The R44 may be an awesome circumnavigator, in particular considering that she was just circumnavigated. Then again she may be shot, in particular considering that she was just circumnavigated. She has great equipment and excellent tankage -- 210 gallons of water, 125 of fuel. Her number are great. ish. She is a ketch with an amputated mizzen. So what's her real SA/D? I found a bunch of posts by the seller from a couple years back where he described the rig as "crap" and said that he constantly removes rust from the chainplates. And he repairs new blisters every time he hauls her. And the engine has 10,000 hours.
Our thinking on the E36 vs. the R44 is that, being a substantially smaller boat, we'll spend less on her, not only at purchase, but at every turn; and equally importantly, probably sail her lots more than we would the R44. And those are the two things we need most now: to stack bills and build experience on the water.
So we made that offer on that Ericson, and the owner doesn't want to do a sea-trial. What is that about? Strange. I guess it's still worthwhile to consider her on the basis of a lower price. If we just assume the worst about the rig and engine and price it that way, I guess it's fine. I guess it could be a real bargain that way.
If we were able to log 2 4-hours cruises per week for 2 years we'd actually know a thing or two by the time we left. Sitting right at Ft. Pierce Inlet as she does, we could actually start to log real sea time too. We'd start to get first-hand experience of dealing with tides and currents, anchoring, sailing, reefing, MOB procedures, fishing, motoring, docking, VHF, and living and cooking aboard. With her sailing dinghy, I can even teach the girls how to sail in the safety of the basin. All around, I'm finally convinced that the E36 is a great boat for us at this point in this adventure at a great price and in a great place.
Or we could wait. There's no reason to rush buying a boat. But what should we wait for? Are we going to find a another decent boat that's not in need of significant maintenance in the sub-30 range? Are we going to be able to save more money living ashore than we could on the $5/ft dock in Ft. Pierce? Are we going to be able to make up time learning those hands-on lessons? I'm thinking not.
Well, we'll sleep on it and see what we think in the morning.