Choosing a new boat can be quite daunting , especially if it’s your first one! You get lots of advice – sometimes conflicting… and what is actually incredibly exciting can become a bit stressful. It is a huge decision – for many it is the second biggest after buying a house. We have a diverse range of talents in our team so we decided to ask each of them what their top tip would be if a friend asked them for advice. The surprising result was how similar the answers were.
Here we combine them into 10 tips for you to help you choosing your boat.
QUALITY – this may seem a bit obvious but you will want peace of mind if you are about to take your family to sea – especially if they aren’t yet as keen as you….First up is quality of build, ask about the keel bolts – pretty important as they hold the keel on. Big and strong in good stainless steel is what you want, preferably with a wide bearing surface. Look underneath and behind – it’s usually what you can’t see that is important. Quality of finish is easier to spot and will give you a clue to what lies beneath.
SUPPORT – this is crucial as however good your boat is – it’s a boat, things go wrong and parts need servicing, fixing and replacing. Make sure that your brand and all its components are well supported in your country. Warranty can be a hassle – make sure the company you buy from will act on your behalf – very few yacht manufactures will speak direct to the customer. After all – most of us choose new so we can have more time actually sailing and less time “working “on the boat. When the boat is out of warranty you need to be sure the parts are easily to get – especially if you are on a cruising adventure.
NICE PEOPLE – this follows on from above – check out your dealer and their reputation for support to help you to choose your boat. Also make sure you like them! Is there a good feel to the company – you will own your boat for a long time and it makes boat ownership more fun if there is a good relationship between customers and dealer.
EASE OF HANDLING – another key. How often do you see boats sitting on their boats seemingly unused. Often used as an objection from the party less keen… If it’s easy you will use it, if it’s all to hard you wont. Having just spent a huge amount of money on your boat you will want to get the most value out of it. And if the handling is easy your skills and confidence will quickly develop and your “crew” will want to come sailing with you. Win Win. Make sure it is easy for You – for your own situation . Eg A boat may be considered easy for an expert but if you are just beginning you will have a different view of “easy” and you don’t want to be scared of it.
DESIGN – as well as being the “eye candy” to you – design is all important. Even the best helmsperson can’t make a badly designed yacht slip gracefully through the water . A superb design will do this almost in spite of the skippers abilities…Design is the defining factor in how the boat will perform.
INTEGRITY – of the “whole package” . Does it all come together well. There has to be a good balance of structural integrity and design. Again a good quality finish usually reflects the quality of the whole package. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
FEEL GOOD – the boat – it’s really important the boat “feels good” to you. Do you like the ergonomics, does the functionality work for you? A boat is a sensory thing. Feel comes up often doesn’t it – the whole boat choosing, buying and owning experience should feel good.
UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WANT FROM A BOAT – what is right for you might not be right for someone else. Know the type of sailing you want to do. Don’t buy for that bucket list world cruise when you are going to spend the next 5 years playing in your local waterways. Is the helpful friend advising you to choose your boat a mad keen racer? Great if you are too but the advice may not be relevant to just one or two enjoying a leisurely weekend.
RESALE – although you are buying the boat for you – it is prudent to keep resale in mind. Choose a popular brand and model. A bit like houses – be wary of overcapitalising…
FOLLOW YOUR HEART – boats are an emotional purchase , of course they are – it’s often a very long held dream . Work out what you want the boat for, what is important to you, do your homework but stick to your dream . Don’t get bamboozled by detail – keep sight of Why you are buying a boat.
We hope this helps you choosing your boat that is right for you so that you can experience the sheer joy of sailing.