more looking for Great Loop capable boats, not boats for trips to the US VI. Future possible liveaboard, yes, if we like it. The boyfriend is older and can retire sooner than I. As far as aspiring, unpublished writer. Yes, I am unpublished. Through much research, I have decided to self publish for various reasons. I am also a songwriter and photographer. I know we are currently tied to the Illinois River, but that is better than nothing. We can at least get out on a boat and cruise around.

    I am in contact with several people on boating, including forums on Facebook and also a boat broker. I am also definitely looking at all costs, including cost of boat, potential cost of fuel whether cruising or at top speed, potential maintenance repairs, insurance, tax, docking slips, etc. This is where we are in the process. We are researching to find out so we can be prepared. There are actually several nice boats in our area for sale that we have looked out online and have been researching potential issues and costs associated with the boats. We are getting there. I know it is a process to learn the ins and outs of boating, including all the places we would love to boat. That's why we are researching now. lol It's a process and I don't want us to decide next year, hey let's go buy a boat, and then not have a clue what we are getting ourselves into. That's why I have a ton of questions. I tend to like to be completely over prepared. lol I do appreciate all the answers! Thank you very much for getting back to me. Please don't take anything I said as bitchy. My daughter says I sometimes tend to come across that way in texts/messages. lol
  16. StephanieD

    StephanieD New Member

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    I should also add we are looking to just get out, relax, and take our time. This is not to go to the loop or anywhere as fast as we possibly can. We are ready to slow down. Also, we could go out potentially every other weekend and some week days in the summer aside from the 2-weeks.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  17. 30West

    30West Member

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    I figured this might be a ways in the future, but like adding illustrations to your text, it adds to the dream. You aren't buying a boat right now, but you need motivation right now, so you can move toward it. Keep illustrating!
  18. StephanieD

    StephanieD New Member

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    Oh heck yes! I have a vision board with a boat on it, among other things. As stupid as it sounds, it keeps me working like crazy. Goal is boat for the river by next summer at the latest. We don't need fancy and new, just in good working condition and good for overnights! Doesn't even have to look very pretty. lol
  19. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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  20. StephanieD

    StephanieD New Member

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    I love the Grand Banks and the Marine Traders! Our biggest issue will be he will want newer with all the bells and whistles, whereas I will want an older boat and could care less about all the extras. He does not like have to fix things and I love to fix things. It will be fun. Lol

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