Advice for Novice who Wants to Buy Boat & Go Cruising

Hi – I am looking to set up for some long-term cruising but am a total novice, even at 50! I currently live in Madeira but have worked around the world in the IT industry for IBM, including South Africa, USA and Europe, so am totally comfortable in most places.

The questions: 1. Given the recent weakness of the dollar I would imagine the USA is a good place to buy a used boat (as opposed, say, to Europe). Is this perception correct?

2. If it is, where is the best place/s in the USA to buy, from the point of view of choice in the purchase and the setting up to cruise? (I am also assuming the USA is the best place to set up given access to technology etc.)

3. How long will it take me to do the courses that will take me from novice (all I have is an EU Local Skipper license with no sailboat experience) to ocean-ready?

4. Where is the best place to do these courses, from the point of view of quality, professionalism and enjoyment?

5. The one cost item I have no idea of is insurance for the yacht. Is there a rough guide to this (eg. annual cost per $’000)?

6. What is the best investment I can make now in terms of getting prepared? (Books, Internet research, ???)

Really appreciate if you can help me. I know that some of the questions are probably not directly answerable, but if you could point me in the right direction.

Thanks and Regards, John

Hi John:

Lots of questions–no easy answers. Here’s what I would suggest:

1-Have a careful look at SetSail–both articles from our cruising correspondents and Q and A areas, as these have a lot of information on getting started cruising, what to learn, what you need, etc.

2-The US is a good currency play for used boats, and a very efficient market. There are always excellent deals available on the brokerage market. The key is to be clear about what you want, look at a lot of boats, and take your time.

3-As far as courses go, there are many options. I’d suggest checking the UK, since that is close to where you are. Look at Yachting World and Yachting Monthly–both have ads for companies offering training. Once you have the basics down, it would be really good to sign on with somebody offering real world training in passaging. There are lots of boats doing this–and being offshore in a small boat will do more to solidify your thinking about what works and what doesn’t, and what you want in your own boat, than anything else you can do.

4-At the risk of touting our own products, take a look at our four books–lots of information on them on SetSail. They are designed to get you cruising.

Good Luck – Steve

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)

Comments are closed.