Choosing a cruising sailboat is a lot different from a racing sailboat or a day sailer. Make sure you know the difference.
A cruising sailboat is a home first and foremost, and should be looked at as such.
Yeah it floats but cruising sailors spend 16 to 24 hours a day on board.
With that in mind function is king.
Make sure you are going to be comfortable at anchor. That is where you spend the vast majority of your time.
The 1 or 2 % of the time you are moving is important but for cruisers is down on the list of what is crucial to choosing a cruising sailboat.
We lived aboard the better part of 8 years. In the Caribbean, 6 to 9 months a year. If your boat has a heater and you use it, we may not be what you call cruising sailors.
Cruising to us means you are dressed up if your shirt has a collar. I'm talking Easter morning at church.
Swimtrunks and a T shirt is the uniform of the day every day.
When you are choosing a cruising sailboat remember a third or more of your time aboard you will be asleep.
It is just as important on board to have a comfortable mattress.
The good news is you can get new ones made in Trinidad for a good price. We spent $100 and got a new 3 layer foam mattress for our V berth.
I hope there are 2 of you in the Vberth. My wife and I slept great in ours.
Make sure the 2 of you fit well.
I don't care how much you like the rest of the boat...if you don't sleep well you will not be happy.
In the Caribbean ventilation is of prime importance... Since most of the time we were at anchor the boat always swung into the wind.
Note the cord hanging down from the front hatch... We use this to raise and lower the hatch in the infrequent rain showers that occurred.
It can be no fun to bump into stuff in the shower when you are cleaning up for cocktail hour.
Note my highly efficient first mate has put soap, shampoo his and hers, and conditioner in dispensers.
Also note the scrubbies on hooks...you will find a place for everything and everything has its place.
Unless you are a little strange you will want to take a shower a day in the head.
Make sure it is big enough for you to turn around, etc. This is vital when choosing a cruising sailboat.
You will soon learn that fresh water is gold. You will pay $.14 to $.50 a gallon for fresh water.
You get wet, soap up and rinse using as little water as possible.
Our tank held 90 gallons...that would last 2 weeks...showers, washing dishes, drinking water.
Don't buy a cruising sailboat without adequate fresh water tanks. I would not want a boat with much less than 90 gallons of freshwater.
We had a three burner gimbaled propane stove.
An oven and a huge (several bodies would have fit) refrigerator with a small freezer compartment.
From this tiny galley came some memorable meals. Unless you are rich, and are on this site by mistake, 90 % of your meals will be on board your boat or your friends boat.
You better make sure the chef is happy.
Our boat had a 12 volt unit that drew about 80 amp hours a day, or 80 to 90% of all power consumed on board.
You will drive yourself and for sure your neighbors crazy by running the engine an hour a day.
Cruising is all about a peaceful atmosphere... Listening to a diesel engine run for an hour at a time in an anchorage...make sure when choosing a cruising sailboat nothing will disturb that peace.
Don't even think about it you will be sorry.
In the tropics make sure your refrigerator compartment is well insulated. Cold beer is a necessity of life when cruising. Don't overlook this important aspect of cruising happiness.
We are so glad we picked an Island Packet 35.
It met all the above requirements, and then some.
Warning sailboat brokers may be racers or whatever and may not care for the IP's boxy, beamy look...too bad if cruising is what you are after you put function over form every time.
Remember who's buying the boat and remember what you were using it for.
This is another plus for buying a boat in the area in which you want to cruise.
Most bothare set up for that specific purpose of what is popular in that particular location.
Not racing on the weekends,. Etc.
And you don't sacrifice sailing ability we had our 150 mile passage days.
Comfort is priority one in choosing a cruising sailboat. Choose well.