New Year, New Boat?


2014 was an interesting year. A year full of ups and downs, which seems to be the norm for a life as a sailor. After over a year fixing up Chance we finally made it to the Bahamas – UP! Then we broke down in the Bahamas – DOWN. Then I got an awesome freelance gig up in NY – UP! That turned into a full time job – UP (I think). We left Chance in NC while we temporarily moved back to land and resumed a “normal” life – DOWN. As 2014 wrapped up, it left Jason and I with a huge void in our hearts. We were depressed. We miss life aboard, and know that a “normal” life just isn’t for us.

So, with a few days off from work, we holed up on the couch and began the search for our next boat. To be completely honest, Jason never stopped the search, but this was the first time I have actively joined in on the fun. We were g-chatting links to each other and having a grand ole time. Chance has been a great boat to us, but she was never a long term boat. She was our shakedown boat. And, she was great. She taught us what we really want and like in a boat, not just what we think we will want. We’re not in a rush to get a new boat, but we have definitely started the search.Great_Guana_Bahamas_sailing

Structurally there are a few things we would like in our next boat:

  • 40 -45′ monohull. We want this boat to be big enough for a family and/or visitors.
  • Solid fiberglass hull, nothing cored
  • An encapsulated keel, no bolt on
  • Keel-stepped mast
  • Mast height under 65′
  • A powerful diesel engine, preferably with an engine room
  • Enough headroom for Jason’s 6’3″ frame so he doesn’t have to hunch over when inside
  • An aft cabin that we can sleep in. On Chance, we slept in the main cabin, which wasn’t terrible. However, I’m a morning person and Jason is a night owl. We were literally always stepping over one another.
  • A nice u-shaped galley for me.
  • An aft cockpit or a low set center cockpit as far aft as possible.
  • A 5.5′ draft or less
  • An open layout with preferably nothing blocking the walkways for the dogs
  • Cozy cockpit
  • Head with a separate shower
  • Enough insulation that we can comfortably live aboard up North.
  • Pronounced gunnels
  • As many opening ports and hatches as possible
  • Functional storage
  • At least 100 gallons of fuel and 100 gallons of water tankage – no iron tanks
  • Exterior propane lockers
  • Non-molded liner
  • A preferred u-shaped dinette or a table with two benches on each side with the table dropping down to make a double berth

Things we want in the boat, but that are not deal breakers for us. We know we can always add most of these things later:

  • Heat and AC. We plan to live aboard while working in corporate jobs in NYC. We know we are crazy. But, paying NYC rent is even crazier.
  • Water maker. Honestly, we almost prefer this to not come with the boat so we can DIY it. That way we can break it up over a few different spaces in the boat instead of having it take up a lot more space when you keep it all together.
  • Engel fridge/freezer
  • Hard top bimini. Just the top, not the sides.
  • Dinghy davits
  • Pink spinaker or genoa, obviously
  • Hard rails instead of life lines
  • As flush of a deck as possible

After days of research we came up with our short list of boats that we think fit the bill. We prefer a boat that may be more of a project (just not a complete rebuild like Chance was) so that we end up with a bigger/better boat than we could afford if everything was sail into the sunset ready. We would like our budget to skew more towards the upgrades (personal drone to video us as we sail anyone?) instead of the hull acquisition. Since both Jason and I are working, we want to get the boat now while we have the income to fix her up just the way we want her so that when we do leave NY, it won’t be to head to Florida to live in a boat yard again.

So, drumroll please… Here are our contenders!

  • Whitby 42
  • Kelly Peterson 44
  • Peterson Formosa 46
  • CT 44
  • Spencer 1330
  • Pearson 424
  • Rival 41
  • CSY 44
  • Albin Nimbus 42
  • Lafitte 44

After taking a look at these boats, and getting a feeling for our style, are there any models that we should add to our list? Do any of you have any leads on the East Coast that we could go check out? Would any of you be willing to take us out for a test sail on your vessel?

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  1. Woohoo! Boat searching is fun! I kept nodding my head as I read your need/want list. The separate shower was on my must have list but I had to compromise. I really wish I had my shower, though. The Whitby and CSY were on our short list while we were searching, never came across the right ones though. It looks like a nice list of vessels. If I were shopping again (we aren’t-the plans haven’t changed that much yet) I would add that I would not want a boat that had been previously painted. It really, really sucks when the previous owner did a crap prep job. I’d rather get the chance to be the first one to put on paint! Good luck and have fun with the search.

    Oh, and the pink spinnaker, you might get stuck having to sew that yourself:) hello, Sailrite. It will make a great post, though.

    • Deborah – we obviously cannot have a sail that doesn’t match our pink lines 😉 We actually wanted to have a go at making our sail anyway. The first run will be a new mainsail for Chance though – that was shredded in a big gust so we’re permanently reefed 🙁

  2. As owners of a Brewer 44 (essentially a Whitby 42 with a swim platform – a must for us – and a few other minor changes) we can say they are GREAT boats! We also had the Kelly Peterson 44 on our list. Good luck on the search!

    • Brittany, I’d love to hear more about why you chose the Brewer over the KP44. We kind of lumped the Brewer 44 and the Whitby 42 in the same category. Did you find any significant differences between them? I know the keel shape is a bit different (or “improved”) but I am unaware of any others. It seems like we are where you were a few years ago. 🙂 Any other insight you have would be great! Cheers!

      • We really chose the Brewer due to the swim platform (a “must” for us, it makes life SO much easier with littles) and the very large center cockpit – which is also awesome with littles (and for entertaining). The differences between the two boats (Whitby/Brewer) are minor (from my understanding) and mainly cosmetic I think – we have a shower (never use), and our aft cabin has about two more feet in it, making it larger and, of course, the swim platform…As for why we passed on the Peterson, I didn’t really like the settee design (the “diner-style” table) and the one we found wasn’t in nearly as good condition as our Brewer. We were not interested in a project boat (even though EVERY boat is a project boat! ha!)

  3. Kelley – We have a Gulfstar 43′ ketch that we have LOVED living aboard up in Maine. We are starting to rethink our goals/plans and have been talking a bit about potentially listing her for sale. It sounds like she has a lot (almost all) of what you’re looking for. She’s in VERY good shape and we’ve made a lot of updates and upgrades to her. Like I said, we’re still in the discussion portion of our decision to sell but if you’re interested in checking her out sometime we should talk. Obviously, she’s under shrinkwrap and hibernating until mid-April but we are aboard and happy to show her off! And if not her I would suggest checking out Late 70’s Gulfstars – GREAT boats!

    Good luck in your search!

    • Jill, a very good friend has a Gulf Star 43 that he loves as well. We’ve spent a TON of time on it and it is a great boat. Thanks for reminding us. lol.

  4. Good luck in your search! Thanks for posting some of your requirements as those of us following your progress might benefit from your insight.

  5. A freedom 39 pilothouse schooner would be perfect too. Has all the features you were looking for including great insulation for winter use and a nice set of stairs for the dogs to go up and down into the cabin. Has tons of light and space for tall people with the pilot house even when you’re sitting inside that you can see outside! With Stayless masts you can focus on the interior.

    • Greg, I personally love Cat Ketches and schooners. A boat not on the list above is the Tanton 43 (aka Offshore 43) which is a cat ketch similar to the Freedom 39. Do you own one? I’d love to pick your brain a bit if possible. MY sailing time on a schooners and cat ketches is limited, so I could use some owner-insight. Great suggestion. Let me know if we can connect.

  6. Try an Island packet. We just just sold our IP 45, but we have friends with a smaller IP for sale and we had a great broker in Bradenton, FL. The previous owner of our IP 45 was 6′ 4″ and he did not have to bend his head and fit on the mattress.

    My sister had a Person 424 and it was a great boat

  7. I passed on a Colvin Gazelle ten years ago and have always regretted it. They are steel, shoal draft, usually custom built, often junk rigged, workboat finished usually and designed for living and cruising aboard. Thomas Colvin was (is? I’m not sure) a designer who lived and cruised the Chesapeake and had a column in Rudder magazine. I love his designs.