The “Perfect” Boat

Dreamboat

Dreamboat

 

“Perfect” can mean so many different things to so many different people.  If you ask a retired cruising couple what their idea is of a “perfect” boat, some might say a trawler, 35-40′, shallow draft, 2 cabins etc.   If you asked a family of 4, they might say a sailboat for world cruising economy, 3 cabins, 40-45′.

If you ask me what my idea of the “perfect” boat is for my family of 5 kids, you will get a much different answer.  I have to stress this my idea of the perfect boat, because we have no real boating experience.  They say that after living on a boat what is important is different than what you initially thought would be.

Now, we have to keep in mind that my oldest kid (13) will probably not be a full-time cruiser, but rather a frequent visitor to the boat, let’s say a part-time liveaboard (more on this later).  But, nonetheless, he will still need a bed for when he is with us.

As nothing is ever set in stone, until it is set in stone, there is always going to be a plan A and a plan B, and sometimes even a plan C.  This is mostly because the goal (liveaboard cruiser) can be accomplished in a number of different ways.  The plan is fluid and we won’t know the best way until it’s done.  So, yes, we have a plan A boat, which, of course would be the preferable choice.  Our “perfect” boat or at least our idea of the perfect boat… now.  We also have a plan B boat.  If we can’t find the plan A boat, when the house is sold, then we can always purchase a less expensive boat to learn on and then trade up to a more suitable choice later.  There are pros and cons to both plans.

Plan A boat:

Pros

  • We can upgrade and refit knowing we will have the boat for a long while
  • We can learn to operate the boat knowing that we will soon travel far with that particular boat
  • The boat will be fuel efficient for vacationing trips before we cruise
  • Ideal space

 

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Difficult to find
  • We may decide after owning the “perfect” boat that it is actually the wrong boat
  • May have to rent temporarily until we locate the boat

 

Plan B boat

Pros

  • Easy to find (these boats are a dime a dozen)
  • We can learn on this boat without worrying as much about mistakes
  • Less expensive
  • We won’t have to temporarily rent
  • We will have the opportunity to learn what is really important in the “perfect” boat

 

Cons

  • Probably won’t be fuel efficient
  • We may have a long wait when selling later
  • Money lost when selling the boat later
  • Most likely won’t have the ideal space

 

I have been searching boats that meet the following criteria for a Plan A boat:

(listed in order of importance)

  1. Trawler- Must be very economical to operate as we plan to travel great distances
  2. 55-65′
  3. At least 4 staterooms including crew
  4. Large fuel capacity
  5. Clean engine room
  6. Overall good condition
  7. Not too “boaty”
  8. Windows in cabins and baths
  9. 2 salon type areas
  10. Dining or eating area
  11. Enclosed pilothouse as 3rd level

 

The criteria for a plan B boat are much less:

  1. Less expensive
  2. At least 4 staterooms including crew
  3. Updated
  4. Clean engine room
  5. General good condition
  6. Flybridge

 

Dreams are for dreamers, and plans are for doers.

While the ultimate goal is to become liveaboard cruisers, we have come to realize that there may be 2 paths that will take us there.

Plan A

1.  Sell the house

2. Buy the boat

3. Move aboard at marina

4. Increase income over 1-2 years while learning how to operate boat

5. Go cruising

 

Plan B

1. Sell the house

2. Buy the boat

3. Move aboard at marina

4. Increase income over 5 years while oldest kid finishes high school

5. Go cruising

Now, there has been a lot of discussion in regards to plan A or B in this household.  I must say that for quite some time I was about 80/20 leaning toward plan B, but now after giving this whole thing a lot of thought and talking to the kids I have taken a turn to 90/10 leaning towards plan A.  I would be at 100% leaning towards plan A, but nothing worthwhile could ever be that easy.  With 5 kids, of course, there are definitely some serious considerations to figure out.  I’ll talk about those in the next post….