To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising

What do you value?

Found the Trouser Rollers blog. This lead us to their Cruising Handbook and the Desirable Attributes list that describes their dream boat.

This is in addition to resources like The Voyager's Handbook by Beth Leonard and Evans Starzinger. And the Mahina Expeditions Cruising pages.

Did I mention discussion forums?

Of course, a Google Search for "cruising sailboat" turns up a pile of books, all with important information.

And there are magazines like Cruising World, Blue Water Sailing, Living Aboard. To a lesser degree, Ocean Navigator and Practical Sailor are also helpful.

What does it lead to? It leads to questions of values. What do you value? In a boat, in your plans, in your dreams, in your life?

One Approach

One thing to do is to try and write down the things we value. A mission - vision - values statement, while helpful, rarely digs down to the details that really matter.

An interesting lesson learned in apartment hunting was this. You have stuff you write down. You rank it and prioritize it. You make a checklist out of it.

Then you look at apartments and realize that what you wrote down isn't what you really value. When you make the final decision, things which were way down at the bottom of the list (price, location) trumped everything else (quiet, off-street parking, laundry facilities.)

The Other Tack

A different approach is to simply look at boats without really considering what's of value. This is the "if it moves me" school of thought. This isn't so far-fetched as it seems. Consider item #2 on the Trouser Rollers list: "Can we love this boat--we know there will be issues with her, so she has to make our hearts smile while we work through them and accept them or else we'll get dissatisfied and grumpy".

Beth and Evans suggest a similar criterion. As did Suzanne Giesemann in It's Your Boat, Too.

But what is this highly-rated intangible? How do we determine it without embarking on and endless quest for the perfect boat? How do we match a boat to our values when it's so hard to enumerate our values?

Serial Chartering

For a while it seemed like chartering was a way to learn about different models. While this is a good way to learn about sailing, it isn't really the most informative. First, the pace of shopping is pretty slow; who can afford to charter more than one or two models per year?

More importantly, boats made for the charter trade aren't representative of (a) cruising or (b) our budget. Charter boats tend to have multiple cabins, where a liveaboard boat would have fewer cabins and more stowage space. Second, charter boats are usually really new and shiny, and our budget only allows old and tarnished.

A Short List

Another tack is to digest available information into a short list of models that seem well-respected and offered for sale in our price range. Clearly, we value the experience of others who are willing to publish a detailed opinion.

That gets us to these:

  • Allied

  • CSY

  • Cal

  • Dickerson

  • Morgan

  • Tartan

  • Westsail

  • Whitby

There are some near-misses which are just out of the price range, but still appealing. We have to start somewhere, so this is the first list.

Another Short List

Besides published expert judgement, there's also what people actually do. There are a number of wide-open regatta/races that draw large numbers of participants with a wide variety of boats.

One good example is the Newport to Bermuda race. This is run on even years, and the results are posted to the web site, allowing easy download, parse and then search. This gives us a second short list of potentially suitable boats in the right length and price range. Some of these, however, are racers (not cruisers) and need to be thought twice about

  • Beneteau

  • C & C

  • Cal

  • Hinckley

  • J Boats

  • Morgan

  • Morris

  • Pearson

  • Peterson

  • Tartan

  • Tripp