The beautiful Tayana 42 we looked at.
While in Florida we spent two days shopping for boats, and we learned so much about what we are looking for. A couple of the boats we thought we were in love with, turned out to not be quite what we thought they were. Others that I was positive would be too small had us feeling butterflies and dreaming of cruising tropical locales.

I learned that the length of the beam (width of the boat) is as important in determining size as the length. For instance we looked at a 47' boat that was fairly narrow, and seemed much smaller inside than a "beamy" 38' Island Packet! Also, I love it when the companion way does not deposit you right into the galley! It makes the kitchen seem much more usable.

A few of the other things that we find important:
  • decent sized cockpit with shade
  • cockpit that won't hold water, or dump water into the cabin
  • two staterooms (or two quarter berths with privacy for the girls and a stateroom for us)
  • good sized water and fuel tanks
  • u-shaped galley 
Our first day we looked at 3 boats, and on our second day we spent the entire day with one broker in Ft. Pierce looking at 5 different boats. We really liked all of the boats in Ft. Pierce, and I was in love with two of them and could really imagine the 5 of us living on them. My two favorites where the Passport 42, and the Island Packet 38. They were both very nicely maintained, spacious, and seaworthy, but also very much out of our price range.

We have been discussing at great length if it makes sense to finance the boat. On one hand we don't want to be tied to a mortgage and never get off of the dock, but the other side is that we could put a lot of money into housing while waiting to have enough money to buy an appropriate boat.

Jacob came up with a pretty cool spreadsheet that really helped us see all the possible scenarios. We plugged in our downpayment amount, boat prices, live aboard expenses (from The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat) and the spreadsheet spits out how long it will take us to get cruising. Looking at it has made us realize we really don't want to buy more than a $75K boat, because we are really hoping to be cruising within a few years!

Jacob has been posting individually about all of the boats we have been looking at:
Gulfstar 40 Walkover
Catalina 42
Reliance 44
Island Packet 38
Passport 42
Tayana Vancouver 42
CT 47
Ericson 36

On the dock in Merritt Island.

Our boat shopping helpers, GranMiri and Papa.

The Island Packet 38. 

The galley in the Island Packet

photo by Audrey

On the docks in Ft. Pierce. 

The bow of the Ericson 36.