I try not to advise anyone on a particular boat. It’s a personal preference and always buyer beware.
If you are not familiar with boat models, look it up on the internet – look for reviews. You might even find an owner’s forum, a great resource. If not many were made, I ask myself why? Problems? Or not much demand because the design is poor?
- I’m not a fan of swing keels, even the best designs can foul up.
- Diesel is my preferred inboard engine on a sailboat for safety reasons. A gasoline engine is fine if you are diligent with the extra precautions.
- A trailer is nice for winter storage options. I had a triaxle built for about $10k that could take my LM30 on the highway – though I likely never will.
- A mast stepping rig can be a plus for do-it-yourselfers and can save on crane cost. Whenever I hear of them being used, I hear, “That was close!” Scares me.
I have some general advice that I share with all friends and students about buying a keelboat:
- Do you have a slip? They can be hard to get!
- A marina will ask for a copy of your insurance and an insurance company may ask for a recent survey and insist that any recommendations have been carried out. Some retro fits like a porta-potty may not be accepted by the surveyor. So make sure all that is in order.
- Is there standing headroom? Some people might not mind stooping all the time but head banging is a joy killer for most of us.
- Is the engine accessible? Batteries? Electrical panel(s)? Fuel filters require changing at the most inopportune times – like when you need to make a swing bridge … and happy hour. System accessibility speaks to the overall design and construction quality of the boat. It is an important consideration, especially if you plan to do any of your own maintenance.
- Don’t be tempted by a low purchase price. If she’s a fixer upper, be prepared to spend time and money to put her right, probably much more than you imagine. And when she’s afloat, if you are not thrilled to be aboard, the cost of maintenance, insurance and marina fees can quickly turn your dream boat into an expensive ball and chain. A boat that has been neglected not only loses value but can even become difficult to give away.
- A loved boat, on the other hand will generally hold its value and cost you only the annual fees and routine maintenance.
The boat you finally choose will be the best boat for you! Enjoy her! Take care of her! Sell her with pride when it’s time for a bigger one… Good luck!