What Should I Consider When Buying a Sailboat?

Malcolm Tatum

Purchasing your first sailboat is a task to approach with a lot of anticipation as well as preparation. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you look at various types of sailboats and finally determine which one is right for you.

Larger, two masted sailboats are ideal for ocean cruises.
Larger, two masted sailboats are ideal for ocean cruises.

First, it is important to realize there are a number of different models of sailboats. Some sailboats are very simplistic, and do not come with a lot of extra amenities. Others will feature all sorts of extras. Before you begin your search for the perfect sailboat, take a moment and make a list of all the features that you want. This will help you during the process of shopping and buying a sailboat, so you will not spend time looking at any models that do not meet your basic requirements.

The issue of storage and maintenance must be addressed prior to buying a sailboat.
The issue of storage and maintenance must be addressed prior to buying a sailboat.

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Another question to ask yourself is how often and for what purpose will you use the sailboat. Do you plan on spending weekends on the sailboat, with just yourself and maybe a companion? Perhaps buying a sailboat is a means of creating the perfect getaway for a family of four or five people. Also, will the sailboat be used most often in the fresh waters of a lake, or will most of your sailing take place in the open waters of an ocean? All these factors will be important as you consider the size and construction of the sailboat. Buying a sailboat that is manufactured to meet those needs rather than settling for something less will save a lot of money over the long term.

The issue of storage and maintenance must also be addressed prior to buying a sailboat. If there is a marina nearby that offers berths in the warm months and covered storage for inclement weather, then the storage issue will require nothing more than making sure any sailboats you consider for purchase will fit into those facilities. Maintenance may also be easily addressed, especially if you are willing to do a lot of the work yourself. If not, then check with the marina about mechanics and other maintenance needs before buying a sailboat.

Always have a survey conducted before buying a sailboat. While the surveys can be somewhat costly, they will prevent you from purchasing a boat and finding out later that there is a major issue with the structure or the equipment on the boat. Getting a clean bill of health before buying a sailboat keeps you from finding out that your great deal is a lemon.

Cost is an important factor when buying a sailboat. There is a rather broad range when it comes to sailboats. It is possible to reasonably purchase a used sailboat, as well as find some new models that fit well into most budgets. As with any major purchase, it is important to look at the household finances when buying sailboats. If the idea is to purchase the boat out of funds saved for the purpose, you may find that it is necessary to save a little longer before there is enough to purchase a boat with all the features you want. In the event that you plan on taking out a loan to cover the purchase, make sure you can comfortably incorporate the monthly payments into your existing budget.

Buying a sailboat should be about creating a way to have fun and relieve stress, not manufacture another monthly obligation that will add strain to the household finances. If you do not have the resources in hand to purchase a boat right now, then keep saving and revisit the issue later.

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