|Cheoy Lee Offshore Ketch $39.9K|
Last month I was perusing the for sale board outside of Mazatlan Yacht Sales and was surprised at the number of affordable boats advertised there. This broker has offices in Mazatlan, San Carlos, Puerto Vallarta, and La Paz so they have quite a bunch of boats available for sale. Of the over 150 boats, I'd say more than half of these are blue water capable ranging from 37 ft to 52 ft. This last cruising season we saw a lot of boats and a lot of boaters who were cruising the Mexico coast and most of those boats were in that 37 to 52 feet category with the average being about 40 foot long.
|Rafiki 37 $40K|
Today as I write this post I see (on the Mazatlan Yacht Sales web site) about 18 blue water sailboats advertised for under $40k, all between 37 feet and 40 feet with the majority in the 37 to 38 foot variety. If you bring the price up to $50k then there are 24 boats in this category. Some that stand out are the Rafiki 37 and the Tayana 37, both cutter rigs and both very solid blue water cruising vessels. The Rifiki is designed by Stan Huntingford and the Tayana by Bob Perry, two very accomplished and serious blue water designers. Yacht World has seven Rifikis advertised, with five under $50k. The Tayana is a bit more expensive, usually, but a wonderful boat.
|Downeast Cutter $30K|
|Tayana 37 $47.5K|
But then, I love our boat. It is roomy and cuts through the seas like a freight train. And she is sexy, very sexy with that rounded stern and polished teak. Oh I just love to pat her rounded stern.
The upshot is... don't let me catch you whining that you can't afford a blue water sailing vessel. There are dozens and dozens of them out there, many of them in foreign ports, just waiting for you to come take a look. Don't think that you have to buy your boat in the good old USA. You don't. Many of the really good deals are down south, and many boats are in Mexico where folks have cruised them for years and then put them up for sale because they don't want to sail them upstream and upwind to the good old USA.
The lowdown is this. Get yourself a plane ticket to La Paz Mexico. See what they have there then take the ferry across to the mainland. Visit San Carlos and look those over, then take a bus south to Mazatlan and walk some more decks. Then head south, again by bus, to Puerto Vallarta and look at some more. Take about 8 days for the trip, two days per city, then cogitate on it for a while. When you have narrowed it down to a few, get yourself a broker and a surveyor and make a low ball offer. You might be surprised at what you can afford.
Addendum - Written February 2015
Boats.com has an article written by By Zuzana Prochazka in October 2012 entitled "Classic Plastic: 10 Affordable Used Sailboats for Cruising"
This article was prompted by an earlier article about 5 affordable blue water sailboats. Those five were totally out of my price range. But this later article talks about some boats that I looked at while looking for my boat, most of which I had to pass up because I couldn't afford them. I wanted to include these here for those who had a few more bucks to spend. I've been on many of these boats and have some recommendations.
Kelly Peterson 44 - I made an offer on one of these and personally know three people who have them. These are great boats with a center cockpit and aft cabin. You can find them at a good price on occasion.
Hans Christian 38 - A sweet looking traditional boat
Tayana 37 - What I would look for if we lost Traveler to the sea. Smaller but more affordable.
Passport 40 - Good performer, faster than the Passport 42 but not as much storage and stability.
Gulfstar 44 - Very solid
Norseman 447 - I saw one of these at a Seattle Boat Show and lusted after it. Great layout, very stable. A big hunk of a boat.
Hylas 44 - Quality boat, probably drawing a high price still.
Cabo Rico 38 - Have friends who took one to New Zealand and back. A very nice design.
So there you have it. These boats are not a super affordable solution like in the original article but they are really nice blue water cruising boats. Oh, and let me add just one more suggestion: The venerable Passport 42!