"When did you start boat shopping again?" - I never stopped! I spend entirely too much time on Yachtworld. We are - once again - looking for our next boat. Next month we will be flying to Florida to preview some boats of particular interest. We have a good idea of what we are looking for, despite the fact that "any boat is a compromise." Below is a beginning chronicle of what we've seen so far in our search. It's great fun; we actually thoroughly enjoy the process! Maybe this thread can - in some small way - give back a little. The information and advice I've received here over the years - even before joining - is really remarkable, and a special word of thanks goes to Capt J for his unbiased, articulate honesty and internet professionalism! We are somewhat of an interesting couple, as we don't fit the expected sportfish stereotype. My wife wants to see the engine room and fighting chair while I'm looking for cup holders and a comfortable place to sit! More than one broker has gotten a chuckle out of that. But our entire lives and marriage revolve around this shared hobby, and it's what we live for. We have decided what we think will be best for us after much research and deliberation. So now the issue is finding the right boat for us that is the right mix of value and projects. Any boat considered will likely be a 1990s model, though we remain open to something built in the late '80s or early '00s. We don't like fishing when it's miserable, I get sea sick, we will spend some time cruising, and lots of time living aboard. Taking that into consideration, we're leaning toward a 50'+ boat with three staterooms, offshore capability, long-term liveaboard-comfort, and accessible maintenance aspects. Thusly, form and function are equally important. Here's what we've observed so far: Viking 50/53/58 - Without equal, the best overall quality boat we've looked at, and a great fit. Attention to detail is awe-some. Downsides: the dreaded gelcoat issue on certain boats, high hour MANs, and that stupid step on the bridge (changed around '96, I think). A narrow companionway is made up for by a fantastic master stateroom. Bunk rooms and heads are either adequately or satisfyingly spacious. There are a ton of 50s on the market, and prices vary so widely between model years without much apparent rhyme or reason that it borders on being annoying. Post 50/53 - Mid-ground between Viking and Ocean in quality. The salon-of-the-decade award goes to Post Yachts. Beam and cockpit space also make it a winner. Following sea criticisms seem to be based in misinformation, or not running the boat properly. Downsides: gelcoat horror, high hour MANs, and galley down floorplan which leads to smaller staterooms. Ocean 53/55 - People sure do love to talk some smack about these boats on the internet! Yet they offer a lot of functional quality, especially for the money. They don't seem to be sinking left and right due to shoddy construction, and most of the people who repeat what their friend's cousin's broker's son told them never owned one. So I try to only weigh reputable sources as to the quality of these boats. As a part-time liveaboard, cruising yacht, and occasional marlin hunter, I really think they deserve very serious consideration. Downsides: resale value, dock snobbery, small-for-class cockpit, CHEAP feeling bridge, and coffin-size engine rooms. Major selling point - best floorplan of the lot. Donzi 65 - Have you seen this frigate on YF? Probably too much boat, but what the hell, at that listing price, it's worth looking at! Plus, someone needs to give it loving home, and we've made crazy boat decisions before. Hatteras 50/54 - That shearline is awful. The interiors are quite nice and the hull is solid as they come. A cockpit made for running fish blood! The bridge is to die for. Downside: Did I mention the shearline? Frequent blonde interiors, and an engine room from hell that makes Oceans look spacious. Bertram 50 - Beautiful interiors, ugly/dated exterior that we just can't abide. Custom Boats - No thanks. Unless I can get a good deal on a Bobby Sullivan boat, in this age and price range, they're all either ragged out, gutted, or have Volvos. Well, there you have it folks. If you read all of this verbatim, God bless ya. Photos will commence once I figure out how the heck to size them properly.