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Recommendations for 50-60’ boat for Pacific Northwest

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Cayman13, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. Cayman13

    Cayman13 New Member

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    Hi all,
    I have been following the forum for some time now and really enjoy the discussions. After aspiring to own a boat for a few years and as we are getting ready for a move to Seattle area, figured it is the right time to take the plunge. I have no experience with boats and this will be the first one. We are a family of 4 who really enjoy water. Would love to get your thoughts on any recommendations for a 50-60’ boat (600k-900k range) that is well suited for PNW. Primary intent is to do coastal cruising and once comfortable may be trips to British Columbia and other surrounding areas.
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Not enough info......what cruise speed? How many days on board. How far would your trips be? What style are you looking for? Type of boating? What do you envision yourself doing with/on the yacht. Mostly anchoring or mostly marinas?
  3. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Will this be your first boat, and how hands on and knowledgeable about a boat's systems are you? If so, as you figure your budget I suggest you figure in the cost of hiring a captain and someone to manage it along with the cost of maintaining a 50' or 60' yacht (nothing like having a motor blow 2 months after buying a boat to adjust a budget). Once you narrow down your budget with those things in mind go to the questions Capt. J asked. Thankfully you have a healthy starting budget.
  4. Cayman13

    Cayman13 New Member

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    Predominantly weekend cruising to Anacortes (about 70nm) and be able to have another family on board. As I get more comfortable, would like to be able to go out for a week to Desolation sound (about 200nm) during the summer when I hear the area is gorgeous for boating. Speed is not the number one criteria but around 20-30knts when/if needed. Fly bridge definitely appeals to me and being new to this, a reliable boat even if it may cost more initially will be preferable. I have looked at 8-10 year old boats and some of the ones I really like include PB/GB, Sunseeker. Also, we are more likely to be in a marina for the nights and to be able to go see surrounding areas.
  5. Cayman13

    Cayman13 New Member

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    Yes, first boat and definitely plan on having someone to manage it along with a captain for the first year for sure. Am I being conservative in assuming about 50k-60k operating costs / year? Hopefully, big problems won’t crop up too soon...

    All, thank you for the questions and for pushing my thinking/assumptions. Much appreciated.
  6. yr2030

    yr2030 Senior Member

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    Skookum - even the motorsailor versions
    Diesel Duck - even the ones with get home sail rigs
    Anything with a full keel and not round bottom. Avoid really old trollers and ex-fishing boats - they are really worn out.
  7. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    20kts shouldn't be a problem, but 30kts can get expensive. Fly bridge is good, but a lower helm or upper and lower will greatly extend your boating season in the PNW. As far as big problems are concerned hope for the best but plan for the worst. I expect you'll soon start getting a lot of recommendations, but I'd suggest going on Yachtworld and/or local to the area broker's sites and look for boats for sale in the area to get an idea of popular boat types and makes there. That'll narrow your search. Then you can come back here to get opinions on more specific boats. Sleeping accommodations can get tight when you include a captain and another family. In that range you're generally talking about 3 SRs (and possibly a small crew quarters), but a convertible sofa and drop down table can add a few spots, but of course that can make things a bit like a frat house. A hotel room near the marina for your captain or some guests can be a good alternative.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
  8. GPO

    GPO Member

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    Capt J and NYCAP123 ask great, pertinent questions. You state that you will be moving to Seattle and that this will be your first boat. Have you been on PNW waters and have an idea of what cruising here entails? Buy a Waggoner Cruising Guide. It’s the “bible” for cruising these waters. Reading it will give you an idea of what awaits you. I’ve cruised the PNW extensively for 10 years, covering the northern San Juan Islands, Gulf Islands, Sunshine Coast, Desolation Sound, the Broughtons and further North to Shearwater (280 nm from my home port in Sidney). I’ve done both - marina to marina cruising and anchoring out, not touching a dock for weeks. Not boasting, just establishing my creds (my first post after reading the forum for years). A boat equipped for extended cruising can obviously cruise marina to marina. A boat minimally equipped for marina to marina cruising cannot do extended cruising. Also, a fast boat can go slow but a slow boat cannot go fast. Lots of factors to consider. Suggest you find an experienced broker in Seattle to work with. Explain your wants/needs and budget. You’ll be shown boats that meet those criteria. Don’t be surprised if your thinking changes. after seeing multiple boats and learning more. While you’re doing your due diligence, consider some training (Power Squadron at minimum) and chartering once you’re qualified. For me, that process took two years. Bought the right boat (my first power boat after crossing to the dark side from sail 10 years ago), equipped it properly and have enjoyed it immensely since. Cruising in the PNW is amazing. Good luck with your endeavour.
  9. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    The main thing to remember for PNW is generally cooler temps and always a chance of rain. So unless you want a really short season and cancelled trips, get something that you and your guests will be be comfortable in if weather is not ideal. For cruising PNW most seem to favor raised pilothouse, trawler, or expedition-style. 20 kts, yes , 30 kts unlikely. You didn't mention fishing so no reason to go with a Sportfish as you will only lose valuable to space to the cockpit. You can find plenty of cruiser boats that still have some space to fish when you want.

    You have a decent budget so you might want to look at Ocean Alexander, Horizon or similar builds that are popular in PNW. You will also find plenty of Bayliners and Sea Ray. Be careful not to let your budget lure you into a bigger boat of lesser quality. You will pay the price later. A good quality diesel fired heat system is a must in my opinion.

    Lastly, research where you will keep it. Marinas are not as plentiful here as they are in FL and other places. Yes, there are places to keep boats but depending on where you live it can be expensive or a long drive. Marinas near Seattle or Everett are much more expensive than ones on the west side of Puget Sound. However, a drive around is an hour + without traffic or about an hour ferry ride. I lived in the area for 6 years and now down in Portland. I keep my boat up in Alaska but have done plenty around Puget Sound. The San Juans are beautiful with lots of great little towns to visit and explore. As you get comfortable and gain experience consider a trip up the inside passage to Alaska. 700+ nm's with only two short open water crossings. There are many clubs and groups that you can join up with for Puget Sound and/or Alaska cruising.
  10. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Dockmaster touched on one thing I'd like to expand on, i.e. dockage. I know it seems early in the process to think about that but it's not. If a boat isn't convenient to you it won't get used much after the first season. I know a few guys from up-Island here who keep their boats out in Montauk because they like the fishing. It's about a 4 hour drive each way in summer traffic. They go out and sleep on the boats a few weekends during the summer (I think to justify owning it), but actually use them only about 2 or 3 times. Chartering would make more sense. The reason I say it's not too early to think about this is that you can often make dockage part of the deal, and should in areas where dockage is limited. So marinas and brokers close to where you'll be living would be a good place to start you search, and will at least help you make connections that'll come in handy when you do want to bring a boat in.
  11. Viceroy

    Viceroy Member

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    A family of four...spouse/partner and kids? Please make sure everyone is "onboard" with your plans and ambitions. Even with the goal of 50 - 60 feet, loa, collective and individual space onboard is an important realization for all and its not just square feet but the ergonomics of moving (or not) in the company of others. There are many other "living" issues aboard and many folks can prove intolerant for the changes moving from a spacious home with all the modern conveniences where you simply turn a switch or assume the power, water, sewer and garbage collection simply, just happen. And don't forget, some folks (no matter how much they may love you) can't tolerate the ocean's motion. I would suggest in the strongest possible way that you arrange a charter several times in different vessels before taking the proverbial plunge. Others will chime in about operations and navigation in our Pacific Northwest waters. Cheers, Richard.
  12. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    The 70NM's is going to be easy to accomplish. Figure your range based upon 80% fuel capacity (10% unusable and 10% for storms), also figure the generator burns about 1 GPH. The 200 NM's on the other hand is going to be more difficult to accomplish at cruise speed in a lot of MY's that size. You can always do 9-10 knots at about 1 Gallon per Nautical Mile, but of course that adds time to the trip.

    The only 2 Flybridge motoryachts that pop up that will do the mileage at cruise are a late model 55' Princess Flybridge and a 2009 or newer 60' Hatteras MY which some have 2 generators. The mid to late 2000's Hatteras 64' Motoryacht also has 2 gens and the range and a good choice as well. There are of course the fast trawler types but a lot of those won't cruise at 20 knots,.

    I would not discount a Sportfish. Great seakeeping ability, great range, most 60' SF will have 2 generators (which is very nice to have if you plan on anchoring a lot). A 60' Sportfish like a 2000's Hatteras or 61' Viking offers the speed you're looking for, a good amount of room inside, PLENTY of range and you could put a nice table and chairs in the cockpit and a sun shade, but plenty to choose from in your price range. Problem with the MY's is the ones with the range you're seeking (200NM) are going to be fewer and further between at your price point.......unless you want to go slower (9-10 knots) for some of your long trip........but then you're getting into an overnight trip (underway) which takes the fun out of getting there for a lot of people.

    Your budget should be ok IF you buy a well maintained yacht to start with.

    I too would recommend chartering a few different yachts for a week each. Make a great vacation out of it, charter one in the Exumas, Bahamas. Another in a different location, etc. etc.
  13. alvareza

    alvareza Member

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    If you have a family member who gets seasick, consider a boat with a Seakeeper or retrofit one. Ours has made a huge difference for us. My wife, daughter of a lobsterman, is the only one that is immune.
  14. Cayman13

    Cayman13 New Member

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    Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to give such valuable advice.

    NYCAP123, thanks for the info on the helm and also to start thinking of dockage. GPO and Dockmaster, really appreciate the specifics on PNW areas to cruise. I just ordered Waggoner’s guide and will definitely get some training scheduled.
    Capt J, Viceroy and Alvareza - totally understand on checking if everyone is ‘onboard’. I like the idea of chartering first before committing to buying one. Yr2030, thanks for the recos.
  15. TimL

    TimL New Member

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    Your not going to be traveling too fast fast in these waters. Lots of logs floating around. Most large boats cruise 10-16 knots. Popular boats for this area are Nordic Tugs, American Tugs, Grand Banks, Ocean alexander, Hampton, Horizon, Coastal Craft, Selene (slow), Kadey Krogen (slow), Nordhavn (slow). Your going to want an interior helm for cooler, rainy weather. All chain rode and good anchoring equipment are good to have
    .
  16. Viceroy

    Viceroy Member

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    The vessels mentioned above have omitted some respected names manufactured in the Northwest and if a good, previously owned, eg: Tollycraft, Canoe Cove, cruiser can be found, have a look. I have cruised from our base around Vancouver for over 40 years from Puget Sound through the San Juans and Golf Islands, the many inlets of Inside Passage to Alaska and around Vancouver Island. The last 12 years were in a well founded & equipped, 61 foot, locally designed and made steel hulled vessel with twin 8-V71's and a gen set. With two couples (best friends & experienced boaters) for a couple of weeks, 61 feet grew small and tight.
    I started with a fish boat my partner and I "gentrified" when still in grad school...too many years ago to admit but Loran was just being introduced/available for pleasure boaters. Even with that CV, the west coast is not just pretty pictures...a lot of its geography lays just below the surface and the tides/currents/weather will tax the most experienced mariners. It is not a playground for the inexperienced nor for a skipper who thinks electronics will safely guide his/her course in these, or any waters. Picked up a screw driver or a wrench lately? Feel up to unplugging a clogged head? Just a few questions. Keep looking, studying and learning, then get out there. Cheers, Richard.
  17. Ward

    Ward Senior Member

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    Although I've lived in Vancouver all my life, I haven't done any extensive cruising since I was a kid (when parents + four kids cruised for 6 weeks on a Cal 27). I'm still on and around the water however...

    They might not be what you end up buying, but pay attention to local builders like Ranger Tugs and Coastal Craft, they have experience dealing with the rain, rain, rain, and fog, and drizzle, and mist, and the wind-driven rain... A sportfisher with an open cockpit and a sunshade isn't going to be ideal, you want a solid cover and good canvas. A good heater is a must, and maybe a wood stove.

    In addition to the Waggoner guides, the Exploring series is excellent: https://www.waggonerguidebooks.com/exploringseries.html

    If you want some of the history and character of the BC coast, it's hard to beat Raincoast Chronicles:
    https://harbourpublishing.com/collections/raincoast-chronicles

    A historical / guide book that's excellent (if you can track down a used copy) is:
    https://www.amazon.ca/Exploring-Puget-Sound-BC-Charlotte/dp/0945265484
  18. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Lots of good points. Two I'd like to spotlight: 1) Logs. I haven't cruised those waters myself but I've heard tons of tales about the amount of wood in the water due to the logging industry. Hitting it at 30 kts with your bow up isn't appreciated by running gear. One reason that trawlers and motoryachts (slower, bow down boats) are popular there. 2) Chartering. Great idea, but I'd recommend doing it up in the PNW where you intend to boat so you can see what boats are popular there, what the cruising and weather conditions are and spend every minute gaining local knowledge. The Exumas and Bahamas may be beautiful places to vacation but you'll gain very little relevant information there.
  19. SkyDriver

    SkyDriver New Member

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    IMHO

    Based off your price range & requirements. Two excellent choices
    would be the West Bay Sonship 58' & the Pacific Mariner 65'. Although they are out of production, there are many of them in the PNW. Finding qualified people to operate & maintain them should not be a problem up there.
  20. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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    You want a boat that fits the region. European Pilothouse boats have their place but an Ed Monk Pilothouse designed for the PNW are better suited for your purposes. Think Ocean Alexander, Nordlund, and even Tolleycraft. Those slanted Pilothouse windows that look so nice in profile for the Euro stylists add glare and poor visibility at night. You want good doors right next to your helm where you can step out and take a look.

    You may need some A/C but you really need a good heater system for the dampness in the region. You want a boat that drains well in the rain and inclement to weather.

    The WestBay and Pacific Mariner are good choices as noted above.

    The biggest issues are usually budget. If you spend the full amount you need a turn key boat that passes the strictest survey with all systems proven and switches working. But you can look at better cost choices like Navigator , Meridian and the Carver Voyager. These are available for half your budget and you can make sure all systems are perfect and still come out ahead, maybe even buy a permanent dock/boat house in the region for the same budget. You make look at even keeping a boat in BC in the future, know a few who have gone that route after getting all the cruising done in the Sound off their list.

    And it comes done to your skill set, how much hands on of a boater are you. The PNW has a great history of owner operators with less reliance on personal Captains as is more prevalent on the East Coast. That means you have to be able to navigate, maintain and fix/repay on the fly. It is not as daunting as it sounds as you learn in incremental steps, first seasonal cruises to Roche Harbor and then adding extended destinations each year until you reach goals like Desolation Sound and beyond.